MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: paranoid? maybe  (Read 9194 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« on: October 19, 2007, 00:06 »
0
I am basically basing this on a hunch, but has anyone else had any suspicions about SS manipulating their market, giving certain members an advantage and others not so much?

I would  very much like to hear what you think about this.
 Would this be advantageous to them in any way to control the market?  If I am correct would this be ethical on their part?



« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2007, 00:44 »
0
What would they get out of it?   It makes sense for them to  favour the best possible images regardless of who took it or if there is any favouring to give an extra push to people that have a great portfolio. On dreamstime I believe that the dls/image ratio is one of the factors in their popular search which makes sense to draw attention to portfolios that are generally of high quality.

« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2007, 01:39 »
0

... anyone else had any suspicions about SS manipulating their market, giving certain members an advantage and others not so much?


What do you mean by 'manipulating'? Making sure that certain members' images come higher in a search? Approving their images more easily? Inspecting their images more quickly? Or something else?

Can you be more specific?

« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2007, 02:08 »
0
...On dreamstime I believe that the dls/image ratio is one of the factors in their popular search ...
I think DT uses approval rate in their search sortings, too.

It's not much of a stretch to say that every agency favors their more productive contributors in as many ways as they can - this is just good business sense.

« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2007, 02:38 »
0
I am basically basing this on a hunch, but has anyone else had any suspicions about SS manipulating their market, giving certain members an advantage and others not so much?

I would  very much like to hear what you think about this.
 Would this be advantageous to them in any way to control the market?  If I am correct would this be ethical on their part?



I think you are being paranoid.  I have never felt this about any site.  Some people think that istock favor exclusives in their search but I haven't seen any proof of that.  People like to make up excuses for them not having as many downloads as others.  I don't take any notice of them.  Even if the sites did give certain members an advantage, is there anything we could do about it?

« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2007, 02:49 »
0
On dreamstime I believe that the dls/image ratio is one of the factors in their popular search which makes sense to draw attention to portfolios that are generally of high quality.

DL/image is definitely NOT something that is used in the Relevancy (aka Best Match) sort order.  My current DL/image is at a little over 7.  Last month it was even higher - it was around 8.  It dropped because I started uploading new images in the last month to try and counter the free-fall that my sales have had.

My sales used to be quite good on DT, but since the beginning of the year they have been on a death spiral.  I barely make anything at all on DT anymore.

« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2007, 02:54 »
0
I'm pretty sure that Achilles said that it was one of the factors at one time on the DT forums.  I have a Dl/image ratio of just over 9 and my images do very well in the searches.  I think that it would make sense on DT to give higher level images a better place in the search as they make more money from them but I don't know if they do or not.
Sorry this post was about SS and it's getting sidetracked.

On dreamstime I believe that the dls/image ratio is one of the factors in their popular search which makes sense to draw attention to portfolios that are generally of high quality.

DL/image is definitely NOT something that is used in the Relevancy (aka Best Match) sort order.  My current DL/image is at a little over 7.  Last month it was even higher - it was around 8.  It dropped because I started uploading new images in the last month to try and counter the free-fall that my sales have had.

My sales used to be quite good on DT, but since the beginning of the year they have been on a death spiral.  I barely make anything at all on DT anymore.


« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2007, 03:58 »
0
I don't think it would make any business sense for them to favour 'people' over 'images'.

After all ... they're in the business of selling 'images' not 'people'.

« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2007, 09:02 »
0
Yeah I felt it too! Im not sure!
Wanna be carefull with  false accusations though!

« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2007, 10:51 »
0
What do you mean by 'manipulating'? Making sure that certain members' images come higher in a search? Approving their images more easily? Inspecting their images more quickly? Or something else?

Both.
One of the reasons I believe this may be true. If you look at the most popular images. Certain images always remain in the top. This is true although there are many very good similar images.

« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2007, 10:55 »
0
Yeah I felt it too! Im not sure!
Wanna be carefull with  false accusations though!

Just a discussion. Perhaps all the microstocks do this sort of thing.

« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2007, 12:40 »
0
Maybe they're at the top because the buyers prefer them and buy them more than other similar images.  Buyers also often go straight to the top sellers portfolios when searching for an image which would give them more downloads and better results in the searches.

« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2007, 14:57 »
0
I think that it would make sense on DT to give higher level images a better place in the search as they make more money from them but I don't know if they do or not.

The way DT implemented that was never clear, and I am not a good enough detective to study that (and I don't even periodically do searches to see how the same image is performing).

It does not make sense to give a higher ranked photographer precedence over relevance.  If someone looks for "yellow car" and I have an image in which "yellow car" is in the title, description and keywords (thus almost surely being an image of a yellow car...), it doesn't make sense that my image comes behind images from great sellers if they have a series of a dozen images in which yellow and car are keywords only (because in fact the image is of a woman wearing a yellow shirt crossing the street in front of a few cars).

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2007, 16:01 »
0
Most popular = most downloads  :)
....... That's why those files stay at the top, they are the most popular images.... designers/buyers determine this, not the site.

« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2007, 16:27 »
0
I think that it would make sense on DT to give higher level images a better place in the search as they make more money from them but I don't know if they do or not.
If someone looks for "yellow car" and I have an image in which "yellow car" is in the title, description and keywords (thus almost surely being an image of a yellow car...), it doesn't make sense that my image comes behind images from great sellers if they have a series of a dozen images in which yellow and car are keywords only (because in fact the image is of a woman wearing a yellow shirt crossing the street in front of a few cars).

That is my beef with DT's default (Relevance aka Best Match) sorting algorithm.  It doesn't work the way you think it should work.  I agree that if you type in a search, then the results should contain all the search words in the title, description, and keywords.  But it doesn't work that way.

For example, if you search for "American United States flag", you will find that most of the results don't contain the search words in the keywords, title, and description.  As a matter of fact, I counted only five images in the first 100 results that contain all of the search words in the title, description, and keywords.

Now how is that good for a buyer?

A buyer searches for an American flag, but they get images with the following titles:

"Man with American Flag"
"United States Constitution, Bible, scales weighing"
"Constitution of the United States"
"United States Constitution, Candle, and Flag"
"US Air Force Parachuter with American Flag"
"Mount Rushmore American Flag"
"Half Staff American Flag at the United States Capitol"
"United States Capitol Building Dome"

etc, etc.

The same is true of other searches.  For example, if you want to find a Christmas tree with snow and you use the search "Christmas tree snowing", then you will get images with titles such as:

"Christmas decoration"
"Merry Christmas"
"Celtic Christmas card"
"Christmas card with space for wishes"

etc, etc.

So it seems to be taking other factors into consideration that don't seem to be giving the best results.

IMO, the old sort algorithm worked much better than this new one.

« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2007, 16:55 »
0
I have just decided to run a test.   I searched for "yellow car", photos only.  Here is what I found in the first 20 images:

DT: all 20 were yellow cars. 
IS: 9 were yellow cars (if you consider also a bus and a kid's cart); 10 if you consider a road scene with a yellow bus somewhere in the composition.  Five were yellow signs or lane lines.
StockXpert: 5 were yellow cars. Many signs and lane lines, many non-yellow cars (I see one by a big photog with a lot of keyword spamming...)
BigStock: 19 were yellow cars, plus one yellow cable car. 
FT: 19 were yellow cars.
SS: 6 were yellow cars.

It may be just a happy coincidence, so I will try other tests another time.  Kudos to DT for this one, though.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2007, 17:21 »
0
I have just decided to run a test.   I searched for "yellow car", photos only.  Here is what I found in the first 20 images:

It may be just a happy coincidence, so I will try other tests another time.  Kudos to DT for this one, though.

Regards,
Adelaide
What did this test show about SS favoring some artists over others in the search?

As for the original topic. I highly doubt SS would purposely favor one artist over another. The much more likely explanation is that buyers like the one artist's work over the other's, and that is reflected in the search results.


« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2007, 17:30 »
0
Everybody is talking about the search engine!

But how about the images that appear on the frontpage?
Or in the lightboxes?

« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2007, 00:22 »
0
But how about the images that appear on the frontpage?
Or in the lightboxes?
What about them?

« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2007, 08:26 »
0
But how about the images that appear on the frontpage?
Or in the lightboxes?

