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Author Topic: New DT Search Engine Sucks!  (Read 14973 times)

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« on: May 15, 2007, 18:30 »
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The new search engine at Dreamstime SUCKS!

Do almost any search and you will find that the first few pages have the same contributors over and over again.

For example, search for "business people" and you will find that out of the first 40 images, 30 images are from only 4 contributors.

Not much of a selection for buyers, especially since many of the images are different shots with the same models.

I'm sure that buyers will be complaining about this new "feature" soon (or maybe they will just shop elsewhere).

On top of that, the new search engine takes into account the "performance of the contributor" and "exclusivity".  What does the "performance of the contributor" or "exclusivity" have to do with the "relevancy" of the image?  This means that a contributor with thousands of downloads is now automatically "relevant" for every search that their images are in.  And in the converse, someone just starting out that might have very relevant images will be stuck at the back of the search results just because they are a newbie.


« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2007, 19:04 »
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My sales have dropped a bit since this new update. Not looking good for a payout this month unless things pick up.  :-\
Not really pleased.

« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2007, 19:06 »
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I'm actually quite impressed with the search.  Just did one on "chicken sandwich."  I use those terms because I have a variety of images using those two keywords and can accurately judge their placement. 

All of my chicken sandwich photos showed up on pages one and two.  Then, all of my photos of a grilled cheese sandwich with chicken noodle soup showed up around page five, just as they should.  And then my last photo, a restaurant neon sign that says "Wings, Subs, Burgers, Deli Sandwiches," very appropriately shows up as the very last photo on page seven.  That's exactly how I had hoped they would appear. 

« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2007, 19:35 »
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They hate me.  None of my subjects rank on the first few pages.  Student photos that had been selling quite well are now stagnant.

Also - it's not a popular category, but I also have one nice elk photo that sold 21 times, the most sales of all elk photos on DT, yet it falls on I think page 8.  Even a work belt ranks on page two - don't know how a work belt is "relevant" at all.  Even my own own crappy not as nice elk photos rank higher than my nice elk photo with the most downloads.

I also looked at the #1 in search elk photo and it says "keywords hidden".

« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2007, 20:09 »
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I'm actually quite impressed with the search.

Of course you are!

You have almost 1200 sales, so your images will show up first with the new search engine algorithm.  I'll bet that your sales "kick it up a notch" from here on.  You should be dancing in the streets.

« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2007, 20:34 »
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My sales at DT increased enormously until March, but in April, they fell more than 30%, and the number of downloads in may seem to end at the same level as in April. This is in spite of the fact that I have had new images approved that have helped increase sales at all other agencies.

Some of my best-sellers at DT haven't had a sale in weeks. A very disappointing development. What saves the situation somehow, is relatively good payments for EL's and some vectors, but if the volume isn't there, DT's glory is bound to fade, at least in my case.

« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2007, 20:39 »
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FYI. Non exclusive with just under 300 DL is not going to cut it. ATROCIOUS May for me (perhaps you prefer brutal or horrendous). I knew it when it was anounced see here:
http://www.microstockgroup.com/index.php?topic=1723.0 


« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2007, 20:58 »
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Well (fingers crossed) I actually had my best week ever on DT last week, despite my complaints about the risk of the new search throwing me to the bottom of the pile.

I can understand DT's thoughts about placing established photographers with big downloads in a priority position; the job of an agency is to sell images, and if they have established contributors who sell and sell and sell, why on earth would they then want to give any form of priority or even equal standing to a newbie who has yet to prove anything?

I think from now on the acceptance ratio might become important; mine is at 76% mainly due to early rejections; but from now on I intend to be more selective; I suspect that there is a trigger point at which one's standing in the search will be affected.

Might also be a good idea to throw a few exclusive images to DT - if exclusive gets any priority it might be important to have a few of those to hopefully direct a buyer to one's broader portfolio.

Just thoughts.

« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2007, 21:29 »
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I can understand DT's thoughts about placing established photographers with big downloads in a priority position; the job of an agency is to sell images, and if they have established contributors who sell and sell and sell, why on earth would they then want to give any form of priority or even equal standing to a newbie who has yet to prove anything?

If they want to promote the uber-portfolios, that is fine, just don't call it a "relevant" search.

« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2007, 21:36 »
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Might also be a good idea to throw a few exclusive images to DT - if exclusive gets any priority it might be important to have a few of those to hopefully direct a buyer to one's broader portfolio.

Help me with the definition of exclusive.  If I have several images that are essentially the same but each definitely from a different RAW file, can can each individual file be sent exclusive to different agencies? 

