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Author Topic: how does the search on alamy works?  (Read 14641 times)

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RacePhoto

« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2010, 00:01 »
0

 (I realise that 'I can't find' isn't the same as 'it's not there'!)

I know that one myself!  ;D

I think what I'm trying to point out is that if you search for three words, your example "Drums, Japanese and Caucasian" You are going to get all the photos with those three words. It's pretty straight forward. The search isn't psychic and doesn't know what you are thinking of, just words that match. The best searches are specific, but lets say you included "playing drums" in the above. Every images with those two "playing drums" words will also come up. But images with all four words should come up first.

Also one part I like is the diversity, where if I have 1400 images of race cars, mine will not all come up first, because of my rank. The results are interwoven with multiple members, before massive duplicate groups show. I don't know of any other agency that does this as well. It means your photos won't get buried ten pages down, after the popular or high ranking photographers, entire collections.

I'm not suggesting that Alamy has a better search, just that it's no worse than any others. Also they do have ways to refine the search, which a buyer can use to limit the erroneous images that are included.

For all the complaints about CV on IS, it actually puts things into limited slots which prevents many of the bad matches. In many ways I like it. In many ways, it's too restrictive and I don't like it. But it's the restrictive part that allows for better matches on searches.

Alamy finds ALL the words you search for. Which I'll ask again. Are people complaining because the search finds words that you are asking it to find?  ???

As for searching the location field, YES IT DOES! Remember that the location field is much lower rank than the first two keyword fields, which makes it third in importance. Next someone will complain that they are getting bad hits on locations, because it is included. If finding things wrong is the goal for someone, there are flaws and you can make an argument criticizing any search engine, for omissions and errors, including the almighty Google.

If you want an example that proves the location is included I'll be happy to provide some images where Joliet Illinois is only in the location field. Since they are pictures taken in Joliet, but not of Joliet, I only included it in the location. If someone wants good matches, including the location in other fields will lower you CTR and views/zooms, which will lower your Alamy rank. Alamy serves up a small rank penalty for keyword spamming.


lagereek

« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2010, 03:23 »
0
Yeah, its all soooooooooooooo  secret, right?  and with plenty of hush, hush, on par with the IS  best match and all that blaha. Simple answer is: DOESNT work at all and neither does anybody elses.
Buyers will have to throw a dice and hope for the best to find their shot.
IS is a gazillion times better for search then Alamy. At least if contributors keyword correctly, the search will be fairly clean, the problem comes with either spammers or 'genuine mistakes', and even they will fall in the best match soon enough.
The trouble with Alamy is that without a CV, or even 'keyword phrases' (e.g. by CSVs), even correct keywording will give poor results just because of the way the system works. Worse still, they seem unwilling to resolve the problem and reluctant to accept feedback from the forums.

Agree, the IS search is much better but there is room for improvements as well, one of them is getting reviewers that will remove spamming and NOT weighted keywords, i.e.  being familiar with the English language to 110%.
however apart from that, IS, is superior.

ShadySue

« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2010, 04:16 »
0

 (I realise that 'I can't find' isn't the same as 'it's not there'!)

I know that one myself!  ;D

I think what I'm trying to point out is that if you search for three words, your example "Drums, Japanese and Caucasian" You are going to get all the photos with those three words. It's pretty straight forward. The search isn't psychic and doesn't know what you are thinking of, just words that match. The best searches are specific, but lets say you included "playing drums" in the above. Every images with those two "playing drums" words will also come up. But images with all four words should come up first.


The search isn't phychic; but I wouldn't expect it to be. I would hope, however that it was 'intelligent'. If they are going to put things down the side for people to filter their search, they need to give the contributors the ability to enter these definers themselves, should they choose; i.e. we could choose to indicate the ethnicity of any people in our images. On iStock, the problem doesn't arise. Keyword 'Japanese', choose 'Japan (East Asia)' 'Japanese ethnicity' or 'Traditionally Japanese (Traditional Oriental Culture)' or two or all of these as appropriate and it's done - and accurate.

I've just looked at yesterday's 'customer search activity' on my Alamy images. As usual, some weird, but the one which stuck out was that one of my photos had shown up, with 1680 others, on a search or 'end of the world'. I was, as so often, perplexed, so went onto my image which showed up in the search and found it was a pic of a mural on a house indicating local people signing up for WW1. So I'd think 'gable end' and "First World War" were perfectly legitimate keywords for the pic, but I bet the searcher didn't appreciate it wasting his/her time on the search. In fact, he/she had not zoomed on any of the 1680 which turned up. One of the things I regularly notice is that some 'customer search activity' shows people viewing more than a thousand images and not zooming on any. Is no-one on Alamy concerned about that?

