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Everything posted by IDP

  1. For those who are concerned about this, I queried it with Alamy and they confirmed that, if a Personal Use restriction is in place, then a customer will not be able to order a print by purchasing another license. They're looking at changing the wording. Ian D
  2. This is slightly misleading Keith! A previous test version of the Image Manager did delete duplicate tags, but this was only possible when tags were ordered alphabetically within the tool, something that we reverted back from after further testing and feedback. The version rolled out to those outside the test group has had no code within it at all that removes duplicate tags. If anyone would like to provide examples of this happening and can provide image refs etc for us we will be happy to continue to investigate, but upon clicking save now, there is no code at all in place that can work through the tags to remove duplicates and this has been confirmed by the head of development at Alamy who led the build on this project. As we've mentioned previously and as is stated in the main rules of the forum, it's not possible for us to answer all questions here but the team are always quick and happy to help if you email contributors@alamy.com. Thanks Alamy So why don't you revert it back so the tags are in alphabetical order and duplicates are removed? I can only see advantages. What's the problem with that?Cheers, Philippe Firstly, whatever Alamy say, on Monday the new IM was definitely removing duplicate tags when saving. It's an indisputable fact, and multiple contributors aren't imagining it. Having said that, I'm glad the new tool hasn't now got that facility - and for very good reasons. There are almost 100 million images on Alamy and most of them won't be revisited by contributors - particularly agencies and those with large collections. Consequently, there certainly shouldn't be any automatic deletion of keywords or alphabetising when transferring across to the new system. (Not sure if anybody is actually suggesting that?). By leaving keywords in the order they were entered, and not deleting duplicates, the images are still eminently searchable and should provide appropriate results for the buyer. Even for those who want to make revisions, deletion and re-ordering would prove problematic. Let's take an example of a shot of New York City, where you just want to add a couple of supertags. Under the old system, it might have had the keywords "new,york,city,brooklyn,bridge,city,skyline,brooklyn,heights." Word proximity and order would bring the image high up in a search for New York City, Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Heights- which is what the contributor intended. If, as soon as you started editing, all duplicates were removed (and, even worse, tags were put in alphabetical order), you'd end up with a load of gibberish, such as "bridge,brooklyn,city,heights,new,skyline,york". That image would never be found for the previous search terms. By leaving in duplicates and maintaining word order, it's giving buyers the best chance of getting the image they want. It also means that, for the moment, you really shouldn't need to be doing any mass editing. Having said that, the total lack of thought Alamy seem to have put into the refining of legacy images is pretty disturbing. It's virtually impossible to do batch editing - and trying to revise an image with over 50 tags is long winded and tedious in the extreme. The simplest solution would be to allow old images to be revised without consideration of the number of tags - automatic deletion of duplicates and alphabetising isn't the way to go. Ian D
  3. This isn't a new problem but has been occurring ever since all keywords started being shown below a zoomed image. I reported a number of instances to Alamy at the beginning of the year but didn't receive any response. It is, however, just a display problem. The keywords are still there and searchable - I've tested it by removing the missing word from the caption, and the image is still found. Whatever other anomalies you can blame on the new search algorithm, this isn't one of them! Ian D
  4. I think they're right - that it is inevitable and probably impossible to police. However the old search system made this pretty counterproductive. The visible keywords are in alphabetical order, with no indication of which keyword field they're in. There's also no indication of the (previously) all important word order and proximity, which created relevancy. Therefore, it was almost self-policing. Simply copying someone else's keywords would have inevitably resulted in a low rank and low visibility. Sadly, this is no longer the case and it's become a plagiarist's charter. Word order doesn't seem to matter and irrelevancies are rewarded. I did a search for Yellowstone National Park and the search results aren't much different to Park National Yellowstone - which would not have happened under the old system, giving prominence to word order and relevancy. Sadly, another example of the bewildering mess we're now having to live with! Ian D
