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Country filter in Alamy's Image search and where that info should be entered in manage images


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When I do a search for an image on Alamy it takes me to the first page of images.  On the left hand side of the page there are various filters that can be applied.  One of them is Location.  There are three choices, USA,UK, or Europe.  Where is that information derived from?  I have looked through all the forums and Alamy's instructions and cannot find out anything.  I had thought since I am in The USA it would be nice for a customer to further classify there search to eliminate irrelevent images.  I am confused because Alamy has told us that the Location field will no longer be searchable and it seems as though most contributors think it is now irrelevant.  I don't know either way, but I do think it is valuable to be able to classify my images by country.  As an example I did a search of "Aston Martin" which returns 4476 results with my images on the second page, when I click on the USA box only 175 images show up with none of mine.

Edited by Johnnie5
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A difficult area.  It's a shame that there isn't just a check-box system of some sort for location listing!

 

To answer your question: location is picked up from keywords.  However, this isn't foolproof...I have a couple of images of a ToyRUs store (in the UK).  I had the location clearly noted as the UK (in various forms) in the keywords, but they were being returned with a location of USA!  I e-mailed MS, who kindly replied promptly with the explanation that "Toy R Us" in the keywords was leading to the anomaly.

 

I still use the location field for those customers who may want to read that, rather than add another item (checking another box) to what may have been forgotten in their search: make life easier for the customer!

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I thought I had a brilliant idea last night when I thought of something like what you mention.  Then I thought I better check to see what is already in place.  Maybe a dropdown in the Atributes Tab in Manage Images with a list of countries.  I did not know about the filter that is already in place.  I do not put USA in my keywords as I am sure many others do not.  I would imagine customers don't use it much either if it severely limits their choices, it may just become a source of irritation for them.  When I do a search for "Los Angeles" I get 656,591 images returned.  When I check the USA box I get 295,062 images returned.  I guess that illustrates the magnitude of the problem.

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Completely off-topic I'm afraid.

 

But oo-er, the forum shows 88,869 views for this thread and it's only eight hours old? 

 

 

Richard. 

 

Bah, that is so two minutes ago . . . it's now 109,000 +

 

:)

 

dd

Edited by dustydingo
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I do hope UK is a subset of Europe ! Hadn't noticed these filters - it seems a pity as they have them that they don't allow us to set default locations (I would tick UK and Europe) and allow us to vary this in Manage Images.

 

John

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I do hope UK is a subset of Europe ! Hadn't noticed these filters - it seems a pity as they have them that they don't allow us to set default locations (I would tick UK and Europe) and allow us to vary this in Manage Images.

 

John

 

I used to add 'Europe' to all my images of the UK, but as a result of quite a few false search returns I removed that from all my UK images!

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Today I had a zoom on an image of the Golden Gate Bridge.  I have been trying for months to get my images to show up in the first few pages of that search.  When I started my quest there would be over 70,000 images returned for that search and my first image would show up on page 18 with 120 per page.  Today when I checked only roughly 10,000 images were returned and the order of images seemed to have change my first image appeared on page 2, but had been appearing on page 3.  Has Alamy made changes to the Search Engine?  What I found is that if I put "Golden Gate Bridge" only in the essential keywords that it moved my image up dramatically.  I learned that from one of the posts in this forum.  So thanks for that.  Yesterday when I learned of the Country filter I took one of my Aston Martin photos and added "USA" in the location field, it now shows up in a search with the USA filter engaged, so at least I now know where to put that information.  I just hope it is applied consistently though.  Maybe someone at Alamy could fill us in on the correct procedure.

