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I am experiencing Odd search engine behavior when searching for my BHZ image.


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Periodically I search for my Image with the BHZ keyword to get an idea of my ranking and if there has been any change.  I am usually logged in when I perform this search and lately my image has been showing up in the middle of page twelve.  Today without thinking about it I searched for my image without logging in to Alamy.  My image did not appear anywhere in the search.  After much head scratching I tried logging in and my photo magically appeared.  So I logged out.  My photo disappeared.  Logged in again and it reappeared.  A couple of more tries, same result.  So I was wondering if anyone else would like to try this and see if they get the same result?  I would also like to understand what this means about the search engine and if it is some sort of glitch.  Does this behavior affect customer searches?   Is this just peculiar to me alone or does it work that way for everyone?  My BHZ image is B8FPT4 just for reference.

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Thanks Michael, that makes it even more of a mystery.  Maybe its something on my computer.  I did make sure that all filters were cleared and I was looking in the relevant images category.

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If I'm signed in, I can search for B8FPT4 and find your image, and I get 3,054 results when I search for BHZ. When I'm not signed in, a search for B8FPT4 returns no results, and BHZ returns only 2,994 results so this evidently affects a few other images as well. Very strange.

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While I don't see major changes for my images (on page 4), there are subtle differences in position depending on whether I'm logged in (using Firefox) or not (in Safari). I think this may have to do with repositioning RF/RM images.

 

Near the bottom of page 4 there is a DHL van (not mine). When I'm not logged in this image is on the last (8th) position of the 4th row from the bottom. It is followed (1st image in 3rd row from bottom) by a RF image of yellow+blue brushes. When logged in, the DHL van appears at lower position (6th image in 3rd row from bottom). And the RF brushes have moved up to exactly 3 rows above the DHL van.

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Bear in mind there is supposedly a randomisation element to search results to give people on same rank a fair share of exposure. A week or two ago I had my images jump up half a page and then settle back again in a later search; that was not BHZ but my own test search on real keywords.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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My BHZ image has been sitting on page two for about 112 years. For a minor contributor like myself, my ranking generally seems okay when I do subject searches. I have no real belief in the BHZ trick, but I do check it when I'm reminded of it. 

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I experienced the same thing as CLSI, where my image B8FPT4 doesn’t appear in a search at all unless I am logged on, and that is using the Alamy ID as a search term.  Overnight I was thinking maybe it was a browser issue so this morning I used both Firefox and Chrome to experiment.  The results were identical to  CLSI’s.  2994 logged out and 3054 logged in with both Chrome and Firefox.  I decided to try some other keywords in searches that I knew would return larger numbers of images.  I tried “Golden Gate Bridge” and got 11,891 signed in and 11877 signed out,  only a 14 image difference.  I then searched “Los Angeles”,  that returned 1,388,621 logged in and 1,372,091 logged out a difference of 16,530 using both Chrome and Firefox.  That is a more significant number.  Does this affect what the customer sees depending on if they are logged in or out?  Do my images get excluded from some searches?  This will affect other contributors whose images are being excluded, but that must be somewhat random.   I am wondering if everyone has images that are invisible to the search engine depending on being logged in or out or if it only applies to a few contributors.  Is being logged in as contributor the same as being logged in as a customer?

 

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I think I've figured this out: Doing an advanced search on my own contributor name (Custom Life Science Images), I have 700 photos when I'm logged in, but only 679 when I'm not logged in. The missing photos when I'm not logged in include photos of a couple discussing birth control and photos of a selection of dildos, vibrators, strap-ons, cock sheaths, and sexual lubricants (I was doing photo research for a textbook on human sexuality--honest, I was). Johnnie5's BHZ photo is of a perfect turd. Notice a theme? I'm left wondering when someone at Alamy found the time to go through 50+ million photos and tag a tiny portion of them as inappropriate for the un-logged-in.

 

Personally, I'd rather all my photos were visible whether the customer is logged in or not, but if some of them are hidden, that should be made explicit someplace. I am a photo buyer myself, and I'm not always logged in when I search (though I'll make a point of logging in from now on).

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Oh, I have wrought much evil.  CLSI you have discovered the reason for the missing images.  Who knew that we were being censored.  Now I really want to see the missing 16,530 images under the Los Angeles search.  I can hardly wait to try a search for San Francisco and see how many are excluded.