[to be fair, this week I also noticed a customer search on Moremi game reserve, which had 1111 searches, including 26 of mine, and no zooms. I'd imagine (almost) all the searches were accurate, and would love to know what they were specifically looking for!]

Do they even analyse metrics? Do 'Them Upstairs' monitor this forum? Maybe they do, but it's not apparent. Lobo posts on the iStock thread from time to time (and I'm guessing it's part of his remit to monitor it all the time) and sometimes clarifies issues or offers help/suggestions if appropriate; and probably feeds back concerns to Them Upstairs. Which IMO is as is should be.

ShadySue

« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2010, 07:23 »
0

I know that one myself!  ;D

As for searching the location field, YES IT DOES! Remember that the location field is much lower rank than the first two keyword fields, which makes it third in importance. Next someone will complain that they are getting bad hits on locations, because it is included. If finding things wrong is the goal for someone, there are flaws and you can make an argument criticizing any search engine, for omissions and errors, including the almighty Google.


Strange. I uploaded pics from the Glasgow Mela. I had Glasgow in the important keywords, and so obviously my pics showed up in a search for Glasgow Mela. However, I only had UK in the location field, so they were not showing up at all in a search for Mela UK. I can't 'prove' this now, as I added UK into some of the 'essential keywords' fields when I had enough free letters, or in the important keywords field for the rest. They're all showing up now, of course.

RacePhoto

« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2010, 14:33 »
0
I'll email you with some of mine that only have the world "Joliet" in the location. As I pointed out, since it's the location and not the subject, I didn't want people to get views from having it in the keywords. If I have a picture taken OF a location, I put it into the keywords, if it's AT that location, I don't.

As for the World and End, I have to agree, it searches for everything and anything and if the two words are in there, no matter what context, the image will come up in the search. The only helpful part is that Proximity and word order do count. So someone with End of the World in the keywords will come up before a long bunch of words that happen to have End and World somewhere in there.

You'll have to admit that the word End will come up in many searches and World is pretty common as well.

Someone who does a good specific search for what they want, should get the best result at the front and the ones that just happened to have a couple of matching words, towards the end.



I know that one myself!  ;D

As for searching the location field, YES IT DOES! Remember that the location field is much lower rank than the first two keyword fields, which makes it third in importance. Next someone will complain that they are getting bad hits on locations, because it is included. If finding things wrong is the goal for someone, there are flaws and you can make an argument criticizing any search engine, for omissions and errors, including the almighty Google.


Strange. I uploaded pics from the Glasgow Mela. I had Glasgow in the important keywords, and so obviously my pics showed up in a search for Glasgow Mela. However, I only had UK in the location field, so they were not showing up at all in a search for Mela UK. I can't 'prove' this now, as I added UK into some of the 'essential keywords' fields when I had enough free letters, or in the important keywords field for the rest. They're all showing up now, of course.

ShadySue

« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2010, 14:59 »
0
I'll email you with some of mine that only have the world "Joliet" in the location. As I pointed out, since it's the location and not the subject, I didn't want people to get views from having it in the keywords. If I have a picture taken OF a location, I put it into the keywords, if it's AT that location, I don't.

As for the World and End, I have to agree, it searches for everything and anything and if the two words are in there, no matter what context, the image will come up in the search. The only helpful part is that Proximity and word order do count. So someone with End of the World in the keywords will come up before a long bunch of words that happen to have End and World somewhere in there.

You'll have to admit that the word End will come up in many searches and World is pretty common as well.

Someone who does a good specific search for what they want, should get the best result at the front and the ones that just happened to have a couple of matching words, towards the end.


Yebbut they could make it so much better by implementing some method of keyword phrases, whether by commas or "..." or whatever.
I accede that changing things now, when they have 19m images would be an utter nightmare, but I can't think why they didn't do it long, long ago.

RacePhoto

« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2010, 13:41 »
0

Yebbut they could make it so much better by implementing some method of keyword phrases, whether by commas or "..." or whatever.
I accede that changing things now, when they have 19m images would be an utter nightmare, but I can't think why they didn't do it long, long ago.


Adding the "Exact Match" or the [related words] as they have proposed would be fantastic and stop a large amount of the inappropriate results. (it's in the submitting FAQ, however not implemented.)

