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Alamy – what has happened to the Search Engine ??

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On 5th Dec a very significant change happened to the order in which images were searched for – at the time it was referred to as a Re-Rank, but it wasn’t – it was a new Search Engine algorithm.

 

I, and many other contributors have noticed problems with this, and since it is a Search engine problem, rather than a re-rank I have started a new thread.

 

I returned from a trip to South Africa, and had keyworded a few images prior to the change, but most have been done after it, some with the old, but many with the new Image Manager.

 

I have noticed the following:

 

1.       Images keyworded with the old IM, before the 5/12/16 change appear much higher up in searches than those keyworded with the new IM

2.       Images keyworded most recently with the new IM also appear at the bottom of a search of my own images for a particular search term (in the old IM, those keyworded more recently generally appeared more highly placed.)

3.       Making words/phrases “supertags” seems to make little/no difference to the placement of images in the search

 

For example: In a search for  Cape Town, of which I now have 181 images on sale, my 3 highest placed images are all on p2 of the search, and are all images taken in Cape Town Airport. An example is H9K6NR

 

These were  keyworded under the old MI, and the keywords were changed by me in the new MI when it came out. None of them have “Cape Town” as a supertag, they have “Cape Town Airport” and “Cape Town international Airport” as supertags amongst others, yet they still appear much higher than all my other images which have “Cape Town” as a supertag.

 

On the first 20 pages of the “cape town” search (100 images/page) I have 26 images of the 181 images I have in total.

 

This image I have keyworded most recently is not one of them – in a search of my own images it appears 116/181

 

dramatic-colourful-sunset-over-table-mou

 

Yet it has supertags of “cape town”, “Cape Town Waterfront”, “Cape Town South Africa” and “Cape Town sunset” amongst its 10 supertags. Even in a search of “Cape town sunset” it appears on p18 of 35 pages.

 

On the other hand, image B0GCTR appears on p1 of a “Cape town” search. I don’t know whether “cape town” appears as a supertag…. Perhaps the contributor if he reads this could let us know, but the pseudonym only has 186 images. I used to have a good rank, whichever way you looked at it – p1 of BHZ, usually well placed in searches, and selling 70+ images per month regularly.

 

It seems that with the new search engine mine and many other contributors rank has fallen severely – but why is this? 

 

I contacted Contributor Services about this on 6th Dec and they replied:

 

“Regarding your perceived re-rank, the updates to the search engine have made the results more optimised to give customers better results for their searches”

 

Now if Alamy felt they had been doing badly, and needed a change to boost their business I could understand this change, but in September, 2 months before the new search engine they announced their best month ever.

 

So what are the points I am trying to make?

 

1.       this is NOT about the new IM, it is about the change to the search engine which occurred on 5/12/16

 

2.       It is putting images keyworded under the new IM below those keyworded under the old IM in searches

 

3.       Within the new IM it appears to be generally putting more recently keyworded images below previously keyworded images (cant be a good thing for the customer)

 

4.       Images with words and phrases which have been made “supertags” are not being consistently ranked above images which have the same words as ordinary “tags” even within ones own pseudonym.

 

5.       I don’t think this search engine is working properly. I would be interested to hear the thoughts of other contributors on this, but more importantly, could Alamy please say something about this? It would be nice to know that these problems are being recognised and worked on. I for one am not going to do any further keywording till something changes.

 

Kumar (the Doc one)

Edited by Doc
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I too find the new search algorithms a problem for a number of reasons (including that my views, zooms and sales have tanked).

Doing my best to delete duplicates, adding relevant supertag phrases, etc.  almost always results in setting the image further back in search results (sometimes I need to wait more than a day for things to update).

It's not clear Alamy staff are concerned about these search performance issues.  I too am holding off on more work in hopes that further adjustments are made.

