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Author Topic: Two Essential Links to Read from Alamy  (Read 12686 times)

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RacePhoto

« on: November 13, 2008, 19:26 »
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1) How the search engine ranks the Captions, Keywords and Descriptions when buyers are looking for photos.
http://www.alamy.com/contributors/stock-photography-captions.asp


    *  The description field corresponds with our caption field. We limit the caption field to 128 characters and any additional IPTC data overflows to our description field. (haven't tested this one)

    * The keyword field corresponds with our comprehensive keywords field. We limit the compehensive keywords field to 856 characters and any additional IPTC data is truncated. (my results show it's 54 characters when uploading, but it may be my software?)

    * Separate your keywords with semicolons in Photoshop to ensure they transfer correctly.

Tip: Your images where two or more words logically live together will be seen higher up a search when the customer searches for those two or more words. (the order and proximity of your keywords matters!)


2) Alamy Rank and The Diversity Algorithm 
http://www.alamy.com/contributors/alamysearch/default.asp

AlamyRank assigns a score to a collection based on the number of times images from a pseudonym have been clicked or purchased in proportion to the number of times they have been viewed by customers.

Rank = Views divided by Clicks plus Sales

If you get many, many views (which is the keyword spam game elsewhere) and few clicks (zooms) or sales, your Alamy rank will drop. Adding irrelevant keywords will diminish your Alamy rank. Less views, but more clicks, your rank will rise. It's a way to reward the Best Matches and accurate keywording.

All of these fields are used in the search but only the Comprehensive keywords are visible to other people. People who try to harvest and steal keywords, can't see the first two (most important) keyword fields.

Good Sales Everyone!  ;D
« Last Edit: November 13, 2008, 19:35 by RacePhoto »


« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2008, 19:42 »
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Good information, I'll surely check those links in more detail.

Regards,
Adelaide

hali

« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2008, 19:47 »
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racephoto , as always you 're on your toes with all these technical talks.
but again as usual, you lost me... somewhere at the beginning, lol.
do this newbie a big favour and translate what all this means in simpler terms.
iow, how should i improve my keywords with alamy. can you give a simple example , like you always do here.
say... i have a girl wearing jeans jumping in the air. how do i divide the keywords into those 3 boxes
i will start with what i would enter as keywords and you do the rest in explanation. girl, jean, jump, happy,excited, action, motion, legs, ... (loss for keywords, lol).

« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2008, 12:28 »
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Keywords are your friend at Alamy, if you use them wisely, be careful the ones that are not directly related the image will hurt you.  For example, several months ago i reworked my keywords to a very small list for each image, my number of views decreased (also due to the turning off of stemming), but my zoom rate (CTR) increased.  With the last reranking my ranking via BHZ moved about 3 pages with a view of 105.  If some of the terms I used are foreign, please, spend some time in the Alamy forums and much of it will make sense.

I will be reworking my keywords a bit more after spending some time understanding the search terms buyers are using.

Scott

« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2008, 16:10 »
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I still have a small portfolio there but since they introduced stemming, my views and zooms have been slashed.  Looks like I will have to spend some time going through my keywords.

« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2008, 17:38 »
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Quite simple with alamy, "Less = More"

Keywords should be relevent to the image, keyword spamming hurts you rank and you will slip down the search results.

You have three boxes for keywords, essential which are the most important ones, then main which are your secondary ones, the rest go into general and figure low in the search formula, a lot of photographer do not use the general box at all.

I average about 12 keywords in total, and use short captions.

Captions in the search are middle ranked but this is due to change soon according to the meeting last week, they will move the caption down the priority below the main keywords, as images are still coming up in searches they should not.

Alamy Ranking and BHZ, with BHZ I am in the last 10%, but in searches where I get views my images are in the top 8% "go figure", so do not take the BHZ to heart, where your images fit in is easy to find out on any site, do a search using two or three keywords for your image and look at where the come up so if a search returns 1000 images and your is positioned at 123 then just calculate Position / Total images times 100.

123/1000 = 0.123 * 100 = 12.3 so you are in the top 13%

Do this on several images and keep a note then you can search again in a month and see if they have gone up or down.

One thing I will say about Alamy, every photographer and image is treated the same, there are no gold stars or pats on the back, commission is the same if you have 10 or 100,000 images with them and the whole system is so transparent.

Alamy supply a bit of data, you can look at all search terms for any day since April 2008 and return the statistics.