I don't criticize a site for giving more exposure to certain members in their front page.  I think however that not every site gives preference to exclusive members or to a certain small group of high sellers.  I'm ok that they don't give me that priviledge, with my mediocre portfolio.  I don't have anything "wow" - well, maybe a couple could be picked, but there are so many.

In FT, in that part at the bottom where they show many image, I had two of mine (one in Easter and one in Valentine's Day).  FP also put a link to my Christmas collection in their front page last year (not an image though).  I was flattered.

IS picks exclusive members for the entry page (before you log in). I'm not so sure about the Image of the Week (this week's is indeed by an exclusive, and so is the Artist of the Week). In DT, the featured photographer this week is not exclusive, but is one with a very artistic portfolio and a high dld/image average (2.5 times mine - it must say something!).

Regards,
Adelaide

digiology

« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2007, 12:35 »
0
Everybody is talking about the search engine!

But how about the images that appear on the frontpage?
Or in the lightboxes?

I thought I should add my "paranoid" two cents...One thing I noticed since I started participating in the MSG istock lightboxes is my files seem to appear/disappear when sorted by best match. When sorted by photographer they all appear. Does best match HIDE files??? (I thought they were just thrown to the back - it wouldn't make sense to hide stuff)

Probably just a glitch - but I have noticed it a couple of times now  :-\

« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2007, 16:39 »
0
More paranoia,
What if employees of SS have family or friends work were in the mix? Is it not likely their images could and would be favored?

There could be reasons that we are unaware of for them to do this kind of favoritism.

I once worked for a company where I found from the statements of a self proclaimed media mogul, that many news stories and information delivered to the public through the media was often actually just an underhanded way to promote products, companies and ideas to the population. True story. I personally was shocked to find that this was done.





« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2007, 16:47 »
0
lol.......

« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2007, 18:57 »
0
Most popular = most downloads  :)
....... That's why those files stay at the top, they are the most popular images.... designers/buyers determine this, not the site.

I don't buy this statement. I have seen multiple images amongst the popular images that have their equal or better.


PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2007, 20:35 »
0
I think they'll do whatever makes sense to make more money both for the company and individual reviewer.

Why wouldn't it be possible for agencies to rate contributors based on sales probability to give preference to "VIPs"? Casinos do it. Airlines do it.

If you have person A who has a 90%+ approval rate, submits a ton of stuff, and sells a ton of stuff, and person B who has a 50% acceptance rate and doesn't sell a whole lot, wouldn't it make sense to spend more time on the As and leave the Bs in the review que until As are taken care of? Or have the As show up higher in searches? The agency would make more money spending time on As.

How well would a photographer do if they spent equal time on the Big 6 and the other 50 new sites? Of course you give preference to what makes you more money. Certainly the agencies do too.

« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2007, 21:27 »
0
Quite right Nazdravie.  Business is business.

« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2007, 00:07 »
0
Yes I totaly agree with Nazdravie as well.  It makes sense to promote good portfolios.  If someone has a few good images and the rest average and some one else has an excellent portfolio it's good business to draw attention to the good one because if the buyer  has a look at the portfolio you want them to see the one with lots of great images to get a much better impression of the site.


« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2007, 00:38 »
0
Most popular = most downloads  :)
....... That's why those files stay at the top, they are the most popular images.... designers/buyers determine this, not the site.

I don't buy this statement. I have seen multiple images amongst the popular images that have their equal or better.



Fair enough....... but it is still determined by those who buy the images.   :)

***edited for spelling reasons  :-[
« Last Edit: October 23, 2007, 00:44 by Beckyabell »

« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2007, 00:39 »
0
I think they'll do whatever makes sense to make more money both for the company and individual reviewer.

Why wouldn't it be possible for agencies to rate contributors based on sales probability to give preference to "VIPs"? Casinos do it. Airlines do it.

If you have person A who has a 90%+ approval rate, submits a ton of stuff, and sells a ton of stuff, and person B who has a 50% acceptance rate and doesn't sell a whole lot, wouldn't it make sense to spend more time on the As and leave the Bs in the review que until As are taken care of? Or have the As show up higher in searches? The agency would make more money spending time on As.

How well would a photographer do if they spent equal time on the Big 6 and the other 50 new sites? Of course you give preference to what makes you more money. Certainly the agencies do too.