  5. It sold for $14.99, which considering the conversion is actually slightly more than the current standard PU price in the UK of £9.99. It was sold in the US though. I'm not sure if $14.99 is the price US clients see? I thought I read that it was now $9.99. Maybe they changed the specifics of the use - I'll look again at the sale details. [Edit] Doesn't look like they changed anything from the defaults. [/edit] Geoff. Thanks Geoff. That's more than mine sold for yesterday but less than Thursday's sale. I just wondered if there had been a bulk deal going on but it seems not. Pearl A bulk deal on PU would be the best proof of PU sales abuse. It's already hard to believe that the examples shown by Philippe and others are real PU sales, but I refuse to believe that anyone would buy so many real PU images to deserve a bulk deal. Christoph I doubt if they do bulk deals on personal use - but they certainly give discounts. I queried a $7.49 sale back in April and was told by MS that it was because of customers who got promo codes as part of a marketing campaign. I've since noticed a few other discounts for differing amounts. Also remember that, whilst a US sale is invariably $14.99, UK sales now come in at around $12.80 (because of the exchange rate). Ian D
  6. For those placing restrictions on personal use, I would advise you to beware of an annoying anomaly with batch editing. Whereas with all other fields, no changes are made if the box is left unticked; with the Restriction field, any subsequent batch edit will automatically remove restrictions already in place - unless you redo them. I couldn't understand why my restrictions kept disappearing until I identified this annoying problem. Ian D
  7. I think a clear indication of abuse is the appearance of some of these personal use sales in Customer Search Activity (Measures). If these were genuine, one-off licenses by Joe Public, the data for searches and sales shouldn't be registering - not to mention the unsuitability of much of the content for personal use. Ian D
  8. Which obviously needed a bit of help. Or is this too cynical? wim Cynical and probably wrong. The Trust commissioned photographers when I was shooting NT property for local estate managers in the 90s and I'm sure long before. They have their own publications and so have long needed photography. In the 90s there was concern over articles about gardens which couldn't cope with influxes of visitors, the one I mainly shot was one example (though parking facilites are now well improved). I fail to see the relevance of that comment, Geoff. Wim was undoubtedly referring to the fact that the NT may have needed help selling on Alamy - by removing competing images. If they believe they have their own excellent photography, then they shouldn't be concerned about competition - the client will license the best image for his/her purpose. Imposing a monopoly isn't the way to go about it and it ultimately reduces customer choice. Ian D
  9. A few years ago, I became vaguely aware of the National Trust's rather draconian policy on photography and, as with many others here, it caused me some concern. Up until that time, I never considered who owned or ran a property of historical interest - I'd just go along, pay my entrance fee and, if I wanted to, take photographs. Naturally, over the years, I submitted a number of these to Alamy. I wasn't a member of the National Trust and didn't take much interest in it. As I say, a few years ago I did become aware of their photography policy, largely due to a number of discussions on the Alamy forum. I don't know how long the terms had been in effect nor, therefore, did I know if my previously submitted images were covered. However, it did seem that there was an uneasy truce and that the NT weren't rigorously enforcing the policy. Consequently, I continued to submit images of Trust properties to Alamy. It would seem that the truce has now ended. As of yesterday, Alamy have done a mass deletion of National Trust images - sadly, without informing us first. It's obviously been a work in progress for some time, given that every image seems to have been individually evaluated. However, there are still some anomalies with the few images left up for sale. The irony is that, although Alamy have taken this step, RF images of the same properties are still available on microstock sites. Consequently, I don't know if this deletion is a unilateral decision by Alamy or whether they came under pressure from the NT. Whatever the motivation, I don't feel it's right that working photographers should be prevented from photographing historic landmarks that are, after all, owned by the nation. Perhaps it's time that the Trust's policy was challenged in court. Ian D Edit: Images obviously taken from a public right of way haven't been removed
  10. Quality was excellent. Moreover, it was an archival image, with the prominent warning about quality. Seems an obvious case of somebody wanting something for nothing. Ian D
  11. Whilst not approving of Alamy's personal use license, I have to accept that a buyer can abuse any low-cost license and so putting restrictions on one's whole collection would prove pointless. However, what is worrying, is the ability for the buyer to get a refund on a personal license - which I've just had. It was apparently refunded because the customer complained of poor image quality. This is totally unacceptable and these cheap licenses should never be refunded. Even if the intended use was genuine, the buyer has ended up with a high resolution file, the usage for which can never be verified. It's time Alamy started controlling this and other aspects of the license (which have already been discussed), before it gets out of hand. Ian D