Keep in mind that "Cat" is different from "Cats" which can help in searches if you have a single subject vs a group of the same. If I have a single, it's the same as the location conditions, I only include the word for one of the subject. I try to avoid views that would drop my Alamy Rank, but since all the problems you and others have pointed out are the same for everyone, it's the same flaw for everyone, no one benefits except people who avoid more of the problems by very carefully crafting keywords for best matches, instead of many views.

It's not the same as Micro where spamming keywords helps in some peoples opinions. It's a penalty on Alamy. Anyone reading this, should only add exact relevant words and limited concepts. Stop thinking like Micro where more is better and start thinking smarter is better.  :)

So why do people have seven different words for the color red, for example. People doing the search want a "Red Car", and my opinion is that the other six words for red are a waste of time and effort. If you were looking for an image like yours, what would you put into the search? Not "Carmine Motor Vehicle" just plain old Red Car!

Also with the Alamy match, Less Is More because while you are avoiding bad matches and lower rank, you are also raising your relevance. Say you have seven words and two are matches. Then you have 17 words and two are matches. The image with two of seven will come up first in a search.

The other point is, trying to trick the search into finding bad matches, proves nothing. Buyers with any sense will look for the obvious. You want a girl talking on a phone, that's what they search for!

Sure a search for London Bridge will find every image for every bridge in London, because the same two words are there. Try the same on any other site, you get the same problem. Either you want the search to find the words you put in the box or you don't. It's a dumb computer, it doesn't guess related images, it doesn't interpret, and again, it's not psychic! What you enter is what you will get. It's that easy.

The start of this thread asked some simple questions. Yes images come up by rank of the photographer, but also best match using the importance, which we decide, so that means we're in control more than other places. No new or older images don't get a boost by age. As far as I can see it's all best match, ranked by photographer, and then the diversity splits those up so one person doesn't get their images all in one group. More people will have their images seen as a result.

Essential keywords     The most important words and phrases for the image. Although you have 50 characters, try to limit yourself to just 35 - about 6 to 8 words only.     50     Very high
Main keywords     The next most appropriate words and phrases. These keywords are not displayed to clients.     300     High
Comprehensive keywords     Any other words and phrases. Put all the remaining terms that apply, but which are not as significant as main or essential keywords. These keywords are not displayed to clients.     856     Medium
Caption     A short factual description of the image used by customers to summarise its content.     128     Low
Location     Put the location where the image was taken using the convention of street name, town, city, state, province, country. This information can make or lose a sale.     100     Low

Description     Explanatory or background text relevant to the image. More appropriate for historical, reportage and editorial images than for conceptual or commercial material.     2000     Zero

The idea is use the system to our advantage and understand how it works.

http://alamy.com/contributor/help/captions-keywords-descriptions.asp
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 13:57 by RacePhoto »

ShadySue

« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2010, 15:02 »
0

It's not the same as Micro where spamming keywords helps in some peoples opinions. It's a penalty on Alamy. Anyone reading this, should only add exact relevant words and limited concepts. Stop thinking like Micro where more is better and start thinking smarter is better.  :)


I guess you have me at a disadvantage, Sir  :o
I only have experience in Micro of iStock, where spamming keywords is a disadvantage and is penalised by the Best Match. (In general, best match is based on keyword relevance, but spammed Vetta files, of which there are many, trump well keyworded non-Vettas.  :'(

Quote

Sure a search for London Bridge will find every image for every bridge in London, because the same two words are there. Try the same on any other site, you get the same problem. Either you want the search to find the words you put in the box or you don't. It's a dumb computer, it doesn't guess related images, it doesn't interpret, and again, it's not psychic! What you enter is what you will get. It's that easy.

Here, sir, I have you at the disadvantage.  ;D
Try a Best Match search on iStock for London Bridge.
Since "London Bridge" is a keyword phrase in iStock's CV, it's very clean. If you have correctly keyworded and DA'd your file to "London Bridge(City of London)", the files will mostly be of London Bridge. The exceptions would be if someone had either deliberately spammed "London Bridge" in their keywords or someone had made a genuine mistake and thought that their bridge was London Bridge, but it wasn't. In either of these cases, the file would probably show around the top of a search for a while, but would fairly quickly sink down in the search results.