I've recognised some of the better photos - the you spot on splash pages - are touted as "exclusive", but I've seen the set up on more than one agency and in my eyes they are essentially the same.

« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2007, 22:00 »
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This is what happened to me: Started out microstock at DT. Had all my images as exclusive. when it was time for my first payout, DT refused the payout, threatened to close my account and ban me because they found the same images on other sites that I had joined way after DT started out very slowly. All payments whiped out I set all images to non exclusives. They did not even accept a partial breakdown between exclusive and non-exclusive earnings.
The messages is therefore this: If DT thinks it is a problem and exclusive images are on other sites the submitter has a problem. If you throw in some exclusives you might get away - I do not know the deatil of the test for exclusivity. Same image - different Raw file does not make one bit of difference to DT if they think the same image is on othere sites. Perhaps having different names on different sites might make it more difficult to find duplicate exclusives - renaming descriptions most likely will do the trick?? Not that I am suggesting any of these methods - just speculating.

« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2007, 00:26 »
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Read_My_Rights: You break the rules, you pay the price.

I would think that DT applies a very liberal definition to "exclusivity" and "the same image". I could very easily compose two similar images, then post one to DT and the other elsewhere. Is the image I posted to DT exclusive? Technically it is - nobody can buy the exact same image anywhere else. Would DT see this as exclusive? Probably not. Even if I cropped it differently and made it a monochrome, they probably would still see it as essentially the same image.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 00:34 by sharply_done »

« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2007, 00:56 »
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I'm not going to knock DT. They have always seemed serious and business-like to me and I believe their new search is intended to sell more images, which I personally am 100% in favor of.

Messing around with the new search, here are some observations:
-I searched on 'christmas'. Of the 20 images selected, 17 include attractive, young model-women (as opposed to only 8 which included Christmas trees).
-At DT, my total dls are 1093, which should put me in a fairly high percentile as far as sales go (not "1500" but on my way maybe). I'm an illustrator and I have the word 'symbol' as a keyword in most of my images. But when I search on symbol, NONE of my images come up in the first 14 pages of hits (I got tired of looking after that).
-If I filter 'symbol' for 'illustrations with additional format only', then of the first 20 images, 13 are rudimentary images by the same person and none of them has more than one dl.

It looks like the new DT 'relevancy' search has a few problems, which is to be expected. (Not yet anything like what has happened at IS.) My DT dls are down a bit. I expect DT will get things working better soon.

« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2007, 03:29 »
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I dunno...  It seems to work OK for the test searches I did for some of my images.

Relevent ones were in the first one or two pages, and not so relevent was down the back of the pack.  And I'm not a 'high performance' contributor, quite the opposite in the scheme of things, so I don't think that has a large bias on the results...

I'd be assuming that the largest effect will still be the combination of keywords, and their relevence relative to the description phrases or text, and categories picked.  Dunno how it works, but seems fairly fair to me.

« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2007, 05:10 »
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Help me with the definition of exclusive.  If I have several images that are essentially the same but each definitely from a different RAW file, can can each individual file be sent exclusive to different agencies? [/quote]
 

I read once on the DT forums that an exclusive photo musn't have any photos up elsewhere  of photos from one session with same models and same outfits even if the poses were completely different with different concepts.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 05:14 by fotografer »

« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2007, 05:35 »
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Messing around with the new search, here are some observations:
-I searched on 'christmas'. Of the 20 images selected, 17 include attractive, young model-women (as opposed to only 8 which included Christmas trees).

Well, I guess that when people think of the word "Christmas", it must conjure up images of beautiful women ::)

On a more serious note, this once again proves my point.  How are beautiful models relevant to Christmas?  When someone thinks of Christmas, I would bet that they think about presents, colorful lights, tree ornaments, snow, decorated trees, and Santa Claus.  Yet there isn't one image of a present (without a beautiful model).  Not one image of snow.  Not one image of Christmas lights.  Only a few images of a Christmas tree.  And only one image of a Christmas ornament.  Once again, a very limited selection for buyers.

If you search any of the other stock sites, you won't find many images of models on the first page.  You will instead find what you should: Christmas images.

« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2007, 12:47 »
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Okay - I'm not obsessed with this - really I'm not.. but I just checked on a newly approved.  I keyed in "crib nursery".   Find my photo.  An isolated baby crib with teddy bears.  Under the "see similar" box are pregnant couples (no cribs, no nursery but with similar theme) and several from a series of a man with a suitcase on the train tracks.  No where in his keywords appear "crib" or "nursery".   I'm not sure if it's just me, but I can't really find a single similarity... 

