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Pearl

Search engine still broken

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I sense a disturbance in the Force, as if millions of photos have suddenly disappeared.

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Also, something that came up in the "Search catagories: New, Creative, Relevent ?" thread also belongs in this one:

 

 

When you do a search for search terms that have some "Creative" images, and you select "Creative", the Creative images will display first, but there is no longer any break for the end of Creative/beginning of Relevant. So when you select Creative, it always appears that all the images are in that category.

 

I suspect this Creative/Relevant break function got lost in the switch to the new thumbnails.

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Some search information is taken from the caption field (I think???) The way the image is captioned could affect a search. Can somebody tell me if the caption info is included in searching?

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Low significance. Below comps.

I repeat important words in the esskeys- there are plenty of search returns from words in the caption but esskeys shout louder.

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Some search information is taken from the caption field (I think???) The way the image is captioned could affect a search. Can somebody tell me if the caption info is included in searching?

After a bit of rooting around I found this PDF page on the Alamy website which covers the Caption and keywords importance.  It used to be easier to find, and while using Manage Images there was the help available by clicking on the hyperlinked titles.  All I see now where the help used to be is I'm not sure what to call it. HTML?  Here are the links:  PDF  and also the blog http://www.alamy.com/blog/alamykeywording  I found it helpful just because I thought that location field had some search significance, but Alamy is saying to put that info in keywords if it is important .  Are other people not seeing the help in manage images?  That may require another email to Member Services.  This is what I am seeing where help used to be http://1drv.ms/1kw42it 

Edited by Johnnie5

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Some search information is taken from the caption field (I think???) The way the image is captioned could affect a search. Can somebody tell me if the caption info is included in searching?

.  This is what I am seeing where help used to be http://1drv.ms/1kw42it 

 

It's been doing that gibberish  for a while and I thought it was just me. Perhaps you could send the email to MS since you already have the screenshot. I'm sure many besides me will thank you for it.

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Hi everyone

 

We would just like to clear up a few points about the search engine. It is no secret that we have been trying new ways to improve the search results over recent months. One of these technologies has been to try and deal with inappropriate images appearing high up in the search results e.g. "cat scan" or "cat island" appearing high up in a "cat" search, "zebra lionfish" appearing high up in a "zebra" search. For instance, before we implemented any changes, the first four images for a zebra search were not of zebras at all - a result set we are sure that you will agree is not helpful. We have implemented a new technology to try and deal with such instances. For the most part it is working well and search results have improved considerably.

 

However, as has been discussed here, there have been a small number of anomalies with the system which have led to some images not appearing for search results which they should have appeared for. We are in the process of fixing these anomalies and hope to have a change to the system implemented in a matter of days. We would like to thank those contributors who have emailed us abut a specific problem they have identified. Where possible, we have tried to implement a specific fix for that problem.

 

As regards keywording strategy, we would advise contributors to keyword in the way they always have.

 

You do not have to re-keyword your images.

 

Thanks for your patience.

 

Alamy

 

So basically, then, all these search result problems are caused by Alamy's reluctance to use the quotation marks, etc. that some of us started to use several years ago (and then abandoned) as in "zebra crossing" and "zebra fish", etc. in order to avoid the spurious search results mentioned above.

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Hi everyone

We would just like to clear up a few points about the search engine. It is no secret that we have been trying new ways to improve the search results over recent months. One of these technologies has been to try and deal with inappropriate images appearing high up in the search results e.g. "cat scan" or "cat island" appearing high up in a "cat" search, "zebra lionfish" appearing high up in a "zebra" search. For instance, before we implemented any changes, the first four images for a zebra search were not of zebras at all - a result set we are sure that you will agree is not helpful. We have implemented a new technology to try and deal with such instances. For the most part it is working well and search results have improved considerably.

However, as has been discussed here, there have been a small number of anomalies with the system which have led to some images not appearing for search results which they should have appeared for. We are in the process of fixing these anomalies and hope to have a change to the system implemented in a matter of days. We would like to thank those contributors who have emailed us abut a specific problem they have identified. Where possible, we have tried to implement a specific fix for that problem.

As regards keywording strategy, we would advise contributors to keyword in the way they always have.

 

You do not have to re-keyword your images.

 

Thanks for your patience.

 

Alamy

 

So basically, then, all these search result problems are caused by Alamy's reluctance to use the quotation marks, etc. that some of us started to use several years ago (and then abandoned) as in "zebra crossing" and "zebra fish", etc. in order to avoid the spurious search results mentioned above.

No need for quotation marks! The picture searchers need some common sense. Is it so hard for them to type zebra crossing street if they want to see pictures of zebra crossings and don't want to wade through 10,000 pictures of zebras crossing the Mara river in Kenya?

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

You seem to have this the wrong way round, Philippe.  The point that Alamy were making was that searches for "zebra" brought up other "non-zebra" images, such as zebra crossings, zebra fish, etc. presumably.  There's no way the researchers can easily eliminate these.  But if they are labelled "zebra fish", etc. and the quotes are working, those images will not show up in the results.