  12. The reason is that you've said you're using a 4k monitor. Because of the pixel density, you need to view at 200% to get the equivalent of 100% on a standard monitor. Hope this helps Ian D
  13. Regarding timing of re-ranks, there was one on 13th June last year and then, somewhat inexplicably, another one on 30th July. There was a brief thread on the forum that mentioned it but that was closed by Alamy (http://discussion.alamy.com/index.php?/topic/4375-bhz/page-1#entry73245). After every re-rank, I take screenshots of the first page of BHZ and the changes in July were fairly substantial. There hasn't been one since then. Regarding MS's response to Philippe, that simply isn't the case in respect of the Relevant tab. Like Pearl, I've also done tests with different images and it doesn't change relative positioning. As far as I can gather, it would have an effect under the Creative tab for a real world search - if a sale had been made for that exact search term. Regarding the age of the image playing some part, I've certainly found that to be so with one's own images and, to a slight extent, in overall searches. However, much more important, seems to be one's rank and, crucially, matching the exact search phrase. Ian D
  14. If anybody is interested, there seems to have been a re-rank today for the first time since July 30th last year. Ian D
  15. In some ways, this does seem to be a solution looking for a problem. Whilst I can see that Alamy want to try and get rid of a number of confusing and unprofessional pseudonyms, it does ignore the reason why some people use pseudonyms in the first place. Where many simply use them as a way of splitting their images into discrete collections, there must be a sizeable minority who use them to remain anonymous. A couple of my early aliases were established for this very reason - one because of commercial confidentiality and another to prevent possible retaliation for having taken politically sensitive images. Whilst I could establish another account for those images, I'd definitely lose my good ranking and it would make things more administratively complex. Since most members on this forum forewent their anonymity when it changed format a few years ago, it's not really a representative sample of contributors. It's hardly surprising that many see no problems, except for technical issues such as rank etc (which, to be fair, Alamy did explicitly state shouldn't be affected: "We’re not envisaging that this would change how AlamyRank works".) The other negative, as GeoffK and others pointed out, is that many might want different pseudonyms associated with different styles or type of image and lumping them all together certainly doesn't help to create a discrete online identity With regard to the potentially positive benefits, I can't really see those for the individual contributor. In promising better SEO, I can see it helping Alamy as a whole but not necessarily the small contributor. As for what other stock sites do, I'm afraid that's of absolute no interest to me and I can't see it being an issue for buyers. I agree that pseudonyms can be confusing to some, but there's no guarantee that any new system wouldn't cause an equal amount of confusion - there already seems to be some around exactly what is being proposed and what this would mean. There's also no guarantee that, for the sake of anonymity, contributors wouldn't still choose silly and childish master usernames. So, I for one, would not be in favour of the change unless these concerns can be addressed. Ian D
  16. It's been commented on in another thread that the search engine now seems to have been fixed. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case and new anomalies have been thrown up. The use of quotation marks by the buyer has long been a good way to get more accurate results in a search. For instance, a search for "Redwoods National Park" (in quotes) should show more relevant results than Redwoods National Park (no quotes) - by excluding images of redwood trees from other national parks. Unfortunately, this isn't the case, and a search in quotes produces no results at all - which is clearly an error. This seems to indicate that the search engine is no longer recognising the importance of proximity and word order, and this is supported by the fact that, in the search without quotes, a lot of the results on the first page are of redwoods in Sequoia National Park (some of them mine). My shots of Redwoods National Park appear much further down, even though that exact phrase is repeated in both caption and keywords. This total lack of results occurs with any national park searched for with quotation marks - but it doesn't stop there. A search for "New York City" produces no results at all, when out of the almost 1 million images, many must have that exact phrase. As I said above, it's not the fact that the use of quotation marks isn't working but that it's probably indicative of a deeper problem whereby the search engine is no longer recognising the importance of proximity and word order. I've contacted MS about this and await their reply with interest. Ian D Edit: MS's reply was that they're constantly looking to improve the search engine, particularly with regard to compound words. Not convinced they take these problems very seriously.
