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Do you guys know if there is some reason Alamy doesn't use categories?


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I was searching through Alamy checking where my pictures fall, and was always annoyed at all the pictures that had nothing to do with my search.

 

I was also thinking it would avoid pictures showing up in searches that were irrelevant for that particular search, but would be relevant in a search if under a specific category.

 

For example:

 

I search "white lion". Not only do I get pics of lions, but pubs names white lion, statues of white lions.

 

So these photographers are getting views on a search that is really not relevant to what I was searching for, yet the term is still very relevant to their subject. So this would affect their click through rate, right?

 

But if I could search under animals or nature, then none of the irrelevant photos would show. I know I could add one of those terms in my search, but then I would be eliminating photos that didn't have animal or nature in their keywords. Therefore cutting back on my choices.

 

I know every other stock agency appears to have their photos sorted by category. Why doesn't Alamy? Anyone know? Or should I simply go to the source.

 

Jill

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I guess Alamy (and their customers) rely on us adding "animal", "nature" etc. to our comprehensive keywords, so the searcher can narrow their search.

 

You may get some false hits which will degrade your click through, but only if your image appears on the first page or so, which is less likely the customer has entered too broad search term.

 

e.g. "White lion" gives 63 pages of 120 images.

 

Also, if (for example) the photo is of a "White Lion pub", then putting "Pub" in essential keywords (with other words like "Village, Old, etc), and putting "White Lion Pub" down in comprehensive keywords, or just in the caption (depending on how relevant/important the actual pub name is), will reduce false hits.

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I don't know why Alamy doesn't use categories, but I think that having at least some broad ones might be a good idea at this point. Customers aren't always very specific with their search terms, unfortunately.

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From what I see in Alamy Measures, customers rarely use more than 3 or 4 search terms. (and quite often just 2 words)  I would think making it easier for the customer to find exactly what they are looking for would make good business sense. As photo libraries get larger, refining the search just seems intelligent to me. 

 

Jill

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I can see your point, but one of the problems of having 45.13million images is that changes like this would be hard to implement now. I don't fancy going through my 18,000 pics giving them all categories, and I'm pretty sure Mr Greenberg would have something to say. I agree it's a good idea, but I think that particular horse may have bolted.

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I can see your point, but one of the problems of having 45.13million images is that changes like this would be hard to implement now. I don't fancy going through my 18,000 pics giving them all categories, and I'm pretty sure Mr Greenberg would have something to say. I agree it's a good idea, but I think that particular horse may have bolted.

Same thing crossed my mind. Now that there are so many images in the Alamy collection, making any kind of organizational change to the the website must be a nightmare.

Edited by John Mitchell
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I think if Alamy were to introduce "categories" then it would be fairly simple for them to do. It would be the contributors problem to correctly specify which category their images should be placed under.

 

If it was introduced I would not like to have to go through all my (read very few) images categorising each one. :blink:

 

Allan

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It might now be as hard as we think.

 

If Alamy gave all contributors 6 months before implementing the categories, and then in Manage Images, they could make it quite easy really.

 

Using my example of white lion, if I am smart enough to have the words animal and nature in my search terms, I can search my library for all images for the words animal and nature.

 

Quickly scan the images to make sure nothing in there doesn't belong, click on "select all" and then move to category "animal".

 

I don't see why Alamy couldn't set it up this way.

 

If you had 6 months to go through them, you could do a quick search on each category after you have done your original category setup.

 

By the end of 6 months, I would think most contributors could have them all categorized in their proper place.

 

Jill

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Personally, I wouldn't find it all that difficult or time-consuming to go through my images using "Manage Images" and tag them with category names. Many already are categorized. But contributors with large collections (and even some with small collections) might understandably balk at the idea. However, I do think that everyone would have to make the effort or Alamy could end up with a very mixed up collection.

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Given the range of material on Alamy, that would be a hell of a lot of categories. Cant see it as workable personally. I have been with Agencies that operate the category system and spent a lot of time scratching my head, and trying to work out which category to put pictures into.

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Given the range of material on Alamy, that would be a hell of a lot of categories. Cant see it as workable personally. I have been with Agencies that operate the category system and spent a lot of time scratching my head, and trying to work out which category to put pictures into.

 

Yes, and it would be more unnecessary work. Life is too short.....

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I am thinking what would be better for Alamy to implement would be a suggestion box that would appear in the margin of the search page that would have additional keywords that a customer may want to use to further refine their search.  It would seem that Alamy could harvest the words from the images that have that certain combination of keywords and present the customer with a list maybe based on frequency of appearance that they could use to further refine their search.  It would then be the customer decision on which words were most relevant.  They would be assured of getting some images returned in their search.  It would allow them to try different combinations of keywords.  Because as contributors we all provide our own keywords there is no standardization and I know this builds frustration for the customer.  One problem with the Alamy search engine is that if you enter a keyword that has not been used in combination with your starting keywords you will get no images returned.  If you enter "white lion johnson" you get no images returned.  With Alamy you have to use the exact keywords that the contributor provided with the image to have an image show up in a search.  It would certainly help the customer get to the photo they are looking for much quicker and it would instruct the customer on how to use the search engine successfully.  I'm not a programmer but how hard could it be?  I have been playing with Getty's search engine and it is a little more forgiving if you add keywords that aren't relevant.