<snip explanation>
The idea is use the system to our advantage and understand how it works.
[/quote]
Yeah, but I can be penalised any time anyone searches for Leyden in Holland, for example. Another one I've mentioned before is that I have a file from Queen Elizabeth National park in Uganda. This has turned up on searches for Queen Elizabeth. So I'm penalised for doing things right. That doesn't happen on iStock that I've ever experienced.
Quote
http://alamy.com/contributor/help/captions-keywords-descriptions.asp

ShadySue

« Reply #33 on: July 01, 2010, 15:09 »
0
OK, OK, you win.
The iStock search is not clean, because like most non-Londoners, people have keyworded Tower Bridge (which is also in the CV) as "London Bridge". I guess the issue is that that may well be what most people expect when they search for London Bridge.
Did you intend that result?

RacePhoto

« Reply #34 on: July 01, 2010, 20:42 »
0
OK, OK, you win.
The iStock search is not clean, because like most non-Londoners, people have keyworded Tower Bridge (which is also in the CV) as "London Bridge". I guess the issue is that that may well be what most people expect when they search for London Bridge.
Did you intend that result?

Lucky accident, but within my rambling posts I do say that I think IS has the best search of any site.  :D

If you are only comparing IS with the CV to Alamy, I can understand your amusement by some of the strange results. If you go search any other Micro site for the same search as Alamy, I think you will find that Alamy produces better selections that are more relevant. It's only going to find what someone asks for. That's the point. It won't come up with what you don't enter and it's not able to guess what you intended to look for. Just the words in the search, that's all.

As for the name complaint, everyone has the same disadvantage. Any common name will come up the same as a famous place or name that's the same. I suppose a photographer Zyzzic Xylanx is one of the people who won't get those bad matches. The rest of us suffer the same consequences.

I also think that people worry far too much about Alamy rank. If you have good keywords, accurate and concise, your images will be seem by buyers that don't just stop looking on page one.

Did I mention that some Alamy photographers also include incorrect spellings in case a buyer can't spell? One I had to do myself was Saint Theresa which also has Saint Teresa in the comprehensive words. ;) Then we have the other issue, UK spellings and USA spellings are not the same. Two countries separated by a common language. For IS I had to learn that Canceled is spelled "cancelled" in Canada and the UK. Buyers in the US are not going to type in British spellings for words. Hopefully this helps if I have a photo of a tire and they don't look for Tyre. Or kerb vs curb, or grey vs gray, and we could go on for ages with the differences.

ShadySue

« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2010, 06:42 »
0

Did I mention that some Alamy photographers also include incorrect spellings in case a buyer can't spell? One I had to do myself was Saint Theresa which also has Saint Teresa in the comprehensive words. ;) Then we have the other issue, UK spellings and USA spellings are not the same. Two countries separated by a common language. For IS I had to learn that Canceled is spelled "cancelled" in Canada and the UK. Buyers in the US are not going to type in British spellings for words. Hopefully this helps if I have a photo of a tire and they don't look for Tyre. Or kerb vs curb, or grey vs gray, and we could go on for ages with the differences.

You know, I have been getting confused with why spell checkers always throw up doubled consonants! I know that Word at work keeps defaulting to American spellings, presumably after the techie has been fiddling with stuff.
One of my Alamy searches yesterday was University Hall NOT collage (sic). A strange search anyway, since in some tradtional UK universities (i.e. not the redbrick unis or the souped up polytechnics), faculties are called colleges, including my own dear alma mater, and I don't even pretend to understand the Oxbridge collegiate system. Anyway, they searched through 1800 pics without zooming.
Sometimes I wish I knew what they wanted. Another hit I got yesterday was 'woman with muscles'. Yup, I have images of a performing Strong Woman. (several other pics of her performing at other locations too!). The search was for RM but without MR specified. Over 300 views overall, but no zooms.

RacePhoto

« Reply #36 on: July 05, 2010, 14:39 »
0

Did I mention that some Alamy photographers also include incorrect spellings in case a buyer can't spell? One I had to do myself was Saint Theresa which also has Saint Teresa in the comprehensive words. ;) Then we have the other issue, UK spellings and USA spellings are not the same. Two countries separated by a common language. For IS I had to learn that Canceled is spelled "cancelled" in Canada and the UK. Buyers in the US are not going to type in British spellings for words. Hopefully this helps if I have a photo of a tire and they don't look for Tyre. Or kerb vs curb, or grey vs gray, and we could go on for ages with the differences.