My new photo has had 4 views though, so someone has found it somewhere... likely all those people looking for photos of man on traintracks with suitcase.  :)

« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2007, 14:40 »
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1. my sales have been going down... april was much better. i don't know the reason to that.

2. my portfolio is small (108) and have not many sales (81)
 
3. BUT my retro backgrounds showed up on pages one, two and 3.

so... yes, my sales went down, but i don't think the search engine is the answer.

« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2007, 16:59 »
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I don't often do searches, so I can't make many before-after comparisons, except for one set of images that sell well.  If I type "stock market", two of my images used to appear in the first page, now I only appear at the second page. I can't however remember which images appeared first and if they're the same now.  If I narrow it down to "stock market charts", I do a bit better, but still my images appear mostly apart (maybe because most were not uploaded together?) whereas other photographers' series appear together.

Another test was "tea time".  Apparently title/description is taking an important part (did it before?), because all images in the first page and most in the second are named "tea time" or "time for tea" and I looked one that wasn't and it had "tea time" in the description.  My first one only appears at the second page, then two in the third page. In the first page, 11 of the 20 images are from the same photographer (one with over 100 dlds a month, >5300 total).  In the second page, another photographer has 7 images of a series, but she's not a top seller.

Searching for "flame tree" is a total disaster, as any Christmas image with candles seems to have "tree".  Flame trees themselves are a rarity in the results, and mine are in the 3rd and 4th pages.  And in DT it doesn't help putting composed keywords in quotation marks.

Searching for "water aerobics" I finally make it to the top, but then there are so few images.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2007, 03:03 »
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Yes title and description are an important part. Your picture will show up in the search result, when the word is in the title or in the description, it does not even have to be in the keywords. Some time ago (I havent checked it how it is now), picture showed up first which had the same keywords in title, description and keywords, or at least it helped.  But now I do not bother anymore, the keymasters are doing such a wonderful job, a much better job then I am doing. Regarding the dls: it will be close to my best month on DT, we will see. I think the new search engine is a good thing.

« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2007, 09:51 »
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Freezingpics: I'm curious about the keymasters program. I cannot see your keywords - can you post a link to a few images along with the title, description, and keywords? How much does it cost? Can you elaborate a little about speed/accuracy/effectiveness/value?

« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2007, 12:57 »
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Yes, you are not able to see the keywords for 90 days, to prevent that you copy them and use them for other sites. It will cost you 20 cents. But only if the image got accepted. Here are some samples:

http://www.dreamstime.com/globalwarminginantarctica-image1732325

http://www.dreamstime.com/displayofcoloredpencils-image1755746

http://www.dreamstime.com/penguininantarctica-image1794040

http://www.dreamstime.com/coloredpencilarrangement-image1799378

http://www.dreamstime.com/tworedtrainswithspacefortext-image1845702

http://www.dreamstime.com/off-roadtracks-image1874236

An interesting example for you, because your are an expert on this subject :) :

http://www.dreamstime.com/passengerairplanetakingoff-image1811176

A month ago I had almost to wait half a week until my images got keyworded after being accepted, the last days it often was on the same day or a day later. Probably they got some more people to work as keymasters.
Well maybe the best way for you to see how accurate they are is by checking my images. I think they are doing a good job. They almost allways have a long description and keywords I would not have come up with as a German. Regarding sales, thats hard to tell, if I get more because of the good keywording.


« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2007, 16:20 »
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After taking a few cursory looks, I'd have to say that even though they use a lot of keywords, some rather obvious ones are missing. Take the pencil shot: we call them pencil crayons in North America, the shot is isolated on white, and the colours (British spelling) of the rainbow or spectrum are shown. One of the things that makes the image unique is that the pencils are ordered/arranged/sorted by length/height, forming a diagonal/slanted/sloping line.

The aircraft shot contains many inappropriate keywords: air,airfield,airline,airlines,left,modern,overhead,passengers,runway,tourists,travels.
Like the pencils, it is missing a few important ones: aeroplane,aviation,airbus,boeing,civil,flight,isolated,profile,silhouette,white.


Needless to say, I am not overly impressed with the 'keymasters' program. Keywording can be deceptively challenging - I recently uploaded a bunch of shots featuring a full moon and forgot to include the keywords "full" and "moon"!
« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 16:42 by sharply_done »

« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2007, 16:32 »
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Hey, I know this is an old thread... but.... I couldn't find a recent discussion on it....
   Anyone else seen a slow down at DT?  I haven't had a sale there in 10 days now....  highly irregular for me...  8)=tom

« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2007, 16:40 »
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Hey, I know this is an old thread... but.... I couldn't find a recent discussion on it....
   Anyone else seen a slow down at DT?  I haven't had a sale there in 10 days now....  highly irregular for me...  8)=tom

2 sales so far this month. Slow, but not too out of the ordinary for dreamstime.

« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2007, 16:48 »
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Sales in DT have been more or less stable for me in the past 6 months, varying +-20% around the average.  Making a projection with these first days of November in fact look better than that, but it's early.  $/dld however has decreased.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2007, 17:31 »
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My sales are raising constantly since one week at DT, more than 300%...at last a good news!

« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2007, 18:18 »
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My sales are steady. But what gets me is that mine are the only ones that seem to get rejected for "similar submissions"

Search for "newborn" and you see a lot from one contributor - Moshi (or something like that), most of which look the same. Then do a search for "blocks" and there are a whole load from Beatricekill that look very similar.

Nothing like doing a search and the first 4-5 pages are all from the same contributors - likely to make a designer go elsewhere where they will see more variety.

« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2007, 20:50 »
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Actually I've been wondering what is going on at DT lately because suddenly my sales have been going up   :o

« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2007, 22:12 »
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If it sucks, it sucks well. I don't know what DT did, but they did it right, at least for me. Suddenly sales are rising, and I even got 3 extended sales in a row 3 days ago. Whoever told that sunsets and waterfalls don't sell was wrong. I even started to sell old photos with no downloads.

There has been some grumbles around about the subscription model on DT, but as far as I'm concerned, my sales went up since DT introduced it. Some people talk inspiringly about good marketing (like LO's Chief Instigator), DT just does it.

« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2007, 17:35 »
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If it sucks, it sucks well. I don't know what DT did, but they did it right, at least for me. Suddenly sales are rising, and I even got 3 extended sales in a row 3 days ago. Whoever told that sunsets and waterfalls don't sell was wrong. I even started to sell old photos with no downloads.

There has been some grumbles around about the subscription model on DT, but as far as I'm concerned, my sales went up since DT introduced it. Some people talk inspiringly about good marketing (like LO's Chief Instigator), DT just does it.

Glad to hear somone's making money....  I'm on the opposite end of the swing....   just finally sold one pic today after a 12 day dry spell with no sales at DT...   My portfolio is loaded with waterfalls and sunsets and i'm moving zero...    Thank the photo gods for SS & IS  or  I'd have to bail out of this business right now... LOL.....  I'm actually up with the both of them....   but  DT, 123  and StockXpert.... things have been bleak to ... worse than bleak..        all my others  slow but breathing steadily...    8)=tom


p.s.  to one other point by FlemishDreams...  that one pic I sold.... I've never sold before  and I uploaded it  in October of 2006!   Interesting...
« Last Edit: November 07, 2007, 17:58 by a.k.a.-tom »

« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2007, 18:07 »
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Tom, could it be that now that they've increased levels you have so darn many level 3 4 and 5 that the designers can't afford you anymore?? ;D

Seriously now, at DT I have 2 weeks of awesome sales followed by 2 weeks wondering if my collection has vanished.  But at the end of the month, totals are pretty consistent.  Slightly higher if I upload a few more.

« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2007, 16:03 »
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LOL    yeah, that must be it Pixart!!   ha ha ha  :D

i wish....  LOL   8)=tom

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« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2007, 21:28 »
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Tom, could it be that now that they've increased levels you have so darn many level 3 4 and 5 that the designers can't afford you anymore?? ;D

Seriously now, at DT I have 2 weeks of awesome sales followed by 2 weeks wondering if my collection has vanished.  But at the end of the month, totals are pretty consistent.  Slightly higher if I upload a few more.

Same thing with me. Was building momentum nicely and just stopped dead about a week ago.

« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2007, 00:16 »
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Thank the photo gods for SS & IS  or  I'd have to bail out of this business right now... LOL.....  I'm actually up with the both of them....   but  DT, 123  and StockXpert.... things have been bleak to ... worse than bleak..        all my others  slow but breathing steadily.

Oh well, every 2-3 months or so, I have my period  ;D and get quite depressive about stock. Then I swear I only do editorial, snapshots, artsy things for Flickr and Deviantart, and never again worry about distorted pixels, noise, tags and stop beging a Photoshop slave.
And then, when crying like Job on his heap, there is a sudden EL sale somewhere,  and I guess I wait a bit longer to stock-kill myself  ;D

« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2007, 00:26 »
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Oh well, every 2-3 months or so, I have my period  ;D and get quite depressive about stock. Then I swear I only do editorial, snapshots, artsy things for Flickr and Deviantart, and never again worry about distorted pixels, noise, tags and stop beging a Photoshop slave.
And then, when crying like Job on his heap, there is a sudden EL sale somewhere,  and I guess I wait a bit longer to stock-kill myself  ;D

You aren't alone - and it has nothing to do with DT.  There's a reason my macro portfolio is much bigger than my micro portfolio.  It does get frustrating after a few months - but the income on the micros is still more regular (albeit smaller) with a smaller portfolio...why the macro portfolio keeps growing  :P

« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2007, 10:00 »
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I know this is a search engine thread, but I find these numbers quite revealing. 