I have summerized the data into days weeks months and quarters if you want a look here is a link:

http://www.instancesintime.co.uk/AlamyData/tabid/65/Default.aspx

UCO = Unique Customer Occurences
Views = where an image has appeared as a thumb nail
Zooms = where one of a group of selected customers has had a closer look
CTR = click through rate which is the percentage of zooms to views, normally about 1.3% (my personal CTR is 1.1%)

David 
« Last Edit: November 14, 2008, 18:01 by Adeptris »

hali

« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2008, 18:14 »
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hey cheers David,  i used to worry if i ran out of keywords. but now i certainly will remember what you said, "less is more".

RacePhoto

« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2008, 01:41 »
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hey cheers David,  i used to worry if i ran out of keywords. but now i certainly will remember what you said, "less is more".

Click on the links and print what Alamy has to say. Sometimes it takes reading it on paper a few times to sort out all the details. I just cut and pasted some of the key points.

I'm a real fan of Alamy keywords because I'm not very good at the Micro game of finding words that kind of fit or are suggested or maybe don't exist at all.  ;D

The BHZ game for anyone reading who hasn't seen it, is an entertainment only search that is kind of like finding your rank, within the people who are also playing. Put BHZ on one photo and see where it comes up against all the rest of the people who have a photo with BHZ in one of the keyword fields. This week I am photo number 222 or 1620. Don't ask me why, because I only started with Alamy in Dec or Jan. At least one person added BHZ to 13 images, and you can find all but one, last in the search.

Sharpshot, they turned off stemming because it was producing too many unrelated hits.

Here's how diversity works. You have 10 people all with a photo of "French Poodle" Person one has 20 images of French Poodles, person two has five, person three has three, and to keep it simple, all the rest only have one photo. Instead of 20 photos by photographer all coming up first, you'll see P1 up near the top, maybe first, then P2, then P3, then p4, p5, maybe a p1, and a p2, then p6, p7, p8, p3, p1, p2, p9. p10. p1, p2, p1, p1, p1... The search spreads out the photos across submitters, instead of lumping them all together. More diversity!  :)

Search relevance and proximity and word order:

Using the same example (because I'm boring) The buyer enters a search for "French Poodle" and photo one has those two words in the ESSENTIAL keywords (that's the one that only allows 50 characters, so they should be the best you can think of), photos that have those exact two words in that order, in the ESSENTIAL keywords will come up in the search before photos with French Poodle in the second tier keywords, MAIN KEYWORDS. But these Main keywords are more important in the search than some other fields. COMPREHENSIVE Keywords at third level, and keep in mind that other people can only see your Comprehensive words.

Meanwhile, someone has a description or caption, (which seems to be searched the same as Comprehensive words if I remember right)  French Lady Walking A Poodle, which has the same two words, but, Ah Ha, they are not together, PROXIMITY so it will fall down the ranking (in theory) after French and Poodle together. To make it more interesting, the search would also find, Poodle standing in a French Vineyard! But in this case Poodle is not in the same order, so it's ranked lower than the lady walking her dog. WORD ORDER also counts.

Without going insane trying to figure out all the levels of searches, what if it's three words :o it's easiest for me to explain it as this, if you have two words that you think someone will search together, and they apply strongly to the photograph, you should put them together in the correct order, in your Essential keywords, for the best search results. Since this box is limited to only 50 characters and spaces count, this means it's the prime area for specific "good" keywords to be. When I have three words, I put the third one right after the first two, so it will be in closer proximity.

Real easy, those of us who have used Lightroom, will find the fact that it alpha sorts the words when you drag them in from a collection, frustrating!

If all of this seems too complicated, just think of it as a ranking system, where Alamy has levels of importance in the searches and you get to decide which words of yours are more important or more relevant. Views without clicks will lower your Alamy ranking, so spamming keywords is counter productive. BRAVO!

Click on the links that I posted up the thread. Alamy does a good job of explaining it all. Everything in every box appears to be searched, that means date and location also, but because of the ranking of the search terms, the less relevant hits, will be found on later pages. Less change that if you take a photo in Buffalo New York that it will come up high in a search for New Buffalo Nickel.

Oh yes, the other question. I keyword just about everything on Alamy after upload. Their system doesn't read as much as people are used to. It does read the Date Taken and Caption just fine and dumps all the keywords into Comprehensive, so I have to cut them all out and paste them elsewhere. I only get 54 characters whether I use Lightroom, Elements or Irfanview, but that may still be something I'm doing wrong. They claim you can get much bigger fields to transfer. Don't forget only Semicolons are read as separators. commas, spaces and other characters are ignored, and will possibly truncate or eliminate all your keywords.

Someone who uses CS2-3-4 might provide better information because that's what Alamy says they have gone with as a standard.