You know, I have been getting confused with why spell checkers always throw up doubled consonants! I know that Word at work keeps defaulting to American spellings, presumably after the techie has been fiddling with stuff.
One of my Alamy searches yesterday was University Hall NOT collage (sic). A strange search anyway, since in some tradtional UK universities (i.e. not the redbrick unis or the souped up polytechnics), faculties are called colleges, including my own dear alma mater, and I don't even pretend to understand the Oxbridge collegiate system. Anyway, they searched through 1800 pics without zooming.
Sometimes I wish I knew what they wanted. Another hit I got yesterday was 'woman with muscles'. Yup, I have images of a performing Strong Woman. (several other pics of her performing at other locations too!). The search was for RM but without MR specified. Over 300 views overall, but no zooms.

Maybe they really wanted one image university but not a collage of images? (ok I know, they needed to go to school, not download one.)

Woman with muscles, obviously they wanted Molly Malone and spelled that wrong as well? Through the streets broad and narrow
Crying 'Cockles and mussels alive, alive ho'
  ::)

Back last year I looked at All of Alamy and some of the searches are enough to make someone laugh aloud.

And here we are again, the flaw of search engines is they only give results for what the person typed in. A bad search, misspelled words or faulty choice of terms will only give poor results.

« Reply #37 on: August 22, 2010, 23:11 »
0
Thank you so much for this detailed explanation re Alamy keywording, RacePhoto.

My aim is to do most effective keywording possible there, and your info makes me feel a bit surer about super-tight VS more-comprehensive key wording approaches.  



Yebbut they could make it so much better by implementing some method of keyword phrases, whether by commas or "..." or whatever.
I accede that changing things now, when they have 19m images would be an utter nightmare, but I can't think why they didn't do it long, long ago.


Adding the "Exact Match" or the [related words] as they have proposed would be fantastic and stop a large amount of the inappropriate results. (it's in the submitting FAQ, however not implemented.)

Keep in mind that "Cat" is different from "Cats" which can help in searches if you have a single subject vs a group of the same. If I have a single, it's the same as the location conditions, I only include the word for one of the subject. I try to avoid views that would drop my Alamy Rank, but since all the problems you and others have pointed out are the same for everyone, it's the same flaw for everyone, no one benefits except people who avoid more of the problems by very carefully crafting keywords for best matches, instead of many views.

It's not the same as Micro where spamming keywords helps in some peoples opinions. It's a penalty on Alamy. Anyone reading this, should only add exact relevant words and limited concepts. Stop thinking like Micro where more is better and start thinking smarter is better.  :)

So why do people have seven different words for the color red, for example. People doing the search want a "Red Car", and my opinion is that the other six words for red are a waste of time and effort. If you were looking for an image like yours, what would you put into the search? Not "Carmine Motor Vehicle" just plain old Red Car!

Also with the Alamy match, Less Is More because while you are avoiding bad matches and lower rank, you are also raising your relevance. Say you have seven words and two are matches. Then you have 17 words and two are matches. The image with two of seven will come up first in a search.

The other point is, trying to trick the search into finding bad matches, proves nothing. Buyers with any sense will look for the obvious. You want a girl talking on a phone, that's what they search for!

Sure a search for London Bridge will find every image for every bridge in London, because the same two words are there. Try the same on any other site, you get the same problem. Either you want the search to find the words you put in the box or you don't. It's a dumb computer, it doesn't guess related images, it doesn't interpret, and again, it's not psychic! What you enter is what you will get. It's that easy.

The start of this thread asked some simple questions. Yes images come up by rank of the photographer, but also best match using the importance, which we decide, so that means we're in control more than other places. No new or older images don't get a boost by age. As far as I can see it's all best match, ranked by photographer, and then the diversity splits those up so one person doesn't get their images all in one group. More people will have their images seen as a result.

Essential keywords     The most important words and phrases for the image. Although you have 50 characters, try to limit yourself to just 35 - about 6 to 8 words only.     50     Very high
Main keywords     The next most appropriate words and phrases. These keywords are not displayed to clients.     300     High
Comprehensive keywords     Any other words and phrases. Put all the remaining terms that apply, but which are not as significant as main or essential keywords. These keywords are not displayed to clients.     856     Medium
Caption     A short factual description of the image used by customers to summarise its content.     128     Low
Location     Put the location where the image was taken using the convention of street name, town, city, state, province, country. This information can make or lose a sale.     100     Low

Description     Explanatory or background text relevant to the image. More appropriate for historical, reportage and editorial images than for conceptual or commercial material.     2000     Zero

The idea is use the system to our advantage and understand how it works.

http://alamy.com/contributor/help/captions-keywords-descriptions.asp
« Last Edit: August 22, 2010, 23:13 by ann »


 

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