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Agency Based Discussion => Shutterstock.com => Topic started by: Roscoe on April 23, 2021, 02:27

Title: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Roscoe on April 23, 2021, 02:27
Brought up on the Shutterstock forum, but some of you might have missed it.

Check the guy's portfolio and then the ranking of his images
(not sure if I'm allowed to put up a link to his portfolio here, but you can find it on the SS forum in the One account phenomenon topic)
The guy has a lot of his images showing up on the first page for highly competitive keywords. (e.g. car, cat, beach, ...)

Now, I'm sure a lot of you have similar images in terms of quality of cars, cats, beaches and so on but most of them are probably nowhere near the first pages.
And he managed to get a lot of his content on the first page for highly competitive keywords. Not just a few lucky submissions which gained traction.
A bit too much to be a coincidence, and the balance between quality, competition and ranking seems to be off if you ask me.

So how did he do it?

My personal theory on this is that he paid clickfarm-like organizations to buy images from his portfolio until they reached on the first page.
Is it true? I don't know, but if it is, a lot of others are probably doing the same. 
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on April 23, 2021, 03:51
Saw the thread too. It's really...curious.

His images are quite decent, probably above average for Shutterstock standard, but not as extraordinary as to explain why they are pretty much all up on the first page when seraching for the most basic words like beach, stone or cloud. When you compare his to other top images for some search results, for example "beach", his images actually stand out as being of poorer quality than the other images.


The sad thing is - We will never find out what happaned here.
Someone having friends buy his photos like crazy the moment they are approved to raise them in the search?
Someone managed to hack into the database?
Someone doing someone else a favor by deliberate placing all his images high in the search?

Whatever it is, it will be impossible to get someone from Shutterstock to even see the thread, aknowledge that there is something strange going on, yet alone look into it, take actions and, most of all, ever tell us what the reason was. There isn't really anyone around from Shutterstock at the forum. Kate, who was hardly present, left, Alex, who according to her still is an admin hasn't been seein in months and when you contact the Support via mail you get fowarded to other contributors with reading comprehension problems who will give you a copy & paste reply that won't address the issue.

So, this will probably stay a big mystery forever.  :-\
But it's obvious that there isn't something right and it's really frustrating to other contributors who play by the rules....

Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Dodie on April 23, 2021, 03:58
I say it's witchcraft.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: lazy_ella on April 23, 2021, 04:56
It's amazing! I tried it with random stuff - tree, clouds, woman, man, truck, grass, color, ... He's always there, usually in the very first row.

And you can always tell which photo is going to turn out to be his!  ;D

For example, this stunning shot is the second result if you search for "rabbit": https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/little-funny-rabbit-running-on-field-1627393333 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/little-funny-rabbit-running-on-field-1627393333)
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on April 23, 2021, 05:25
It's amazing! I tried it with random stuff - tree, clouds, woman, man, truck, grass, color, ... He's always there, usually in the very first row.

And you can always tell which photo is going to turn out to be his!  ;D

For example, this stunning shot is the second result if you search for "rabbit": https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/little-funny-rabbit-running-on-field-1627393333 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/little-funny-rabbit-running-on-field-1627393333)

Yepp, that's what I meant - His photos always stand out as being of noticable poorer quality compared to all other images in the top image results. A photo of a bunny turning its back to the camera is not a "top image". A photo of someone's back in a chair at a beach with gloomy sky doesn't fit into the other pictures of beautiful sunlit beaches and so on.... If you look at all the other images, you can always understand why they have a place in the top results, but not with his.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: lazy_ella on April 23, 2021, 05:51
Quote
If you look at all the other images, you can always understand why they have a place in the top results, but not with his.
Agree 100%.

I can't stop trying keywords...

Try "puppy". The guy OWNS the entire first row, and two pictures of the second. It's so funny!

Shutterstock has a picture of a puppy's butt as a third result, and it's a shot that my seven-year-old niece could have done better: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/puppy-resting-grass-close-photo-walking-1720311904 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/puppy-resting-grass-close-photo-walking-1720311904)
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: changingsky on April 23, 2021, 05:59
Many years ago i tried to collaborate with one photographers search utility and stopped after several hours. Any search for any location in the world brought results list with photographers located in India on first positions followed by the photographers from the selected location.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on April 23, 2021, 06:15

Try "puppy". The guy OWNS the entire first row, and two pictures of the second. It's so funny!

Shutterstock has a picture of a puppy's butt as a third result, and it's a shot that my seven-year-old niece could have done better: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/puppy-resting-grass-close-photo-walking-1720311904 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/puppy-resting-grass-close-photo-walking-1720311904)

Ouch. Seeing this hurts, especially since "puppy" is a competitive field for me. Guess my puppies don't stand a chance against puppy bum.  ::) I don't object to any of the other puppy photos in these results deserving a better placement than my photos, but this? Really?
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Roscoe on April 23, 2021, 06:36
Many years ago i tried to collaborate with one photographers search utility and stopped after several hours. Any search for any location in the world brought results list with photographers located in India on first positions followed by the photographers from the selected location.

The question is: why. Some contributors claim that the algorithms of agencies favor contributors from certain area's or countries, e.g. India or Eastern Europe. Not saying that's not true, but I never believed that agencies are programming their algorithm in a way that it promotes content from contributors in a certain area in the world. Because... why would they?

Maybe some contributors have better connections to dubious service companies that are involved in internet promotion and black hat SEO techniques. Or less shame to contact those companies. Have a network of Shutterstock subscription plan owners and make them all buy the same image so it rises up in the ranking. Pay them some money, and meanwhile get the earnings of being on the front page. Once you're on the front page, and the image is "useful enough" for buyers, commissions should start rolling in.

So far my theory. All the other ones (having someone on the "inside" for instance) all sound way too complicated or even impossible.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: lazy_ella on April 23, 2021, 06:37
Ouch. Seeing this hurts, especially since "puppy" is a competitive field for me.

Sorry, Firn. I didn't mean to be tactless. I'm no longer on SS, so I don't care even if they show this guy's entire portfolio first for every keyword in the world.