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I absolutely agree with everything said so far.  This new search algorithm is awful and I have more or less given up uploading for the time being until I see some improvements.  Any attempts at re-keywording legacy images has sent them further back so I have given up on that too.

 

Pearl

Edited by Pearl
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Well Said Kumar and Pearl I am so confused about kewording now I am avoiding any re kewording of legacy images and concerned to say the very least about uploading new work for a while to let things sort out.

 

Jon

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Further checking shows that for several different searches, the images I keyworded under the old MI are still appearing on pp 1-3 as I was used to seeing, but then there is a huge gap of many many pages before I start seeing my images that I have keyworded after the search changed, and especially when using the new system. 

 

This is a shame as I used to keyword what I felt were my best images last as generally with the old MI and search algorithm they showed up soonest in the searches ( as indeed you would hope newer keyworded images would). Alamy of course would say that "you should only upload your best images", but images sell for many reasons, eg transport in different places, airports, certain buildings, hotels, but you wouldnt want them appearing first in general searches! (eg. as above, I would of course want my images of Cape Town airport to show up first in searches for Cape Town airport, but NOT in searches for Cape Town, or Cape Town South Africa! to the detriment of my more general stock images)

 

Kumar

Edited by Doc
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Agreed, and I'm still working on the old system!  It seems to be almost impossible to keyword tightly and accurately now.  

 

For example I have an image keyworded "Asda lgbt" with no other mention of 'lgbt' as it is only relevant with regards to Asda.  Today I saw that it had appeared in a search for 'lgbt' which it would be highly unlikely to be ever used for.  This new system must be producing an awful lot of unwanted images in searches for customers and a lot of unwanted views for contributors.

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 I have an image keyworded "Asda lgbt" with no other mention of 'lgbt' as it is only relevant with regards to Asda.  Today I saw that it had appeared in a search for 'lgbt' which it would be highly unlikely to be ever used for.

  Why wouldnt an image of ASDA LGBT marchers be of interest to a wider market? LGBT in Manchester? LGBT in the retail sector? LGBT in trade unions , to suggest just three

 

km

Edited by RedSnapper

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 I have an image keyworded "Asda lgbt" with no other mention of 'lgbt' as it is only relevant with regards to Asda.  Today I saw that it had appeared in a search for 'lgbt' which it would be highly unlikely to be ever used for.

  Why wouldnt an image of ASDA LGBT marchers be of interest to a wider market? LGBT in Manchester? LGBT in the retail sector? LGBT in trade unions , to suggest just three

 

km

 

I understand what you're saying - you never know - but what I was trying to illustrate is that there now seems to be no way to 'attach' one word to another, without risking it turning up by itself in an irrelevant search, which seems to be a backward step to me.  

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there never was a way....the individual component words in phrases, even when enclosed by "quotation marks" , have always been searchable

 

 

km

 

 

sorry to divert this thread, temporarily...

 

on all other points I'm in agreement with Kumar

Edited by RedSnapper

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there never was a way....the individual component words in phrases, even when enclosed by "quotation marks" , have always been searchable

 

 

km

 

 

sorry to divert this thread, temporarily...

 

on all other points I'm in agreement with Kumar

well that I didn't realise - my misunderstanding - thanks 

kay

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Kumar,

 

Alamy keep saying that they take more notice of emails to CR than posts in this forum. Have you sent your OP to them as an email?  If you haven't and you decide to, I would be  happy for you to indicate to them that it also represent my views too (and a lot of others, I reckon).

 

Joseph

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Agreed, and I'm still working on the old system!  It seems to be almost impossible to keyword tightly and accurately now.  

 

For example I have an image keyworded "Asda lgbt" with no other mention of 'lgbt' as it is only relevant with regards to Asda.  Today I saw that it had appeared in a search for 'lgbt' which it would be highly unlikely to be ever used for.  This new system must be producing an awful lot of unwanted images in searches for customers and a lot of unwanted views for contributors.