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I'm sorry but I for one am not convinced even slightly that these suggestions are addressing either a problem or a serious need. If my sales are in need of improvement, it's certainly not  because of a lack of search categories or search-term suggestion boxes.

 

dd

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I'm sorry but I for one am not convinced even slightly that these suggestions are addressing either a problem or a serious need. If my sales are in need of improvement, it's certainly not  because of a lack of search categories or search-term suggestion boxes.

 

dd

 

I am looking at this from the viewpoint of the Alamy customer. It is frustrating to do a search term and see so many non relevant results showing up on the pages. If, as a customer, I could click on a category (and hopefully subcategories)  and do my search there, it would cut down the number of pages I would have to scan through.  This is especially important for high volume areas of the catalog. Again, with the example of "white lion" it would eliminate (hopefully) the pics of pubs, statues, kids in costume, kids with their faces painted like lions, etc as these photos would not be in the animal category, or nature, or wildlife, whatever named.  To me, any company with a catalog of products this big that does not segregate its products into categories to make life easier for the customer is missing one of the big boats.

 

Keeping the searches simple and clean for the customer will result in customers not getting frustrated and possible leaving the site after going through 10 or 12 pages of images where 4 or 5 of them didn't even need to be there. First rule to remember, customers are lazy and want their experience to be as simple as possible. If they are only going to put in 3 or 4 keywords, Alamy, as a company would want their customer to see as many pertinent images as possible as that would increase the possibility of a sale. Better for Alamy, better for photographers.

 

If I went to buy a product say from Walmart, and got pages and pages of stuff I wasn't interested in, I would leave their site and go shop somewhere else. I want to find what I am looking for quickly.

 

I don't think it would be a major problem for most photographer's, and would certainly streamline the search results for the customer, who is the one we want to please.

 

Yes, some photos are tougher to categorize than others, but I think most photos would have 2 or 3 categories they would slide into just fine.  And if you can't think of one, that's what Miscellaneous is for. The customer doesn't have to use the category search, but I think the option would be beneficial for all.

 

Jill

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I'm sorry but I for one am not convinced even slightly that these suggestions are addressing either a problem or a serious need. If my sales are in need of improvement, it's certainly not  because of a lack of search categories or search-term suggestion boxes.

 

dd

 

I am looking at this from the viewpoint of the Alamy customer. It is frustrating to do a search term and see so many non relevant results showing up on the pages. If, as a customer, I could click on a category (and hopefully subcategories)  and do my search there, it would cut down the number of pages I would have to scan through.  This is especially important for high volume areas of the catalog. Again, with the example of "white lion" it would eliminate (hopefully) the pics of pubs, statues, kids in costume, kids with their faces painted like lions, etc as these photos would not be in the animal category, or nature, or wildlife, whatever named.  To me, any company with a catalog of products this big that does not segregate its products into categories to make life easier for the customer is missing one of the big boats.

 

Keeping the searches simple and clean for the customer will result in customers not getting frustrated and possible leaving the site after going through 10 or 12 pages of images where 4 or 5 of them didn't even need to be there. First rule to remember, customers are lazy and want their experience to be as simple as possible. If they are only going to put in 3 or 4 keywords, Alamy, as a company would want their customer to see as many pertinent images as possible as that would increase the possibility of a sale. Better for Alamy, better for photographers.

 

If I went to buy a product say from Walmart, and got pages and pages of stuff I wasn't interested in, I would leave their site and go shop somewhere else. I want to find what I am looking for quickly.

 

I don't think it would be a major problem for most photographer's, and would certainly streamline the search results for the customer, who is the one we want to please.

 

Yes, some photos are tougher to categorize than others, but I think most photos would have 2 or 3 categories they would slide into just fine.  And if you can't think of one, that's what Miscellaneous is for. The customer doesn't have to use the category search, but I think the option would be beneficial for all.

 

Jill

 

I don't have anything against categories, but I think that Alamy would have to populate the categories with images themselves at this point, which ain't gonna happen. OTOH, the onus is currently on the customers to continually refine searches, which may not necessarily be a bad thing since it forces them to get more involved in collection. It's sort of six of one, half dozen of the other...

Edited by John Mitchell
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It might now be as hard as we think.

 

If Alamy gave all contributors 6 months before implementing the categories, and then in Manage Images, they could make it quite easy really.

 

Using my example of white lion, if I am smart enough to have the words animal and nature in my search terms, I can search my library for all images for the words animal and nature.

 

Quickly scan the images to make sure nothing in there doesn't belong, click on "select all" and then move to category "animal".

 

I don't see why Alamy couldn't set it up this way.

 

If you had 6 months to go through them, you could do a quick search on each category after you have done your original category setup.

 

By the end of 6 months, I would think most contributors could have them all categorized in their proper place.

 

Jill

 

Agencies and many contribs are not going to implement this, it didn't happen with many of the extra annotation features. History tells us that anything which requires what you are asking simply isn't going to occur.

 

There is already a system for refining searches with spurious results, the word NOT which is used by searchers fairly often. If this was the issue which some think it is, Alamy would have done something about it. Their key concern has generally been to have a fast search result for the vast collection they have.

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Then again it would be more costly for Alamy to police the categories thus reducing contributors cut.

 

Allan

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