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The search engine probably takes into account the setting of your browser's parental controls.

 

wim

 

Hmmm...I'm fairly certain that I have no parental controls set up either at home or at work (my parents live 140 miles away and have never, to my knowledge, used my computer), yet my un-logged-in searches seem to be censored in both places. If I did have parental controls on, it's hard to see how logging in would override them. Is anyone able to see all 1,388,621 results for the "Los Angeles" search when they are logged out?

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Hmmm...I'm fairly certain that I have no parental controls set up either at home or at work (my parents live 140 miles away and have never, to my knowledge, used my computer), yet my un-logged-in searches seem to be censored in both places. If I did have parental controls on, it's hard to see how logging in would override them. Is anyone able to see all 1,388,621 results for the "Los Angeles" search when they are logged out?

Los Angeles

Logged in:   1,291,344

Logged out: 1,275,294

 

"Los Angeles"

Logged in:   1,290,018

Logged out: 1,273,984

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Hmmm...I'm fairly certain that I have no parental controls set up either at home or at work (my parents live 140 miles away and have never, to my knowledge, used my computer), yet my un-logged-in searches seem to be censored in both places. If I did have parental controls on, it's hard to see how logging in would override them. Is anyone able to see all 1,388,621 results for the "Los Angeles" search when they are logged out?

Los Angeles

Logged in:   1,291,344

Logged out: 1,275,294

 

"Los Angeles"

Logged in:   1,290,018

Logged out: 1,273,984

 

 

Los Angeles

Logged in:   1,291,346

Logged out: 1,275,296

 

"Los Angeles"

Logged in:   1,290,018

Logged out: 1,273,984

 

Similar figures to yourself Losdemas

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For Los Angeles:

Logged in:   1,291,344

Logged out: 1,275,294

 

For Golden Gate Bridge:

Logged in:   11,861

Logged out: 11,847

 

The above figures are at variance with Johnnie5's (based in LA) findings but the same as Losdemas (based in UK, like me) for the Los Angeles search.

At least one agency I have submitted to in the past takes account of the searcher's location when returning results. Is this the case with Alamy too?

As to the other variation, I have no idea why being logged in or out should make a difference.

Perhaps Alamy can shed some light on these  small mysteries?

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What is a "Geographical search"?

 

To me it seems that many US images are made available for distribution in the US and UK (or English speaking countries), but not in continental Europe.

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Yes that is part of a geographical search, crazy!! if you want my opinion. 

What is a "Geographical search"?

 

To me it seems that many US images are made available for distribution in the US and UK (or English speaking countries), but not in continental Europe.

Edited by christian58
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I guess the LA  search could be skewed by Hollywood celebrity images and the like. The agencies that place these on Alamy might set country restrictions, and use different distributors for the continental market.

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So far, then, everyone seems to find that some images are hidden from customers who are not logged in. Can anyone else confirm or contradict that these are images of a sexual and/or scatological nature? Can anyone test whether this has anything to do with parental control settings? If there are parental controls on either of my computers, they are default settings that I have never adjusted, and they don't stop my browser from returning photos of, for example, glow-in-the-dark cock sheaths, though that's the subject of one of my own photos that is hidden from non-logged-in customers.

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We don't have the tools to determine which images are missing and trying to cull through 11,000 plus images would be a ridiculous proposition.  I think a word from Alamy would be in order at this point.  I can understand restrictions by country and even images that in some countries may be considered pornographic or lewd.  That may put Alamy in a bad legal situation and also caused the website to be blocked.  Does Alamy make it known to customers that there may be some objectionable content viewed when signed in?  The mystery deepens, the game is afoot!

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So far, then, everyone seems to find that some images are hidden from customers who are not logged in. Can anyone else confirm or contradict that these are images of a sexual and/or scatological nature? Can anyone test whether this has anything to do with parental control settings? If there are parental controls on either of my computers, they are default settings that I have never adjusted, and they don't stop my browser from returning photos of, for example, glow-in-the-dark cock sheaths, though that's the subject of one of my own photos that is hidden from non-logged-in customers.

 

If you search on "turd" you get 457 when logged in and 149 when not. But it is difficult to see the acceptability difference between many of the images that are in and out of the logged out view.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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