 

it probably is included as when I looked at it, although all the tags are multiple words, the term lgbt appears 3 times.  That may have brought it up the search as it is included in three different tags.  Just how many views did the search have?

 

Jill

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Agreed, and I'm still working on the old system!  It seems to be almost impossible to keyword tightly and accurately now.  

 

For example I have an image keyworded "Asda lgbt" with no other mention of 'lgbt' as it is only relevant with regards to Asda.  Today I saw that it had appeared in a search for 'lgbt' which it would be highly unlikely to be ever used for.  This new system must be producing an awful lot of unwanted images in searches for customers and a lot of unwanted views for contributors.

 

it probably is included as when I looked at it, although all the tags are multiple words, the term lgbt appears 3 times.  That may have brought it up the search as it is included in three different tags.  Just how many views did the search have?

 

Jill

 

you might be right there Jill - I hadn't realised until Keith said - that even under the old system multiple word tags were also searchable as individual words.  Luckily only 2 views, but I've now removed all mention of lgbt just in case - I don't want my CTR taking a massive hit one day!

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So youve taken out any reference to LGBT from an image showing a group of people wearing. LGBT shirts and carrying an LGBT banner on an LGBT march? But kept in ASDA?

 

So now the image wont be seen on a search for LGBT , where it is highly relevant, but will on a search for ASDA where it isnt?

 

I think you have this the wrong way round

 

but what do i know

 

km

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I uploaded HM88X5 this week with the super tag organic mushrooms and it appears on page 1 out of 18,031 search results for organic mushrooms.

In the above example the new Image manager is working for me.

 

 

Craig

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So youve taken out any reference to LGBT from an image showing a group of people wearing. LGBT shirts and carrying an LGBT banner on an LGBT march? But kept in ASDA?

 

So now the image wont be seen on a search for LGBT , where it is highly relevant, but will on a search for ASDA where it isnt?

 

I think you have this the wrong way round

 

but what do i know

 

km

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I'm not sure which photo you're meaning - I agree, it would be mad if I'd done that ???? - but the photo is of an Asda lorry with Asda Pride on the side!

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On 5th Dec a very significant change happened to the order in which images were searched for – at the time it was referred to as a Re-Rank, but it wasn’t – it was a new Search Engine algorithm.

 

I, and many other contributors have noticed problems with this, and since it is a Search engine problem, rather than a re-rank I have started a new thread.

 

I returned from a trip to South Africa, and had keyworded a few images prior to the change, but most have been done after it, some with the old, but many with the new Image Manager.

 

I have noticed the following:

 

1.       Images keyworded with the old IM, before the 5/12/16 change appear much higher up in searches than those keyworded with the new IM

2.       Images keyworded most recently with the new IM also appear at the bottom of a search of my own images for a particular search term (in the old IM, those keyworded more recently generally appeared more highly placed.)

3.       Making words/phrases “supertags” seems to make little/no difference to the placement of images in the search

 

For example: In a search for  Cape Town, of which I now have 181 images on sale, my 3 highest placed images are all on p2 of the search, and are all images taken in Cape Town Airport. An example is H9K6NR

 

These were  keyworded under the old MI, and the keywords were changed by me in the new MI when it came out. None of them have “Cape Town” as a supertag, they have “Cape Town Airport” and “Cape Town international Airport” as supertags amongst others, yet they still appear much higher than all my other images which have “Cape Town” as a supertag.

 

On the first 20 pages of the “cape town” search (100 images/page) I have 26 images of the 181 images I have in total.

 

This image I have keyworded most recently is not one of them – in a search of my own images it appears 116/181

 

dramatic-colourful-sunset-over-table-mou

 

Yet it has supertags of “cape town”, “Cape Town Waterfront”, “Cape Town South Africa” and “Cape Town sunset” amongst its 10 supertags. Even in a search of “Cape town sunset” it appears on p18 of 35 pages.