  17. You can, actually, Kathy. Simply copy the URL from Manage Images and paste it into a new window. Ian D
  18. Interesting topic, Kumar! I don’t really do that much analysis of my own figures, except where it can help to improve my sales. I’d certainly not looked at this aspect before and had assumed that sales by prefix were pretty evenly spread. However, on closer inspection, this doesn’t turn out to be the case. My figures look like this for 2015 Prefix 2015 Sales % Total Images % of 2015 Sales Sales Ratio A 260 31.82% 13.42% 2.78% B 396 21.38% 20.43% 6.31% C 497 16.62% 25.64% 10.19% D 367 14.16% 18.94% 8.83% E 394 12.73% 20.33% 10.54% F 24 3.29% 1.24% 2.48% It does look very much like my early images are starting to stagnate. I think this could well be because of relatively recent changes to the search engine, whereby even with a good rank, older images get pushed further down the search results. Ian D
  19. Absolutely, Phil. The order and proximity of keywords in any field will make a huge difference - which makes perfect sense. You want words that are searched together to appear at the top of any search results. For instance, if a buyer does a search for "National Park", he clearly doesn't want images to appear on the first page which might have, for example, the words "car park washington national airport". Those images would eventually appear, but at the very bottom of a search. (I've actually picked a bad example, in that Alamy still haven't resolved the anomalies of a search for national parks!!)
  20. Phil, If you look at my post higher up on this page, you'll see that Alamy got back to me saying that the info I got from MS was incorrect. No changes have been made and so not only does word order make a difference, it is, and always has been, an essential part of keywording strategy. Ian D
  21. Very strange, Kumar. Apart from my own images, I've done the occasional check on AoA over the past couple of months and haven't seen a single occurrence since the beginning of October. There are often searches with the ref no. and other search words (not what you've cited) and quite a few where the ref no. is invalid - so no images returned. In the latter case, you wouldn't see it in My Alamy because no images were found. The only other explanation is that there's some form of punctuation after the ref no. (usually a full stop) which is often hard to see. The search engine doesn't seem to recognise this as a valid reference and so doesn't exclude it - however it does return the searched for image. Otherwise, it would seem to be an odd quirk! Ian D
  22. Whay you've discovered seems to be new variant on the already established issues - it's normally word order that effects the number of images returned and, as I discovered, quotation marks usually reduced the number of results. Doing a number of searches, I found the following: Stone Wall Lake District (261) "Stone Wall" Lake District (2959) Lake District Stone Wall (4169) Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that Alamy don't know what's causing the anomalies and have little chance of rectifying it. Ian D
  23. I've just had a welcome and speedy response from one of the management team, informing me that there haven't been any changes to the way the search fields work. It would seem that MS had got confused with the zoom (comp) page display of keywords. It would also appear that they're taking the issues I raised seriously and are seeking a solution. I very much appreciate the fact that Alamy are listening, but I do feel that it would help to have better briefed MS staff without having to involve management. Ian D
  24. I'm posting this here because, rather surprisingly, another thread has been locked (http://discussion.alamy.com/index.php?/topic/4839-search-anomalies-the-problem-runs-deeper/) - despite the fact that it dealt with different issues to those covered under this topic. I've now received a reply from MS regarding the problem, which the does seem to have been misunderstood somewhat. However, the reason I'm posting here is because of the comments at the end of their reply to me: "On a further note the essential, main and comprehensive keywords are now combined and sorted in the alphabetical order after removing duplicate keywords. The order in which you enter isn’t important, all it matters is the relevancy of the keywords. At a customer’s point of view what matters is that the images returned in the search should be relevant to their keywords." It could be that someone at MS is confusing how keywords are displayed on the zoom page with how the search algorithm works and I'm seeking clarification on this. If Alamy have completely changed their policy on keywording, then some general statement should be forthcoming, as it has far-reaching implications. Ian D
  25. Could the fact that some photographers use , (commas) between their keywords / combination of keywords and others - like me - use just spaces to separate the keywords, play a role? Cheers, Philippe No, Philippe. I don't think so. You can tell when someone's used a comma, quotes or other separator because the words are grouped together in the visible keywords field (on the zoom page). Moreover, as I said, it's happening on similar shots of mine using an identical keywording procedure. Regarding your own images, I notice that you've got no chance of being seen if someone searches for Rocky Mountain National Park (way down the pack - couldn't find you at all) and for "Rocky Mountain National Park", you have no images showing! However, for National Park Rocky Mountain, you do start appearing on p2. Ian D Edit. Paulette replied whilst I was typing!
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