Your puppy picture is stunning, btw. If it's any consolation, at least if you hacked their system and put all your pictures at the top of the search, they wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: changingsky on April 23, 2021, 06:46
Many years ago i tried to collaborate with one photographers search utility and stopped after several hours. Any search for any location in the world brought results list with photographers located in India on first positions followed by the photographers from the selected location.

The question is: why. Some contributors claim that the algorithms of agencies favor contributors from certain area's or countries, e.g. India or Eastern Europe. Not saying that's not true, but I never believed that agencies are programming their algorithm in a way that it promotes content from contributors in a certain area in the world. Because... why would they?

Maybe some contributors have better connections to dubious service companies that are involved in internet promotion and black hat SEO techniques. Or less shame to contact those companies. Have a network of Shutterstock subscription plan owners and make them all buy the same image so it rises up in the ranking. Pay them some money, and meanwhile get the earnings of being on the front page. Once you're on the front page, and the image is "useful enough" for buyers, commissions should start rolling in.

So far my theory. All the other ones (having someone on the "inside" for instance) all sound way too complicated or even impossible.

Company as a business doesn't care till the income grows. Fail of the security of the company's workflow and games of the personnel (or contractor providing the software part) is what happened in that company. I don't look for the analogy, this needs the proof, but there is no miracle in the software.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: StanRohrer on April 23, 2021, 07:22
I don't have photos on SS so I don't have a dog in this fight.

A while back there was some discussion about repeated keywords at some site (SS?) influencing the search algorithm. With the link below, check out the first keywords (as presented in German while using the Chrome web browser). Now let Chrome Web Browser do the page translation to English. The first three words are the same English word and that same word is scattered throughout the keyword list. Perhaps this is a case of SS search engine keyword stuffing via language translations.

It's amazing! I tried it with random stuff - tree, clouds, woman, man, truck, grass, color, ... He's always there, usually in the very first row.

And you can always tell which photo is going to turn out to be his!  ;D

For example, this stunning shot is the second result if you search for "rabbit": https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/little-funny-rabbit-running-on-field-1627393333 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/little-funny-rabbit-running-on-field-1627393333)

Yepp, that's what I meant - His photos always stand out as being of noticable poorer quality compared to all other images in the top image results. A photo of a bunny turning its back to the camera is not a "top image". A photo of someone's back in a chair at a beach with gloomy sky doesn't fit into the other pictures of beautiful sunlit beaches and so on.... If you look at all the other images, you can always understand why they have a place in the top results, but not with his.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: thx9000 on April 23, 2021, 08:32
He's doing the classic compound keyword spamming which is supposed to be banned. Take his cat photo for example:
black cat,cat look,striped cat,tabby cat = 4 x cat in the algo
Or another photo of a forrest:
big forrest, flying over the forrest, forrest in winter, frozen forrest = again 4 x forrest in the search algo
It's just a matter of time he gets reported and those 37 pages of average stock will vanish along wtih his pay.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on April 23, 2021, 09:35
He's doing the classic compound keyword spamming which is supposed to be banned. Take his cat photo for example:
black cat,cat look,striped cat,tabby cat = 4 x cat in the algo
Or another photo of a forrest:
big forrest, flying over the forrest, forrest in winter, frozen forrest = again 4 x forrest in the search algo
It's just a matter of time he gets reported and those 37 pages of average stock will vanish along wtih his pay.

I don't think that's what is happening here. I have some photos where I repeat keywords as well - not with the intention of spamming, but just because it makes sense to me (plant, house plant, potted plant, etc... for example) - yet you won't see my images in the first row of the serach results for "plant" or even anywhere on the first pages. I don't think repeating a keyword 4 times is anywhere enough to cheat the algorithm and end on the first page. Also, if you look at some other pictures, for example the search result for "beach" - his image is No. 1 in the search results, yet he only uses "beach" in the keywords one time.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Pacesetter on April 23, 2021, 09:49
Insider privileges
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: thx9000 on April 23, 2021, 10:53
He's doing the classic compound keyword spamming which is supposed to be banned. Take his cat photo for example:
black cat,cat look,striped cat,tabby cat = 4 x cat in the algo
Or another photo of a forrest:
big forrest, flying over the forrest, forrest in winter, frozen forrest = again 4 x forrest in the search algo
It's just a matter of time he gets reported and those 37 pages of average stock will vanish along wtih his pay.

I don't think that's what is happening here. I have some photos where I repeat keywords as well - not with the intention of spamming, but just because it makes sense to me (plant, house plant, potted plant, etc... for example) - yet you won't see my images in the first row of serach results for "plant" (or even anywhere on the first pages). I don't think repeating a keyword 4 times is anywhere enough to land on the first page. Also, if you look at some other pictures, for example the search result for "beach" - his image is No. 1 in the search results, yet he only uses "beach" in the keywords one time.
That beach photo is a mystery. He's clearly being pushed in front at the expense of others
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Artist on April 23, 2021, 20:49
He or his sources might be purchasing his own images to make them at top.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: cathyslife on April 24, 2021, 19:07
Insider privileges

This was always my theory. Getting a bunch of people to buy photos, then reimbursing them, etc. sounds like a lot of work to get your photos to the top. But schmooze some of the insiders and boom, you’re in.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Bad Robot on April 25, 2021, 03:42
"beach soccer" out of 21000 plus he gets #1  ???

"airplane" out of 1,678,201 he gets #1, #2 !!!

The more I look at this the more I think the fact his twitter profile says he's a
"GoDaddy worker" based in Phoenix and his Facebook page states

Олег Ёрникъ - Oleg Yornik
Меня не существует - I don't Exist

All his FB photos were posted in March to April

His FB page is filled with nothing as is his Twitter account.

His Linkedin page doesn't exist

Even his shitterstock profile photo is computer generated ~ he looks fake.

Conclusion - I think dear Oleg is a piece of AI masquerading as a person and is probably being used to test search functions and software as there is no way anyone could get the top slot in all of these search terms.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Roscoe on April 25, 2021, 04:21
Conclusion - I think dear Oleg is a piece of AI masquerading as a person and is probably being used to test search functions and software as there is no way anyone could get the top slot in all of these search terms.