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I decided to try some of the other filters and see how they work.  I kept it simple and used "girl" as the search term.  I ticked the box for teenager under "age" which brought up a different set of images and then ticked "Latin American and Hispanic".  That of course brought up a completely different set.  I know I have images of a Hispanic teenage girl so I was looking for them, but they did not appear.  I changed my search to "Latina Girl" without the ethnicity box checked but the teenager filter engaged.  My images show up on the first page.  I then engaged "Latin American HIspanic" filter and my images were no where to be found.  The count was 19537 unfiltered and 17586 with the filter.  I haven't used the terms Hispanic or Latin American in my keywords as those terms aren't used as much here in the USA as they used to be.  The term Latino or Latina seems to be replacing those usages and is even used here in government documents, per Wikipedia.  So because I don't use the terms "Latin American and Hispanic" the filter excludes my photos from the search.  I guess I have more keywording to do.  I would imagine other people do too.

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So Alamy’s search engine is an unforgiving beast.  Unlike Google if you don’t have exactly the keywords that are searched for, your search subject will not be found.  In actuality it’s a bit like a teenage girl going to a High School dance.  You can’t just slap on any old dress and shoes and have sloppy makeup and hair and expect to be asked to dance.  We are all used to Google that will accept any sort of sloppiness and still will make you think you are the prettiest girl in the room.  I suppose Google is like the boy with bad eyesight.  The only way to discover this is to try some searches of your own images which is very much like looking in a mirror.  You will find out just how ugly or pretty you are compared to your competition. 

After my images pass QC I of course start adding keywords.  This is so mind numbingly boring I immediately go brain dead.  Even a fly buzzing past is more interesting than key wording and will distract me for minutes.  So I do a really terrible job, but I just want to get those images up for sale.  Damn the torpedo’s full speed ahead.  Once my images go live I go back and check my keywords.  Of course being so smart I find that they are perfect and I don’t have to change a thing.  That was a lie.  I usually find that they are woefully inadequate and I missed some glaringly obvious keywords that a second grader would have thought of.   I find that I left out a lot and more importantly when I use the search engine it gives me hints as to what keywords I should be using.  When you type in a keyword a dropdown box appears with other common search terms.  Those can be your keywords as long as they apply to your photo.   The most fun is when you discover the quirks in the Alamy search engine.  Here are some examples from my own experience in the last few days. 

For a  photo of an International House of Pancakes restaurant I used the full name and the term “IHOP”.  To check my keywords I searched for “ IHOP restaurant”.  Guess what?  My photos didn’t show up.  I had put those keywords in the essential keyword box.  I tried IHOP alone and suddenly there were my photos.  Apparently the search engine is extremely picky.  If I type in “IHOP restaurant” I get 53 images returned.  If I type in “IHOP” I get 110 images returned.  As I went on I got curious about other images.  Trader Joes is a small market chain here in the U.S. .  I had a couple of images of their store.   I searched for “Trader Joes” and got 298 images, I then searched “Trader Joe” and got 42 images.  Here’s another good one.  Marie Callender’s is a Restaurant chain here.  A search for that brings 42 images.  If you misspell the last name it’s not good.  The results  for Callender (no s) 0 images, Calendars 0 images, Calendar 9 images,  none being of the restaurant,  Callendar 0 images.  Those would be common misspellings but the search engine doesn’t know that.  Try the search in Google and you will get the restaurant every time.  When you keyword, adding common misspellings and as many variations as you can think of may help someone see your photo first.  

It is a really delicate situation with the search engine because if you build in too much fuzziness you will get search returns that you don’t want, which at Alamy can result in frustrated customers getting too many useless images returned.  Google can be frustrating sometimes because it is too fuzzy.  While writing this I wanted to search for Marie Callender’s in Britain not knowing if they were international or not.  I tried Marie Callender’s U.K., then Britain, then United Kingdom.  I got the same results for each search.  I got local address information and reviews from Yelp.  It might be nice if Alamy’s search engine had a “did you mean” function though.  I suppose that is what the drop down box with search suggestions is for and that is a source of keywords for your images.  I see a lot of people here struggling with Alamy and some that want to quit.  I would hate to see that.  I think 2014 is going to be a better year and hope you get asked to dance more.

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Good research Johnnie5.