Tomorrow, why I'm pretty certain about the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.  :D

Today's batch upload was 26 photos, which went into the "Processing - average wait time 37 hours" status, instead of directly into Waiting for QC. Since it's Friday, they probably won't be precessed until Monday or Tuesday, and then 48 hours for review. If I can get a smaller batch done over the weekend I'll see if they drop straight into QC status. This doesn't mean anything, just that I like to experiment.

« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2008, 03:18 »
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Real easy, those of us who have used Lightroom, will find the fact that it alpha sorts the words when you drag them in from a collection, frustrating!

This was stated over on the Alamy Forum, and these replies may help you adjust your workflow to solve it!

Quote from: Alamy Forum
In my experience, CS3 Bridge arranges keywords alphabetically when you add keywords from your own pre-determined keywords and word sets (ie by clicking on keywords for inclusion), but does not do so if you keyword images manually. If you click on just one pre-saved keyword, the whole set will then be rearranged alphabetically (including all manually typed words).

RacePhoto,
Some good news for you, at the Contributors meeting 7th November, they said the new Contributos Tool will be released first quarter 2008, this will allow you to edit and assign values to similars in blocks, they also spoke about a template for Adobe that would allow you to split the keywords for alamy, so it will embed in the files xmp data a section just for Alamy, also they are looking at populating the date etc:

Other Points:
Also they are looking at several other area's like uploading model releases for a commercial collection, and ranking on a per image basis, so all positive and in the right direction.

The move into the US, the office will open in January, at present 30% of Alamy's sales are to the US, with 20% of photographers US based.

The editorial market in the US would be hard to break into, so it looks like the commercial market will be targeted, Alamy is self financed by organic growth so there are no investors to pull the plug.

David   
« Last Edit: November 15, 2008, 05:09 by Adeptris »

« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2008, 06:35 »
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Thanks so much guys for taking the time to explain all this :)
I'll be going over every photo this weekend to adjust the keywords.
Photoshop CS3 transfers over all keywords just fine by the way.

« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2008, 15:50 »
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I failed my first test last week, but I goofed on the file size. Am I correct in thinking that even in "test mode" if one file fails, they all fail?

« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2008, 15:56 »
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It is too much hassle to upsize my images for them, then when they find something wrong with one picture they reject entire batch so it means I have to upload one picture at the time. I will wait till I got better camera.

lisafx

« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2008, 16:12 »
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What a logical, intelligent system.  Thanks for describing it in detail. 

With a particular site continuously struggling with it's search engine, it is nice to have another clear example of how to do it right :)

« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2008, 18:22 »
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Very good information indeed. It will help me to try to get it right from the beginning. Thank you!

vonkara

« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2008, 19:29 »
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What's the difference between a view and a click? Also don't someone who would like to kill your images could only view others images a number of times and then the image would be dead in the search? It don't seem a good system to me. We have already seen this when it was calculated in the Istock best match.

« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2008, 19:42 »
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What's the difference between a view and a click? Also don't someone who would like to kill your images could only view others images a number of times and then the image would be dead in the search? It don't seem a good system to me. We have already seen this when it was calculated in the Istock best match.

This is different to the istock system because they only count the zooms from a group of buyers.  It seems to work well.

« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2008, 20:09 »
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What's the difference between a view and a click? Also don't someone who would like to kill your images could only view others images a number of times and then the image would be dead in the search? It don't seem a good system to me. We have already seen this when it was calculated in the Istock best match.

A view is when you image appears in a search, but only in a page actually opened by the customer. A click (or a zoom, which is what Alamy calls it), is when a customer clicks your image to see the larger view and the description.

RacePhoto

« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2008, 19:33 »
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I still have a small portfolio there but since they introduced stemming, my views and zooms have been slashed.  Looks like I will have to spend some time going through my keywords.

Missed this one, but actually they disabled stemming because it was causing so many problems.

Might as well go on. The "related words" is not activated, and neither is the [connected phrase inside] feature. It's supposed to be coming.

Also it appears that the whole ranking of the different search hierarchy is not quite as advertised. Essential words, is supposed to be above Main words, and higher than Comprehensive words. The description and Caption are also supposed to be ranks low like Comprehensive. Someone on the forum there said, it's not exactly working that way, yet.
 
I like the way they work and the efforts they have made to reduce keyword spamming by letting someone decide if they want more views that don't match, which will drop their appearance to further in the search, or we can choose to have only words that are accurate and get more hits for words that match, which can lead to zooms, which... increases the rank and presents our photos higher in the search. It takes the responsibility out of the programmers hands and places it on the individuals to manage their own fate. 

Vonkara covered it but the views and clicks only come from selected buyers. I don't think it's all buyers. I may be wrong. At any rate, I can click my own or someone else's photos and it doesn't count anywhere for anything.


 

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