Little doubt the account is fake. It would be foolish to sign up with personal credentials and information when your goal is to manipulate the system, and violate the TOS. And manipulated it is. But whoever is behind it is not a lazy person, he/she sure took the time and effort to make it look as legit as possible. 
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Justanotherphotographer on April 25, 2021, 09:28
Is he on any other sites? Are we sure the portfolio doesn't just belong to SS so the stick it front and centre to avoid paying comissions as much as they can?
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Jens G on April 25, 2021, 10:00
Maybe it's because a lot of people look at his portfolio?

I looked at it too, and also find it strange that for example a photo of a camel on his last page, when sorted after popularity, show up as number one when I search for camel at SS.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on April 25, 2021, 14:11
Is he on any other sites? Are we sure the portfolio doesn't just belong to SS so the stick it front and centre to avoid paying comissions as much as they can?

Yes, he is on other sites:
https://nl.123rf.com/profile_telas1020 (https://nl.123rf.com/profile_telas1020)
https://www.pond5.com/de/artist/telas1020 (https://www.pond5.com/de/artist/telas1020)
https://www.dreamstime.com/telas1020_info (https://www.dreamstime.com/telas1020_info)
https://de.depositphotos.com/portfolio-29995906.html?offset=2500 (https://de.depositphotos.com/portfolio-29995906.html?offset=2500)


Conclusion - I think dear Oleg is a piece of AI masquerading as a person and is probably being used to test search functions and software as there is no way anyone could get the top slot in all of these search terms.

Interesting theory, but since he has real accounts on various stock agencies, I doubt that's what's going on here.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Lowls on April 25, 2021, 17:46
His linkd profile does exist. You need to search Google for his profile picture. This takes you to a contact. He is listed in that persons contacts on linkd. Listed as his current position are these details.

QA Test Lead – AS PNB Banka
AS PNB Banka
Nov 2012 - Present8 years 6 months

Latvia

- Organize the work of the testing department
- automatic test creation (Java, Selenium, JUnit)
- Control the quality of products developed
- to provide a technical task of developing
- authorization device (DigiPass) Storage and Release.
- Internet bank and the bank's Web page maintenance / administration.
- The update preparation to the real environment (Internet banks and the bank's web-site, SVN, GIT)
- Incident solving.


Source https://tinyurl.com/27sthyp7

Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Justanotherphotographer on April 26, 2021, 03:14
...
Interesting theory, but since he has real accounts on various stock agencies, I doubt that's what's going on here.
Yeah, thanks, so not an SS owned portfolio
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Justanotherphotographer on April 26, 2021, 03:15
His linkd profile does exist. You need to search Google for his profile picture. This takes you to a contact. He is listed in that persons contacts on linkd. Listed as his current position are these details.

QA Test Lead – AS PNB Banka
AS PNB Banka
Nov 2012 - Present8 years 6 months

Latvia

- Organize the work of the testing department
- automatic test creation (Java, Selenium, JUnit)
- Control the quality of products developed
- to provide a technical task of developing
- authorization device (DigiPass) Storage and Release.
- Internet bank and the bank's Web page maintenance / administration.
- The update preparation to the real environment (Internet banks and the bank's web-site, SVN, GIT)
- Incident solving.


Source https://tinyurl.com/27sthyp7
Okay, so could be programming to farm clicks or certain amount of dls from subs accounts to boost positions
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Roscoe on April 26, 2021, 06:47
Okay, so could be programming to farm clicks or certain amount of dls from subs accounts to boost positions

If that's what he did, then why only Shutterstock and not on other agencies? He has 53 sales on Dreamstime, which is on the normal or even lower side for a portfolio of that.
I wonder how much it would cost, how much of your own images you must buy, to reach the front page with so many images for highly competitive keywords.
It would also require a lot of subscription plans owned by different companies or persons to pull it off. If that's what happened, this would mean there's a shady industry behind it also offering similar services to other contributors. Meaning: you can buy content ranking. 

Or... it might indeed be a weird Shutterstock experiment as well. See how buyers react on quality and image ranking and how it compares to other agencies.
Push a regular image to the front page and see how long it's able to hold position.

Hell I don't know. But for sure it's manipulated. We can all agree to that.

Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: OM on April 27, 2021, 05:49
I would doubt that this is any kind of SS experiment. If you search 'man', you get the top 2 rows on Page 1 'relevant' almost completely filled with his shots. All editorial and not (IMHO) hugely attractive. SS states that it wants model-released shots if possible so why would they go out of their way to present buyers with the exact opposite of what they tell contributors that sells. All social media and Google changed their algorithms a few years ago because some clever guys/gals were able to manipulate the results to their own advantage. Now it's much more difficult. Maybe SS didn't see the need and this guy is smarter than their old algo......or maybe he's just a hacker and SS don't really care anyway!
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: changingsky on April 27, 2021, 07:55
...
Interesting theory, but since he has real accounts on various stock agencies, I doubt that's what's going on here.
Yeah, thanks, so not an SS owned portfolio
Cannot be a final conclusion. Nothing stops one agency to (ab)use another one, no matter under which sauce - AI persona or a real person, and still all other versions are too alive to be eliminated :-)
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 27, 2021, 10:46

Hell I don't know. But for sure it's manipulated. We can all agree to that.

Years ago "Red One" had some artificial boost on video and everything that had that as the camera, flew to the front. I guess that his camera or something in the user ID and info has a featured word or programming error. If we can find out and everyone add that, SS will eventually fix what's broken.  :)
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: JustAnImage on April 27, 2021, 16:10
I tried something simple to check if it is the keywords or the title:
(a) Original image from OlegRi: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1589147812 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1589147812)
(b) My image submitted with the exact same keywords and title: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1961404534 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1961404534)

Results:
(a) OlegRi's images is very high if you look for flowers or rose
(b) My image cannot be found within the first thousands of images

So its not the keywords nor the title...
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: changingsky on April 28, 2021, 01:30
Huge thank you to people who can dedicate a part of their time for such research. Stock photographers and other creatives are much less protected category than other businesses.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Justanotherphotographer on April 28, 2021, 02:50
Okay, so could be programming to farm clicks or certain amount of dls from subs accounts to boost positions

If that's what he did, then why only Shutterstock and not on other agencies? ...