 

Cheers

 

Chris

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Assuming that all the photos of zebras also contain the keyword "animal", of course.  And we're only looking at one example - there are many others that throw up misleading results.

 

Chris

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So if they want zebras why can't they just search zebra NOT street?

 

Pearl

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And yet, if you search for "zebra" you get 35,000 results whereas a search for "zebra animal" (without the quotes) yields only 18,000 results and this is not just because the zebra crossings and zebra fish have been omitted but because "animal" was not added to the keywords.  So perhaps keyworders need a lesson, too!

 

 

Chris

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I Emailed Member Services about both problems I was experiencing.  The first was my images not showing up when using keywords in a random order.  I don't know if the problem was particular to me or was just the tip of the iceberg kind of thing.  The other was the help files in manage images not appearing in a readable format.  They say they are working on both problems.  That's all I know for now.

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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

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Ian, I suspect MS have just misunderstood your query.  They often get the wrong end of the stick in my experience.  Lets hope that is the case anyway.

 

Pearl

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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." Ian D

Weird one.

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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." Ian D

Weird one.

 

 

So will Alamy now use the standard IPTC keyword format and save us a lot of work in manage images? Please!

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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

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They still haven't fixed the Las Vegas search (search done in the USA)

 

Las vegas hotel Paris  - 7107 photos

hotel paris las vegas  - 1215 photos

 

I emailed member service, and just got one email response saying that they were looking into it .. The second search is missing almost 6000 photos .. pretty bad ..

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I know Alamy closed the last thread on this, but it's still happening. I noticed yesterday that there was a search for

 

stone wall lake district [RM] [WOP]

 

which only yielded only 150 results (relevant category), and missed most of my images of Lake District walls which should have appeared.

 

So I tried a different search for 

 

"stone wall" lake district [RM] [WOP]

 

and it yields 2,101 results (relevant category).

 

Where's the logic in that?

 

Come on Alamy! You say you are enhancing the search engine, but from where I'm sitting, it now looks very broken!

 

It's very, very annoying and disheartening, when I've taken ages to keyword in line with your procedures, to find my images aren't even appearing...

Edited by M.Chapman
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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

Edited by Alamy
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Report it to both MS and Alan Capel.

How many more examples do they need to realize their search engine sucks?  :rolleyes:

 

Anyway, I gladly let Alamy take 50% commission, but in return I expect clients to see my images when they search on keywords I added. 

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

I just sent an email to James West, Alan Capel and Member Services on this matter.

 

I'll probably hold off doing more keywording until this is sorted and/or the (new?) search engine rules have been clarified.

Edited by M.Chapman
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I just don't get it.  Why are Alamy not panicking about this.  It's their loss too.  It's all very well promoting yourself as having 60 million images but when only a fraction are able to be seen.......words fail me!!!

 

Pearl

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Hi everyone - we've merged the threads to keep everything in one place.

 

We are aware of the problem and we are working on it. We want our search engine to help our customers and by making some improvements on the one hand we've unfortunately taken a step backwards with some other functionality.

 

The majority of searches are working fine.

 

The important thing is that we won't be asking contributors to change the way they keyword, our search engine needs to work with all the data contributors supply.

 

Thanks

Alamy

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...............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."...........

 

Ian D

 

Regards Alamys reply to Ian D ("The order in which you enter isn’t important, all it matters is the relevancy of the keywords")I have recently noticed some strange (to me) results regards positioning of my photos returned using only search words included in my 'essential keywords'. I have a few landscape images taken in USA, and all of these use the same format for essential keywords, ie, usa landscape, followed by area name, then State, so an actual example would be: usa landscape grand teton national park wyoming.

 

When I search using just the first two words in my essential keywords (usa landscape) filtered for photographs, ie, not all images, 305,313 results are returned and I have 2 images displayed on page 1 of 3,393 pages.

 

When I search using third and fourth words in my essential keywords (Horsehoe Bend, again filtered for photographs), 1,261 results are returned and my first image appears on page 5 of 15 pages.

 

Using search words three to six in my essential keywords (Grand Teton National Park), 9,743 results are returned and my first image appears on page 19 of 109 pages.

 

If, according to Alamy, order of keywords is not important, it seems strange that the positioning of my images in returned search results are so variable using examples above. If I get page 1 of 3,393 pages for example 1, should I not get higher positioned results for examples 2 and 3 above??? This is not about whether my images are included or excluded in search results as mentioned in previous posts above, but trying to comprehend the positioning variability of my images when they are returned in searchs.

 

Although I have no idea what my Alamy Rank figure is, its unlikely to be high given the small number of sales I make (just 10 reported this year), so while its nice hitting page 1 in my first example, personally I think this considerably overstates my rank, and the results obtained are some sort of freakish behaviour by the Alamy search engine (although I would love to be proved wrong!!). My annualised CTR tends to be slightly above average, so examples 2 and 3 above are more likely to be representative of where my images would be positioned in a search.

 

Given these examples of wide variations in image search position results, essential keyword order does seem to make a difference in search results......and therefore.....Alamy are wrong?????

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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.

 

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

Edited by IDP

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