This is the most well-informed/non-alarmist statement in this thread.

« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2007, 01:22 »
0
It does have a name........ Crowdsourcing. Google it. Only the strong survive, No room for a conspirarcy theory. ::)
........ Just my opinion though.

« Reply #30 on: October 23, 2007, 06:33 »
0
I agree with Nazdravie, I only think it's wrong if agencies deny such differential.

Regards,
Adelaide

digiology

« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2007, 09:30 »
0
We all know how image reviews vary from site to site - its very subjective - why would the buyer be any different? One persons treasure is another's trash. If the image is accepted by the site in the first place should it not be equally promoted?

paranoid? definately!  ;D

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2007, 12:58 »
0
If the image is accepted by the site in the first place should it not be equally promoted?

So if you get accepted to 50 agencies, do you spend equal time on all of them? Or do you spend more time on the top 5 or 10?

Some sites will accept most images that meet technical requirements. Does this mean it will sell well? Who knows?

Should they turn away a brick wall image because it only sells 25 a year? Probably not because it still sells something. But should they spend equal time promoting portfolios with a hundred brick walls that sell dozens a year versus portfolios with thousands of customer service models that sell tens of thousands a year? I wouldn't.

I wonder if the 80/20 rule applies to microstock? Do 20% of the contributors make up 80% of an agency's revenue? If so, chances are good it will take far less effort and produce much higher sales if an agency invested more resources in that 20%.

Paranoid? No. Profitible business practice.


« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2007, 16:52 »
0
I think they'll do whatever makes sense to make more money both for the company and individual reviewer.

Why wouldn't it be possible for agencies to rate contributors based on sales probability to give preference to "VIPs"? Casinos do it. Airlines do it.

If you have person A who has a 90%+ approval rate, submits a ton of stuff, and sells a ton of stuff, and person B who has a 50% acceptance rate and doesn't sell a whole lot, wouldn't it make sense to spend more time on the As and leave the Bs in the review que until As are taken care of? Or have the As show up higher in searches? The agency would make more money spending time on As.

How well would a photographer do if they spent equal time on the Big 6 and the other 50 new sites? Of course you give preference to what makes you more money. Certainly the agencies do too.

Ok, but don't they have an obligation to you the contributor, one facet upon which their business is built, to give you equal unhindered access to as many sales as possible?

« Reply #34 on: October 23, 2007, 17:32 »
0
Seeker...you got it right when you said contributors are "one facet upon which their business is built".   But they are not THE facet!  get it?...  it's a business and decisions, however painful to some, must be made for the betterment of the overall business and not every contributor.    If the site had loads images but no sales, there would be complaints too.

The strong will survive.... :)

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2007, 17:50 »
0
Ok, but don't they have an obligation to you the contributor, one facet upon which their business is built, to give you equal unhindered access to as many sales as possible?

LOL. I bet you won't find anything about equal treatment obligations in any agency's terms and conditions.

They're a business. They have one objective, finanical gain. And most decisions will be somehow tied to their financial objectives. Fairness and financial gain normally are opposing forces in business.


digiology

« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2007, 18:03 »
0
Who says the sites won't generate the same sales using a broader facet of contributers? They would just be offering the customer more variety rather than pages of simular shots (at slightly different angles). They can promote individuals all they like - thats what "image of the week, editors pick, etc" is for. But the search should still give everyone equal opportunity to sell their photos. The site will get the sale anyways so whats the difference whether it comes from a high profile port or not.

Disclaimer - The views I have expressed in this thread are just my paranoid opinions and in no way suggest our beloved microstock sites would ever tinker with the search.  ;D


PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2007, 18:17 »
0
Disclaimer - The views I have expressed in this thread are just my paranoid opinions and in no way suggest our beloved microstock sites would ever tinker with the search.  ;D


No our beloved agencies would never tinker with the search. Especially Dreamstime who doesn't base their search result placement on your image approval rating  ;)

http://www.microstockdiaries.com/watch-your-dreamstime-approval-rate.html

digiology

« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2007, 18:34 »
0
Disclaimer - The views I have expressed in this thread are just my paranoid opinions and in no way suggest our beloved microstock sites would ever tinker with the search.  ;D


No our beloved agencies would never tinker with the search. Especially Dreamstime who doesn't base their search result placement on your image approval rating  ;)

http://www.microstockdiaries.com/watch-your-dreamstime-approval-rate.html


Yes - and this is a great disservice to their customers. There is nothing wrong with choices. They can punish the contributor all they like (lower upload limits, etc). But they should make it easy for customers to find what they want. Isn't that what really matters - the customer - not us

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #39 on: October 23, 2007, 18:45 »
0
How is this punishing the customer? The agency established a qualification process that maintains a minimum standard of quality of images. Images just above that minimum are probably "just okay" and not great quality.