Could be he saw the bigger earnings potential so concentrated on beating the algorithm at SS.
Could be that it does involve purchasing a certain number of images and the maths just makes sense on SS for investment/ return
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: OM on April 28, 2021, 04:44
I think that if they and multiple friends were buying the images, they would have to buy an awful lot to get his images as the first 10 images on page 1 of 'man'....a category of 22 million images. Same goes for all the other most popular categories in which they have one or more shots in the top slots. You would have to purchase a lot of photos.

In the old days when there were far fewer images in the SS collection I had a couple of images (almost) at the top of search in popular, single-search-word categories and for that those images were selling between 10 and 20X/week and every week for months in order to stay at the top.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: lazy_ella on April 28, 2021, 14:44
I don't believe the theory that he / his friends / someone he pays is buying loads of these images, either. This is not like paying a click farm 50 bucks once to get 5.000 fake followers for your company's social media channels. He would have to buy all these images constantly, and that would cost a good deal of money over time. But the way his search results look, he would just be wasting a lot of money.

Take the keyword "man" as an example. I counted 34 of his images on the first page of results. As OM mentioned, they are all editorial, so they are useless for commercial customers.

Also, some are a bad fit even for customers looking for editorial. For example: people in Venetian masks, a person with a metal detector on a beach who has is back turned to the camera, a pseudo-old-timey statue that is holding up a glass of beer, and loads of people on motorbikes - none of those are what I would want if I typed "man" into the search bar.

So I just don't think those pictures sell very well, no matter how high up they are in the search.

Someone who is bumping his images to the top by buying them repeatedly would concentrate on a few that have commercial value. At least, no one would bother bumping up the beer glass statue guy - that's just like throwing money into a burning pit.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Uncle Pete on April 29, 2021, 11:56

So I just don't think those pictures sell very well, no matter how high up they are in the search.

Someone who is bumping his images to the top by buying them repeatedly would concentrate on a few that have commercial value. At least, no one would bother bumping up the beer glass statue guy - that's just like throwing money into a burning pit.

Thank you, that's what I was thinking also. First page doesn't mean sales, if the images aren't good.

But I sure wonder how he's doing it?

Is the SS algorithm so stupid that a click farm can raise someones presence in the searches enough to make them first page? That's very unusual to imagine it's so easy to manipulate. And that would seem to indicate it's by artist not by individual images. Mine don't appear to display that way, they are by image and sales.

How sick would that be if anyone could raise their level and visibility just by having many more views?  :o


Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: changingsky on April 29, 2021, 13:00

How sick would that be if anyone could raise their level and visibility just by having many more views?  :o
Kind of DDOS?
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Roscoe on April 30, 2021, 02:46

Thank you, that's what I was thinking also. First page doesn't mean sales, if the images aren't good.

But I sure wonder how he's doing it?

Is the SS algorithm so stupid that a click farm can raise someones presence in the searches enough to make them first page? That's very unusual to imagine it's so easy to manipulate. And that would seem to indicate it's by artist not by individual images. Mine don't appear to display that way, they are by image and sales.

How sick would that be if anyone could raise their level and visibility just by having many more views?  :o

Far from being the expert here, but I would assume that CTR (Click Through Rate) is indeed one of the factors that determines the ranking of an image by the algorithm. Conversion rate (actual licensing) should be another one. In other words: if an image gets a lot of clicks we can assume it rises up in the ranks, but if nobody is buying it after closer inspection, it probably drops again.

I discovered yesterday that SS seems to be implementing these factors also in their front end. Popularity and Usage are on the image details page. At least, on my phone. Not (yet) on my PC. One of my images that get licensed several times a week since I uploaded it last year has low popularity and usage and an image that sold a few times more than a year ago and never again since then has high popularity and usage.

I would also assume that SS is able to detect basic manipulations. Clicks coming from the same account, PC, IP address or region should be discarded.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: changingsky on April 30, 2021, 03:05
Roscoe, "Clicks coming from the same account, PC, IP address or region should be discarded." -
They will react only when sales can be affected. It is not a problem to forge many attributes, for example, Yahoo is not able to stop bitcoin ads spam, everytime it is coming from different addresses etc.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Roscoe on April 30, 2021, 03:13
They will react only when sales can be affected. It is not a problem to forge many attributes, for example, Yahoo is not able to stop bitcoin ads spam, everytime it is coming from different addresses etc.

Yes, that's why I said "I would assume". Not sure they have this fraud detection built in.

Should be easy to test, no? Let's pick a random low quality image from deep down the SS haystack which we find by using a certain keyword, start clicking it, and see if it rises up the ranks.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: gnirtS on May 01, 2021, 07:35
SS aren't likely to care about this much.

For them, a sale is a sale.  Who they pay the tiny commission too doesn't matter.

I suspect they care very little about any potential algorithm abuse as long as its not affecting sales.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Horizon on May 01, 2021, 10:06
Hope you all realize that we as contributors see a different search then the registered buyer!!...old news I know but still!...if I was to search using a certain keyword which is highly popular I have 7 pics on the first page and they would of course sell like crazy but they dont!!  not even once!....why? because in reallity and with the buyers search the pics are probably way down the line!
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: TaxcoBoy on May 01, 2021, 10:36
I don't think buying your own images through click farms would make any sense financially, especially considering the subs image prices.
I think it is views that take precedence in a lot of cases, not sales.

Here is the example - I have uploaded the image 3 months ago. I had 2 sales only - 10 cents each, but the image is located in the first place in the first row. So it cannot be sales that influence the position in this case. The search was performed without being logged in to my contributor account, so it is the way clients see it.
'Teotihuacan' is not a hugely competitive keyword, but still a popular tourist destination in Mexico.