 

I often wondered when looking at 'My Images' stats in the morning why some search terms only return maybe 2 results when I know I have more images with the same keywords in the same order in the same keyword box.

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I do not put USA in my keywords as I am sure many others do not.  I would imagine customers don't use it much either if it severely limits their choices, it may just become a source of irritation for them.  When I do a search for "Los Angeles" I get 656,591 images returned.  When I check the USA box I get 295,062 images returned.  I guess that illustrates the magnitude of the problem.

 

However, if you have the only photo of a unicorn in the USA and someone searches for "unicorn usa" your photo will not be found.

 

 

It might be nice if Alamy’s search engine had a “did you mean” function though.

 

Personally I would much prefer it if Alamy spent their time implementing some of the things they promised years ago, such as keyword phrases in quotes, which would actually be useful.

 

Alan

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Slightly tangential, but I have photos of Japanese drummers, i.e Caucasian people perforuming Japanese drumming. They wrongly show up as Japanese ethnicity because of Japanese in the keywords (only in the non-recognised phrases 'Japanese drummers' and 'Japanese drumming', not on its own).

I want to retain Japanese drumming/drummers in the keywords as well as the particular style, as I feel 'Japanese drumming' is a generic which could be searched on (well, Measures records 2 searches for Japanese drum in the past year, but around half of my sales don't show as having been zoomed - I have no idea if 50% in measures would be typical).

Edited by Cryptoprocta
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The filter system doesn't seem to work well and would severely limit your choices in some cases.  I would hope that customers know that and decide not to use them.  I searched for "Japanese Drummers" with and without the filter engaged I got 378 no filter and 225 with Japanese selected as ethnicity.  In your case, thinking like a customer, because of the small number of images involved I would look at all the images not just the first page.  With larger search returns of course it is not possible.  I also searched for Taiko drumming and got 317 images most of them the same as Japanese drumming search term.  As far as Zooms go I believe  a customer has to be signed in to record their activity.  Your post really is on topic as we try to learn just exactly how the search engine works its magic :lol:  Obviously there are more than a few people interested in this.

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Quick - 2.2 million hits on this topic - time to put links to our work to take advantage of the popularity of this thread!

 

Sheila Smart

(exhibited in three countries, world renowned photographer, willing to work for a reasonable fee, ex-Getty (that should interest them!!) - all offers considered!

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Good research Johnnie5.

 

I often wondered when looking at 'My Images' stats in the morning why some search terms only return maybe 2 results when I know I have more images with the same keywords in the same order in the same keyword box.

 

Replying to my own question:

 

I think this may be because the two images show up on the search page but the others are under them as (more) which hasn't been clicked. They would show up if the searcher clicks on the (more) link.

 

Unlike Sheila I've never exhibited, I'm largely unknown (even in my own house), and have never been a Getty shooter. I am, however, also available at reasonable fees.  :)

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Quick - 2.2 million hits on this topic - time to put links to our work to take advantage of the popularity of this thread!

 

Sheila Smart

(exhibited in three countries, world renowned photographer, willing to work for a reasonable fee, ex-Getty (that should interest them!!) - all offers considered!

 

Rob Cook, made an exhibition of myself in at least three countries, renowned photographer in the banger racing world, not willing to work for reasonable fees (only extortionate ones), ex government secret service agent (well photographer), open to commissions (highly paid banger racing ones), will work for food!

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Good research Johnnie5.

 

I often wondered when looking at 'My Images' stats in the morning why some search terms only return maybe 2 results when I know I have more images with the same keywords in the same order in the same keyword box.

 

 

As far as I understand it, search results only appear when they have been displayed, so your other images might have been on page 2, but if the potential customer didn't go beyond page 1, then they don't count.

Edited by York Photographer
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I find this weird as standard IPTC includes location fields and these are picked up in the Alamy Location tab in manage images.... Why would the location option in the search need to look elsewhere than this field?

 

(if it is because this field is not always accurate - nor are the keywords ;-) )

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