 

On the other hand, image B0GCTR appears on p1 of a “Cape town” search. I don’t know whether “cape town” appears as a supertag…. Perhaps the contributor if he reads this could let us know, but the pseudonym only has 186 images. I used to have a good rank, whichever way you looked at it – p1 of BHZ, usually well placed in searches, and selling 70+ images per month regularly.

 

It seems that with the new search engine mine and many other contributors rank has fallen severely – but why is this? 

 

I contacted Contributor Services about this on 6th Dec and they replied:

 

“Regarding your perceived re-rank, the updates to the search engine have made the results more optimised to give customers better results for their searches”

 

Now if Alamy felt they had been doing badly, and needed a change to boost their business I could understand this change, but in September, 2 months before the new search engine they announced their best month ever.

 

So what are the points I am trying to make?

 

1.       this is NOT about the new IM, it is about the change to the search engine which occurred on 5/12/16

 

2.       It is putting images keyworded under the new IM below those keyworded under the old IM in searches

 

3.       Within the new IM it appears to be generally putting more recently keyworded images below previously keyworded images (cant be a good thing for the customer)

 

4.       Images with words and phrases which have been made “supertags” are not being consistently ranked above images which have the same words as ordinary “tags” even within ones own pseudonym.

 

5.       I don’t think this search engine is working properly. I would be interested to hear the thoughts of other contributors on this, but more importantly, could Alamy please say something about this? It would be nice to know that these problems are being recognised and worked on. I for one am not going to do any further keywording till something changes.

 

Kumar (the Doc one)

 

I agree entirely - seems that whenever i might load a variety of images from the same shoot- so the location rains the same - they sink to the bottom of the pile

 

Not very motivational- as my images aren't normally at the back end

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I'm with you Doc.

 

Allan

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I do wonder if we need to wait and learn how the new search engines works. From what I'm reading, it sounds as if newer images get placed lower down the search results. But will they be rotated in a month's time and then appear higher up?

I think it would certainly be interesting if Kumar ran the same searches in a month's time to see if the results are consistent with what people see now or if the images move.

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A few images from my uploads this week are placed on the first page, first line.

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A few images from my uploads this week are placed on the first page, first line.

 

 

That is probably because they are classed as "NEW" images by Alamy. As time goes by they will drop down the list as more new images come on stream. ;)

 

Allan

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A few images from my uploads this week are placed on the first page, first line.

 

 

 

That is probably because they are classed as "NEW" images by Alamy. As time goes by they will drop down the list as more new images come on stream. ;)

 

Allan

That's opposite of what Matt said about newer images being placed lower down. Which is it?
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A few images from my uploads this week are placed on the first page, first line.

 

 

That is probably because they are classed as "NEW" images by Alamy. As time goes by they will drop down the list as more new images come on stream. ;)

 

Allan

That's opposite of what Matt said about newer images being placed lower down. Which is it?

 

 

I edited the keywords in the new IM for HF9KRT and searching for santa face brings up 24,021 results and my image is is the second one on page one.

so which is it, does anyone else have any more examples.

 

 

Craig

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A few images from my uploads this week are placed on the first page, first line.

 

 

That is probably because they are classed as "NEW" images by Alamy. As time goes by they will drop down the list as more new images come on stream. ;)

 

Allan

That's opposite of what Matt said about newer images being placed lower down. Which is it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few images from my uploads this week are placed on the first page, first line.

 

 

That is probably because they are classed as "NEW" images by Alamy. As time goes by they will drop down the list as more new images come on stream. ;)

 

Allan

That's opposite of what Matt said about newer images being placed lower down. Which is it?

 

 

I edited the keywords in the new IM for HF9KRT and searching for santa face brings up 24,021 results and my image is is the second one on page one.

so which is it, does anyone else have any more examples.

 

 

Craig

 

 

 

Gee! Gosh! I don't know, just making an uneducated guess. :)

 

Allan

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