Back to the original point. If views take precedence then it is much easier to write the script to dupe the system than to deal with a complicated procedure of producing fake sales.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: thx9000 on May 01, 2021, 12:29
It seems the latest plausible theory is that these people spam their images to the max after acceptance, wait for them to pick up speed and when they find a place in the top results they remove the spam to appear regular. Apparently many users do this. Look at these:
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mountain-waterfall-landscape-mountains-1780718075 (https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mountain-waterfall-landscape-mountains-1780718075)
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/winter-mountain-snow-camp-scene-camping-1780718078 (https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/winter-mountain-snow-camp-scene-camping-1780718078)
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Bad Robot on May 01, 2021, 13:28
Hope you all realize that we as contributors see a different search then the registered buyer!!...old news I know but still!...if I was to search using a certain keyword which is highly popular I have 7 pics on the first page and they would of course sell like crazy but they dont!!  not even once!....why? because in reallity and with the buyers search the pics are probably way down the line!

I have a customer account and I see the same problems
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on May 01, 2021, 14:16
Hope you all realize that we as contributors see a different search then the registered buyer!!...old news I know but still!...if I was to search using a certain keyword which is highly popular I have 7 pics on the first page and they would of course sell like crazy but they dont!!  not even once!....why? because in reallity and with the buyers search the pics are probably way down the line!

I have a customer account and I see the same problems
Same here. Customer & Contributor account search gives me the same results...
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: gnirtS on May 01, 2021, 16:40
It seems the latest plausible theory is that these people spam their images to the max after acceptance, wait for them to pick up speed and when they find a place in the top results they remove the spam to appear regular. Apparently many users do this. Look at these:
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mountain-waterfall-landscape-mountains-1780718075 (https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mountain-waterfall-landscape-mountains-1780718075)
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/winter-mountain-snow-camp-scene-camping-1780718078 (https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/winter-mountain-snow-camp-scene-camping-1780718078)

You'd guess the second one uploaded then as soon as it got approved keyword spammed it.  I cant see that number of duplicate keywords getting through even SS's dumb-bot QA process.

Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on May 02, 2021, 00:06
I've seen contrubutors do this before, but as far as I can tell, no other contributor could recreate Olge's "success" the way he did.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: eyewave on May 03, 2021, 07:49

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/winter-mountain-snow-camp-scene-camping-1780718078
 (https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/winter-mountain-snow-camp-scene-camping-1780718078)
On a side note: the second one (Andrey Bocharov) does not only keyword spamming, the photos in his port are stolen, too. Found some in other portfolios, he just flipped them. Too bad Shittersuck wouldn't care if I contacted them.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: gnirtS on May 03, 2021, 11:43

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/winter-mountain-snow-camp-scene-camping-1780718078
 (https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/winter-mountain-snow-camp-scene-camping-1780718078)
On a side note: the second one (Andrey Bocharov) does not only keyword spamming, the photos in his port are stolen, too. Found some in other portfolios, he just flipped them. Too bad Shittersuck wouldn't care if I contacted them.

Good spot - appears he's stolen this guys off Flickr:-
https://www.flickr.com/photos/cheafmundl/49652681852/ (https://www.flickr.com/photos/cheafmundl/49652681852/)

Just flipped it and increased the saturation.  Its definitely the same image (look at the clouds).

So he's not just gaming the system and keyword spamming, he's doing so with stolen images on top.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Microstockphoto on May 03, 2021, 13:20
check out the sizes of this photos, he has the largest resolution for most photos in any search, tree 7157 × 4774px, beach 6000x4000px but the rest is smaller. i believe shutterstock favours bigger larger resolution. i think one of their blogs says to submit the largest resolution possible. not sure if thats why, but could be one of the reasons.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Microstockphoto on May 03, 2021, 13:22
I tried something simple to check if it is the keywords or the title:
(a) Original image from OlegRi: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1589147812 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1589147812)
(b) My image submitted with the exact same keywords and title: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1961404534 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1961404534)

Results:
(a) OlegRi's images is very high if you look for flowers or rose
(b) My image cannot be found within the first thousands of images

So its not the keywords nor the title...

your image has smaller resolution, try submitting the same size image, or larger even, and see what happens
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: JustAnImage on May 03, 2021, 17:21
your image has smaller resolution, try submitting the same size image, or larger even, and see what happens
Interesting idea, let me get my Zoom #1 program and do some hires images.
I will try another photo with a higher resolution... lets see how this will perform :-)

Edit:
For this resolution try I opened Shutterstock and searched for "landscape".
The first image is by OlegRi: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/beautiful-landscape-field-ripe-rye-blue-1774166006 (https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/beautiful-landscape-field-ripe-rye-blue-1774166006) (7734x5159px)

Have just uploaded two images (10000x6667px) with the same kind of motif and exactly the same title and keywords in the same order, as soon as they are accepted I give you the links here.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: gnirtS on May 04, 2021, 05:59
check out the sizes of this photos, he has the largest resolution for most photos in any search, tree 7157 × 4774px, beach 6000x4000px but the rest is smaller. i believe shutterstock favours bigger larger resolution. i think one of their blogs says to submit the largest resolution possible. not sure if thats why, but could be one of the reasons.

Im not convinced the algorithm favours larget images - a lot of my cropped or low res sell more than high res (although even getting a high res accepted with the focus AI is hard...).

I suspect a lot of these guys images are small because they're stolen off flickr and free wallpaper sites.

Having said that, with GigaPixel or Adobe Super Resolution, upscaling is easy and pretty good most of the time now.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on May 04, 2021, 06:22
I am pretty sure the algorithm does NOT favore large size images. We just had that discussion in the SS forum yesterday, because I always advice people who get lots of rejections for noice and grain to submit their images in as small a size as possible. So, I browsed the SS database for some keywords like "dog" and pretty much all top image search results have a size of 2500-3000pixel.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: steheap on May 04, 2021, 10:14
My guess is that the Shutterstock admin system has ways to manually change the normal search position of an image or a contributor or (as we suspected in the past) to put newer (lower cost in the old plan) contributors higher in the results.  So that admin system gives certain people a lot of power to alter how things are displayed. With all the hacks into company systems recently, it isn't beyond belief that someone has hacked into this admin system to make changes to their or other contributor positions. Not as illegal as stealing money through a hack, but it still could work to generate extra income. Of course, blackmailing an employee would have the same impact. I have no proof that this has been done, or that the contributor we are discussing has done any of this! He might just be a great photographer...