In the past couple weeks I reached 500 lifetime sales at both DT and Istock. 

DT - started uploading in about Jan 06 - 217 photos
IS - started uploading Mar 07 - 23 photos

That's quite a difference in size - I was at DT for a long time before I turned onto the other sites (dumb!) and to be fair, at least 100 of the early photos at DT are really not stock in the end,  so they should be disqualified when comparing sizes. 

I've only sent a few to IS knowing darn well they don't want to see anything else.   Still, my reject rate is around 50%.

I find it mind boggling that IS could sell that many photos in so little time.  But I have a huge mental block sending stuff to them.   They are like an abusive spouse that I love and hate at the same time.  Since individual sales are at the same level - I can see the overall earnings are at least 40% higher at DT with the same number of sales. 

DT has always been consistant for me.  It seems I have bursts of sales, and then doldrums.  When the month is over, the actual number of sales is quite predictable.

« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2007, 16:56 »
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Similar thoughts, Pixart... I've been with IS half the time I've been with IS. And I've made more than double the money with IS.  IS will soon be outpacing SS for me.  I feel by early 08,  IS will be my top seller.  My rejection rate with IS is much lower than I expected it would be. I shy'd away from them thinking my work wasn't good enough for them. One day in a moment of false bravado,  I sent in my application pix. They took them. Interestingly, they take a lot of stuff that DT rejects and then SELLS it.  And of the pix they reject,  I can repair them, and resubmit. As a result,  my reject rate with IS is lower than many of the others.
    All the more why I wonder why my sales at DT are flat to nonexistent.

   8)-tom

« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2007, 17:21 »
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Many of you are wondering why your sales aren't doing so well at DT.

Well, it seems that it has a lot to do with your acceptance rate.  If you have a high rate of acceptance, then your images will be nicely displayed at the top of search results.  If your acceptance rate is lower, then your images will be farther back in the search results.  The lower your acceptance rate, the farther back your images will be in the search results.

IMO, this is a poor way to create a sort order that is labeled "Relevancy".

vonkara

« Reply #39 on: November 09, 2007, 17:37 »
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Well, it seems that it has a lot to do with your acceptance rate.  If you have a high rate of acceptance, then your images will be nicely displayed at the top of search results. 

Where do you get this information?

« Reply #40 on: November 09, 2007, 18:34 »
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Many of you are wondering why your sales aren't doing so well at DT.

Well, it seems that it has a lot to do with your acceptance rate.  If you have a high rate of acceptance, then your images will be nicely displayed at the top of search results.  If your acceptance rate is lower, then your images will be farther back in the search results.  The lower your acceptance rate, the farther back your images will be in the search results.

IMO, this is a poor way to create a sort order that is labeled "Relevancy".


This has been known for some time, and has been openly confirmed by Achilles on the forums at DT.

It does make some sense - those contributors who submit consistently good images and don't 'waste DT's time' with lots of rejections, get preferential treatment in searches.  Naturally all agencies want to attract and keep those photographers who produce good quality with few rejections.

We can expect to see more of this.

In a way a similar thing happened at SS when they divided the commission payment at $500 - that's just a way of giving extra reward to those contributors who 'produce the goods' whilst keeping payments to 'less appropriate contributors' at lower levels.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see SS expand on this idea next year by introducing a 35c commission above $1,000 for instance.

« Reply #41 on: November 09, 2007, 20:12 »
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...long comment removed...        not   'relevant'.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2007, 20:27 by a.k.a.-tom »

« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2007, 01:50 »
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That's just one of the things figured into the popular search  I read on the forums that they also take into consideration the overall Dls/ image number.

Many of you are wondering why your sales aren't doing so well at DT.

Well, it seems that it has a lot to do with your acceptance rate.  If you have a high rate of acceptance, then your images will be nicely displayed at the top of search results.  If your acceptance rate is lower, then your images will be farther back in the search results.  The lower your acceptance rate, the farther back your images will be in the search results.

IMO, this is a poor way to create a sort order that is labeled "Relevancy".



 

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