Biden Signs TikTok Ban

Biden Signs TikTok Ban

This could spell disaster for content creators and marketers but it's not official just yet

Joe Biden has signed a law that could ultimately ban TikTok in the U.S. However, there is a caveat that could save the day. It is a caveat that the parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, have no intention of entertaining (for now).

The United States are requesting that ByteDance sells TikTok to a U.S. buyer. 

This presents somewhat of a stand-off as it is thought that around one third of U.S. adults use TikTok in one way or another. Business and pleasure. So is this just a ploy to take control of TikTok? If ByteDance were to lose close to 100 million users from its platform, how would this affect their bottom line? How would it affect other users around the world?

It ain't over 'til that "lady" sings

The bill signed by Biden gives ByteDance 9 months (plus a possible 3 month extension for negotiations to play out) to sell to an approved buyer in the United Stated. Who that might end up being is anyone's guess but I can imagine it would be potentially a chosen "suitor" by the U.S, government.

I won't go into all the details here but what I will quickly discuss is the impact this could have on people around the world, not just the U.S. 

The TikTok ban wouldn't just affect the U.S. users

This ban would have a huge knock-on and detrimental effect around the world, particularly the western, English speaking world. For example, much of the traffic to All Things Photography comes from the United States despite the website being created in the UK. 

If I were relying on TikTok to reach my audience in the U.S., this bill and subsequent law would seriously affect my business. It will be the same for countless other businesses around the world that use TikTok to reach users, clients, customers and followers in the U.S. 

Diversify or...PIVOT!

In an article over at All Things Photography, I spoke of diversification when discussing consumerism.

When I first really got into the online world with my business, I understood the importance of diversification (or pivoting) and building multiple streams of income. 

Having at least one other income or investment to fall back on.

When we lived in mainland Spain at the turn of the century, I was quite involved in real estate for a while (photography and property sales). The impending crash of the property market was slow at first which gave me time to build upon my wedding photography business as well as my online presence to lessen the impact of the crash. 

By attracting advertising to All Things Photography, writing eBooks and eventually creating my own DVD's, and despite losing almost every penny I had put into property (prices fell by around 65%), I still had a decent income that allowed us to move back to the UK in 2007. You can hear more about this in my Red Cars post.

Then came stock photography. For years the boom was incredible and I was making anything up to $400 per image sale at Alamy. Things were going great, until "micro stock" arrived. 

Stock Photography Sales at Amazon

Micro Stock

When microstock hit the scene with companies like Shutterstock, Dreamstime and Fotolia (now Adobe Stock), as you can imagine, it effected the macro stock industry considerably. I actually uploaded one photo to Shutterstock and it sold almost immediately, for $1. I jumped in and uploaded well over 1000 images and the sales started to flood in. However, I received a lot of stick from a few people so I removed them all. 

After seeing the industry continue to grow, I uploaded them once again and this time, to multiple agencies. 

Not only that, I started promoting the stock sites to my followers, some of which eventually made good money from micro stock. I was offered, by Shutterstock, a whopping $0.03c per image sold by the people I introduced to them.

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The microstock industry boomed and I introduced over 8000 photographers to Shutterstock. This brought in around $26,000 in revenue for me. 

Shutterstock Referrals

This is a genuine screenshot from my Shutterstock account

...and these are my total Shutterstock earnings to date (the past 5-10 years have been poor as I have barely uploaded anything in that time. Reason coming up...

My Shutterstock Earnings

You can see I earned as much from referrals as I did from my own stock sales from a relatively small portfolio of 1334 images so it was a worthwhile exercise. I worked out that my referrals sold around 880,000 images! Add in sales from all the other agencies and I am glad I moved to microstock. Sales at Alamy gradually slowed to the point of "next to nothing".

It was a difficult and moral choice to sell microstock but the industry would have steamed ahead with or without me so...I went with it.

Shutterstock eventually "stitched me up" so I stopped uploading

Coerced Into Signing Document

I received an email asking me to sign an NDA explaining about huge upcoming changes to Shutterstock. This meant they would be practically stopping the referral commissions that they had previously stated would be for life. I signed the form and was offered a sizeable amount as compensation. I refused. They doubled the offer. I accepted.

It was around this time that video, and drones were really taking off (pun intended). I immediately got qualified and added drone work to my business which is still going strong 9 years later.

Earn Money With ATP Members

The whole point of this digression from the original topic is diversification. Make sure that your skillset is continuously growing and expanding. Learn new skills, keep an eye on what is happening in the world and how it could possibly affect your job, business or life in general. 

(As a member of ATP, you will have the opportunity to easily earn a residual income with us. Get all the details when you become join us and remember, this is for everyone, everywhere).

So, you never know what is coming down the line. ATP Members offers its users multiple ways to diversify their income through various means via our courses:

  • Learn to write and sell eBooks or get paid to write and market them for others
  • Film weddings at weekends or eventually go for it full time 
  • Photograph and film properties which works regardless of the economy
  • Build your own website and attract clients, advertisers or delve into the world of affiliate marketing
  • Shoot and sell stock video, drone hyperlapses and dolly zooms
  • Earn money with ATP Members once you are a member (more details inside once you join)

Having one or two streams of income or investment that can weather a financial storm makes sense. Starting any of the above courses as part of your stream could be a good move, and really honing in on one or two could pay dividends.

We'll always keep you up to date with industry, financial or any news that could affect us all. If you haven't already, be sure to sign up to our email list to be notified of the launch and lock in your reduced monthly fee to just £10.

Swerve the TikTok ban if it happens

Anyway, let's hope TikTok can break out of jail before, and if it happens. For now, and if you depend on TikTok for your business or income, keep an eye on this bill to see if it comes to fruition. If it does, you could be well prepared. For example, will one of the other social media outlets start to boom? Will a new, alternative site altogether appear?

TikTok Logo Breaking Out of Jail

Use of AI In this Article

I am still on the fence about using AI. I must admit, in the past I have spent hours looking for the right image to illustrate a point I'm trying to make and failed many times. Free or paid. Even though these images took a while, various prompt changes and a bit of Photoshop, they work pretty well for what I am trying to portray.


But what are your thoughts on the use of AI for articles like this or for work in general? Leave your comments below.

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Author: Nick

Professional photographer, videographer, drone pilot and creator of ATP Members.

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