Steve
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Horizon on May 04, 2021, 12:10
Hope you all realize that we as contributors see a different search then the registered buyer!!...old news I know but still!...if I was to search using a certain keyword which is highly popular I have 7 pics on the first page and they would of course sell like crazy but they dont!!  not even once!....why? because in reallity and with the buyers search the pics are probably way down the line!

I have a customer account and I see the same problems

I also have a customer account and I see the same BUT thats because I registered in my real name, same as you!...same name as contributor because you ID yourself!....dead easy to manipulate a search!....btw. this is old news!
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on May 04, 2021, 13:36
Hope you all realize that we as contributors see a different search then the registered buyer!!...old news I know but still!...if I was to search using a certain keyword which is highly popular I have 7 pics on the first page and they would of course sell like crazy but they dont!!  not even once!....why? because in reallity and with the buyers search the pics are probably way down the line!

I have a customer account and I see the same problems


I also have a customer account and I see the same BUT thats because I registered in my real name, same as you!...same name as contributor because you ID yourself!....dead easy to manipulate a search!....btw. this is old news!
I think you are being paranoid. Just log out of your account, customer or contributor and you'll still see the same search results.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Uncle Pete on May 05, 2021, 08:49
Hope you all realize that we as contributors see a different search then the registered buyer!!...old news I know but still!...if I was to search using a certain keyword which is highly popular I have 7 pics on the first page and they would of course sell like crazy but they dont!!  not even once!....why? because in reallity and with the buyers search the pics are probably way down the line!

* Lagereek, I thought you left to create new anonymous accounts? How ridiculous can you be. I have a registered buyer account! So all your usual conspiracy garbage is a waste of time. Old news, well you said it first?  :)

Hope you all realize that we as contributors see a different search then the registered buyer!!...old news I know but still!...if I was to search using a certain keyword which is highly popular I have 7 pics on the first page and they would of course sell like crazy but they dont!!  not even once!....why? because in reallity and with the buyers search the pics are probably way down the line!

I have a customer account and I see the same problems


I also have a customer account and I see the same BUT thats because I registered in my real name, same as you!...same name as contributor because you ID yourself!....dead easy to manipulate a search!....btw. this is old news!
I think you are being paranoid. Just log out of your account, customer or contributor and you'll still see the same search results.

Waste of time, he's full of imaginary conspiracies and will make up answers without a speck of truth. ps I have a contributor account in a false name, I see the same results logged in or not, and from a different browser with a VPN turned on. Over the years, most of us have learned to ignore anything Christian Lagereek writes. Leaf banned Christian Lagereek and his many accounts, for life. But apparently he got in again.

check out the sizes of this photos, he has the largest resolution for most photos in any search, tree 7157 × 4774px, beach 6000x4000px but the rest is smaller. i believe shutterstock favours bigger larger resolution. i think one of their blogs says to submit the largest resolution possible. not sure if thats why, but could be one of the reasons.

Interesting ideas!

My guess is that the Shutterstock admin system has ways to manually change the normal search position of an image or a contributor or (as we suspected in the past) to put newer (lower cost in the old plan) contributors higher in the results.  So that admin system gives certain people a lot of power to alter how things are displayed. With all the hacks into company systems recently, it isn't beyond belief that someone has hacked into this admin system to make changes to their or other contributor positions. Not as illegal as stealing money through a hack, but it still could work to generate extra income. Of course, blackmailing an employee would have the same impact. I have no proof that this has been done, or that the contributor we are discussing has done any of this! He might just be a great photographer...

Steve

Also interesting.

I tried something simple to check if it is the keywords or the title:
(a) Original image from OlegRi: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1589147812 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1589147812)
(b) My image submitted with the exact same keywords and title: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1961404534 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/red-white-rose-on-black-background-1961404534)

Results:
(a) OlegRi's images is very high if you look for flowers or rose
(b) My image cannot be found within the first thousands of images

So its not the keywords nor the title...

your image has smaller resolution, try submitting the same size image, or larger even, and see what happens

This is enterta8ining to watch, I wish I had more time to join in. Good luck finding the flaw.

It seems the latest plausible theory is that these people spam their images to the max after acceptance, wait for them to pick up speed and when they find a place in the top results they remove the spam to appear regular. Apparently many users do this. Look at these:
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mountain-waterfall-landscape-mountains-1780718075 (https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mountain-waterfall-landscape-mountains-1780718075)
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/winter-mountain-snow-camp-scene-camping-1780718078 (https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/winter-mountain-snow-camp-scene-camping-1780718078)


Heck, another good theory.  ;D

I think I'm going to upload a gigapixel image, some huge stitched panorama. I generally save these for Alamy or FAA or someplace and send SS the 6MP version. Now I need to test if size matters? Lets see... I know, sliced tomato, my all time favorite. I'll make the biggest sliced tomato ever uploaded, macro, stitched, huge!

Whatever anyone eventually finds out, in fact, hacked, or manipulated or whatever, it's SS that's broken and someone just found the loophole.

Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: JustAnImage on May 06, 2021, 06:49
your image has smaller resolution, try submitting the same size image, or larger even, and see what happens
Interesting idea, let me get my Zoom #1 program and do some hires images.
I will try another photo with a higher resolution... lets see how this will perform :-)

Edit:
For this resolution try I opened Shutterstock and searched for "landscape".
The first image is by OlegRi: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/beautiful-landscape-field-ripe-rye-blue-1774166006 (https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/beautiful-landscape-field-ripe-rye-blue-1774166006) (7734x5159px)

Have just uploaded two images (10000x6667px) with the same kind of motif and exactly the same title and keywords in the same order, as soon as they are accepted I give you the links here.