If you have a high acceptance rating, you're probably a good photographer that consistently creates good quality images that buyers want. If you have a low acceptance rating you probably are a photographer that produces inconsistent quality which most buyers would prefer to avoid.

Wouldn't a buyer benefit from consistently finding good quality images first as opposed to a mix of good and questionable images?

digiology

« Reply #40 on: October 23, 2007, 18:55 »
0
How is this punishing the customer? The agency established a qualification process that maintains a minimum standard of quality of images. Images just above that minimum are probably "just okay" and not great quality.

If you have a high acceptance rating, you're probably a good photographer that consistently creates good quality images that buyers want. If you have a low acceptance rating you probably are a photographer that produces inconsistent quality which most buyers would prefer to avoid.

Wouldn't a buyer benefit from consistently finding good quality images first as opposed to a mix of good and questionable images?


I said punishing the contributor not customer.

A low acceptance rate does not always mean the contributor is offering low quality images. Maybe just not what the site is looking for (but maybe what the customer is looking for).  ;)  Anyways, just trying to show both sides of the coin here.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2007, 19:10 by digiology »

« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2007, 19:16 »
0
If you have a high acceptance rating, you're probably a good photographer that consistently creates good quality images that buyers want. If you have a low acceptance rating you probably are a photographer that produces inconsistent quality which most buyers would prefer to avoid.

Sorry, but I have to whole-heartedly disagree with that statement.  There are too many factors that go into the acceptance rating to simplify it with such a statement.

First, contributors that joined DT earlier will more likely have a higher acceptance percentage than those that joined later.  It is a known fact that new sites want to build up their portfolio and therefore reject less images.

Second, contributors that submitted the first images in a category will also have higher acceptance ratios than those that submit similar images later.  For example, if you were the first contributor to upload "two business men shaking hands" or "woman talking on cell phone", you would have an easier time getting them approved than today.  One of the most popular issues that contributors have is getting the "we have too many of these" rejections even thought the images might be better in quality.

Third, if a contributor takes images that are not conventional and experiments with different styles, they will probably have a higher rejection rate than those that submit the basic conventional image that is submitted.  Images with creative lighting, or even images that have advanced Photoshop editing are more likely to be shot down than those that have standard lighting or less creative editing.

Fourth, there is no proven correlation between acceptance rating and sales (except on DT where they have forced a correlation).  While sites pretend that they know what sells, it has been shown time and again that images that get rejected on one site sell like crazy on another.  There are plenty of contributors that have low approval ratings that sell loads of images, and there are plenty of contributors with high approval ratings that have very few sales.

Finally, the images should speak for themselves.  A contributor might submit the most perfect image of "woman on cell phone", but if they don't have a high acceptance rating, then a buyer will probably never find that perfect image.  How does that help the buyer?  It doesn't.

« Reply #42 on: October 23, 2007, 22:14 »
0
How is this punishing the customer? The agency established a qualification process that maintains a minimum standard of quality of images. Images just above that minimum are probably "just okay" and not great quality.

If you have a high acceptance rating, you're probably a good photographer that consistently creates good quality images that buyers want. If you have a low acceptance rating you probably are a photographer that produces inconsistent quality which most buyers would prefer to avoid.

Wouldn't a buyer benefit from consistently finding good quality images first as opposed to a mix of good and questionable images?

Completely agree.......... Good point.


 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
1 Replies
2403 Views
Last post May 20, 2009, 03:12
by dirkr
19 Replies
5667 Views
Last post December 12, 2009, 16:37
by disorderly
16 Replies
3038 Views
Last post May 21, 2014, 16:07
by ShadySue

Sponsors

Microstock Poll Results