The two images with higher resolution are accepted now:
- 8000 pixel width: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/beautiful-landscape-field-ripe-rye-blue-1968577168 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/beautiful-landscape-field-ripe-rye-blue-1968577168)
- 10000 pixel width: https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/beautiful-landscape-field-ripe-rye-blue-1968576751 (https://www.shutterstock.com/de/image-photo/beautiful-landscape-field-ripe-rye-blue-1968576751)

This would remove the "resolution"-reason, after keywords and title are already shown to be not the key to high ratings ;-)
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Jens G on May 06, 2021, 10:25
I think SS is rewarding contributors in search after upload rate.
The more uploads in a period, the higher ranking.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: falantus on May 06, 2021, 15:33
I think SS is rewarding contributors in search after upload rate.
The more uploads in a period, the higher ranking.

This could be the reason and a plausible guess.
Do we know a concrete proof, not just for ss but also for other stock companies?
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Dave on May 06, 2021, 16:44
Who cares he is still only getting .10c an image.
all you lot who are still uploading and having images on this site are doing a disservice to the rest of us by keeping recompemse for OUR CREATIVE WORK DOWN.
Don't you get the con here. They are laughing all the way to the bank paying themselves I am sure multimillion dollar salaries and commissions.
None of the site where I have images do I get this sort of ROI on MY CREATIVES.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: OM on May 06, 2021, 17:10
Posted by: Uncle Pete

Quote
Whatever anyone eventually finds out, in fact, hacked, or manipulated or whatever, it's SS that's broken and someone just found the loophole.

Yup.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: gnirtS on May 06, 2021, 19:16
all you lot who are still uploading and having images on this site are doing a disservice to the rest of us by keeping recompemse for OUR CREATIVE WORK DOWN.

So you'd rather people instead of earning a few hundred or thousands of dollars a month just settled for a guaranteed $0 on principle?

Its really hard to buy food on "principles".

Work also doesn't sell itself if its not available to be sold anywhere that buyers frequent.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Yakystockero on May 07, 2021, 02:52
A search algorithm takes into account tens, if not hundreds, factors with different weights. And today thanks to AI these factors change automatically without human intervention.
Image resolution may be a factor, it may weight 0.1% or 10%. It is almost impossible for us to do tests from the outside since you can only modify one factor with each upload, and even if you delete and upload your image dozens of times, your position will be affected by the rest of the photos that have been uploaded in the meantime.

Probably what most positions an image is the view / download ratio, that's why SS prohibits you from buying your own images. For every reason that you think it does, you will find someone else whose experience tells you just the opposite.

It is also possible that the algorithm is a monkey dancing on a touch screen with the new photos and thus assigning them points.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: duns123 on May 07, 2021, 06:24
I say it's witchcraft.

SS should be forced to look into this because it's an abuse of the system and if it's been hacked they probably stolen images.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on May 07, 2021, 06:52
I say it's witchcraft.

SS should be forced to look into this
And how do you want to "force" SS to look into this?
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Uncle Pete on May 10, 2021, 11:22
I say it's witchcraft.

SS should be forced to look into this
And how do you want to "force" SS to look into this?

Oh stop being so rational, I think we should sue, write to Congress and contact the FBI, CIA and NSA to have them investigate what's going on.  ;)

A search algorithm takes into account tens, if not hundreds, factors with different weights. And today thanks to AI these factors change automatically without human intervention.
Image resolution may be a factor, it may weight 0.1% or 10%. It is almost impossible for us to do tests from the outside since you can only modify one factor with each upload, and even if you delete and upload your image dozens of times, your position will be affected by the rest of the photos that have been uploaded in the meantime.

Probably what most positions an image is the view / download ratio, that's why SS prohibits you from buying your own images. For every reason that you think it does, you will find someone else whose experience tells you just the opposite.

It is also possible that the algorithm is a monkey dancing on a touch screen with the new photos and thus assigning them points.

I like that and the other plausible guesses. Including the last line as well.

Mostly though, sometimes people take this too personally and assume that a few clicks and some magic (or Witchcraft...) will change the placement. Oh the double keywords, the spam and change, the size, number of uploads, a favorite is, where the contributor lives. But you have the best non-specific answer, and I'd agree. Many, many variables, that change according to the clicks and searches, and I mean for everyone. More popular keywords on that day, will be moved up.

Used to be simple, how many days online, how many sales (and maybe a few other things like size) and bingo, rank. You could watch on IS new images to the top, then slow decline in placement as they aged. SS was the same. But of course the secret machine learning changes we have now, change according to the market, the day, the location, and like you say, possible 100 or more other factors.

I'd like to know how this guy tricked the system. That's my interest. Not politics, accusations or conspiracies. And when SS figures that out, they will change the system so he's ranked properly, as they wish, not as we'd wish, like the rest of us. We are all entitled to be treat crappy on an equal basis? :-\

Yeah, he can be first with his bad images, and he still doesn't make many sales. When he does he still gets a crappy dime. Best of luck.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Uncle Pete on May 11, 2021, 11:31

Probably what most positions an image is the view / download ratio, that's why SS prohibits you from buying your own images. For every reason that you think it does, you will find someone else whose experience tells you just the opposite.


Right on the second part, there are many ways we can see the same things. We don't really know.

About buying your own, or having someone else do that. We have seen accounts closed for "suspicious activity" where a buyer buys a disproportionate number of images from the same artist. So if A FOAF is buying these to raise the rank, that's not going to be the answer either.

For now I'm going with (totally WAG and hypothetical) each one of these could be OR as well as all?

1) He's got links from every free site on the planet, to his SS collection.

2) He's contrived a click app to go look at and zoom his images.

3) He has found a way to add data to the EXIF that we don't know is read and used by SS. Say he changes the camera to "Hasselblad H6D-100c" and SS is pushing hidden data from camera models to the top.

I like #3 best but it's just not Xfiles enough for the forum I'd guess? Those would be, inside deal, Ukraine is ranked higher, someone in review is giving him special priority, which would all say to me... why would they do that, especially considering the quality of some of his images? Nonsense.

Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: lazy_ella on May 12, 2021, 09:11
What I don’t get is this (and I have obsessed far too much about it and will definitely stop after this post!): if he's doing this intentionally – doesn’t matter how – why doesn’t he shoot more profitable subjects?

If I had a magic button that rockets every picture I take to number one in the search, I would quickly rig together a semi-professional setup – use a set, hire some models, maybe even throw some money at a professional photographer to coach me on lighting and posing etc, so that my shots look the best they can.

If you’re guaranteed to get to the top for simple but profitable subjects like “woman uses computer to shop online”, “man gives his girlfriend/wife a gift”, “couple fighting”, “woman holding a bill looking worried” and so on, you would get rich very quickly, wouldn’t you? Maybe my examples aren’t the best, but you get what I mean, right?

He seems like a dude who mostly just shoots some editorial of bikers and motorbikes, because that's where he hangs out anyway. Maybe this is all shittystock’s fault and he has nothing to do with it? Maybe he doesn't even know it's happening!?
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Jens G on May 13, 2021, 04:12
I think SS is rewarding contributors in search after upload rate.
The more uploads in a period, the higher ranking.

This could be the reason and a plausible guess.
Do we know a concrete proof, not just for ss but also for other stock companies?
The reason for my guess is that SS already showed that it's the present number of downloads that gets rewarded, when they introduced the new earnings structure.
So I guess that they also want to reward contributors with high upload activity, and one way could be to rank them higher in search.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: changingsky on May 13, 2021, 04:25
We already saw examples of portfolios, photo and vectors with high rate of upload (there are threads about spam ports). SS could do many choices, anyway they are not in favor of commodity who actually are the contributors. Only in favor of itself, SS. It will be naive to expect any changes or a good will. Just look at the ancient threads. Insider version is highly probable.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on May 13, 2021, 05:37
I submit photos to Shutterstock pretty much daily and I don't see my photos ranking No. 1 with every keyword I use, so that certainly can't be what's happening here.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: LockStockandRoll on May 13, 2021, 10:30
He's got the first 6 results for puppy. That's crazy. Why can't SS do something about it.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: gnirtS on May 13, 2021, 15:47
Not just algorithm gaming to wonder about here.
Anyone that has or had access to the database or backend itself (so a worker, former worker, hacker) could easily up-rank.

Its obviously a fake name and account, could be anyone anywhere in the world.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Roscoe on May 14, 2021, 01:19
I submit photos to Shutterstock pretty much daily and I don't see my photos ranking No. 1 with every keyword I use, so that certainly can't be what's happening here.

This.

Many contributors are uploading on a daily basis, and many of them more than 10 per day which would get you roughly the amount of images that our friend Oleg has online. They don't have their images at the top of the first page for single and highly competitive keywords.

While I haven't seen any proof of this, I can believe that maintaining an active portfolio is one (minor) of the many factors that can determine the ranking of content and sales. But it will not get it to the front page. I would say that requires very high click-through and conversion rates.

So it's clearly manipulated. Probably by blackhat techniques. Click/buy farms, or an exploit on the algorithm. We will probably never know, as those who know how to do it don't tell. At least, not here. There might be a thread on one of the Russian .onion hacking related forums or so, but hell, I'm too lazy to even start digging for that. I do know such forums have threads on how to download content without watermark, or links to complete dumps of unwatermarked and full-sized content.

Inside job is also possible, but it sounds more complicated and traceable to me. More risky for those involved. It's possible, but whoever did that looses the job and risks legal issues.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: LockStockandRoll on May 14, 2021, 03:21
Brought up on the Shutterstock forum, but some of you might have missed it.


Can anyone link the thread on the SS forum? I can't seem to find it.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Firn on May 14, 2021, 03:46
Brought up on the Shutterstock forum, but some of you might have missed it.


Can anyone link the thread on the SS forum? I can't seem to find it.

There isn't really any other info available there. People are as much in the dark about what's going on there than they are here.
https://forums.submit.shutterstock.com/topic/101933-one-account-phenomenon/
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: LockStockandRoll on May 14, 2021, 04:02
Thanks Firn - what a strange situation. Hopefully SS pull their finger out and stop him gaming, r someone else works out how he does it. I could do with a boost on my pics and vids :)
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Uncle Pete on May 14, 2021, 09:44
What I don’t get is this (and I have obsessed far too much about it and will definitely stop after this post!): if he's doing this intentionally – doesn’t matter how – why doesn’t he shoot more profitable subjects?

If I had a magic button that rockets every picture I take to number one in the search, I would quickly rig together a semi-professional setup – use a set, hire some models, maybe even throw some money at a professional photographer to coach me on lighting and posing etc, so that my shots look the best they can.


Yes to both, good thinking on the quality question. And all the guessing and for some people saying "this is obvious", we have no answers? So it's not obvious and there's nothing to say it's an error, upload volume, location, he's doing it, or it's someone inside or any of the other guesses. We don't know.

When someone provides some proof and evidence, then I'll get interested. I can't do anything about this, so yes... "I have obsessed far too much about it and will definitely stop after this post" no more guesses from me. My guess is link farms, free sites, driving views. And NO  I have nothing to say that I have any better answer than he has hacked the sales site or it's a SS test account.

Anyone can make up anything and none of us can prove it wrong. The responsibility is for someone making a claim to prove it's valid.

Giant Invisible Frogs from outer space are hacking the system. No one can prove that my answer is not the real answer?
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Microstockphoto on May 26, 2021, 04:58
my size theory is not it, i tested it

could it be that he uploads an image and then have bots click on the image and maybe download a few from a buyer account to propel them to teh first spot??,
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: Justanotherphotographer on May 26, 2021, 08:26
my size theory is not it, i tested it

could it be that he uploads an image and then have bots click on the image and maybe download a few from a buyer account to propel them to teh first spot??,
Yes this is my guess too. They have probably found it only takes a few early sales and/or clicks to get an image to the top and that across a portfolio it adds up financially.
Title: Re: Someone tricked the Shutterstock algorithm?
Post by: eyewave on June 10, 2021, 03:33
Just had to revive this thread after I found this – guess who owns the top placement of 38 Million "isolated" images... with an image that is everything but isolated.
That's the worst kind of advertising shitterstock could wish for and they don't even care. :o