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Alamy – what has happened to the Search Engine ??

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Maybe it's not a good idea to repeat phrases (or single words) in supertags -- e.g. the repetition of “Cape Town” in “Cape Town Waterfront”, “Cape Town South Africa”,  “Cape Town sunset” etc. might be driving images to the bottom of the pile. Didn't Alamy suggest as much in its recent "best practices" blog post? Or perhaps I misunderstood something. Admittedly, this stuff is a mystery to me.

 

FWIW I redid all my Montreal images using the new MI last week, and I tried to repeat "Montreal" as little as possible in supertags (for any one image). These images are now doing very well in search results. Mind you, they weren't doing badly before I made the changes. Plus they aren't new images...

Edited by John Mitchell

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Maybe it's not a good idea to repeat phrases (or single words) in supertags -- e.g. the repetition of “Cape Town” in “Cape Town Waterfront”, “Cape Town South Africa”,  “Cape Town sunset” etc. might be driving images to the bottom of the pile. Didn't Alamy suggest as much in its recent "best practices" blog post? Or perhaps I misunderstood something. Admittedly, this stuff is a mystery to me.

 

FWIW I redid all my Montreal images using the new MI last week, and I tried to repeat "Montreal" as little as possible in supertags (for any one image). These images are now doing very well in search results. Mind you, they weren't doing badly before I made the changes. Plus they aren't new images...

 

Interesting thought John - I will give it a go and let you know what happens!

 

Kumar

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Maybe it's not a good idea to repeat phrases (or single words) in supertags -- e.g. the repetition of “Cape Town” in “Cape Town Waterfront”, “Cape Town South Africa”,  “Cape Town sunset” etc. might be driving images to the bottom of the pile. Didn't Alamy suggest as much in its recent "best practices" blog post? Or perhaps I misunderstood something. Admittedly, this stuff is a mystery to me.

 

FWIW I redid all my Montreal images using the new MI last week, and I tried to repeat "Montreal" as little as possible in supertags (for any one image). These images are now doing very well in search results. Mind you, they weren't doing badly before I made the changes. Plus they aren't new images...

 

Interesting thought John - I will give it a go and let you know what happens!

 

Kumar

 

Yes, please do. I'm basically just fumbling around in the dark.

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Hi All

 

 

There are certainly some anomalies in searching and the way tags are ordered in legacy images .

 

 

There is a smart car in the family I looked at images under the search term smart car as I have uploaded some images this afternoon but in the results there were images of a fox hunt  amongst others which bore no resemblance to the search term so I think re tagging is best left alone for now.

 

Personally I have no faith in the new tagging system in its present form.

 

 

Jon

 

I did change a tag to see if it made any difference but doubt  it will.

 

Just had another look it seems anything with smart in gets a high rating even if the term smart is way down in the keyword list in the old third field .

Edited by Jon Lewis

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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.

 

Matt if this is the case we are trying to shoot a moving target.

 

Jon

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Hi All

 

 

There are certainly some anomalies in searching and the way tags are ordered in legacy images .

 

 

There is a smart car in the family I looked at images under the search term smart car as I have uploaded some images this afternoon but in the results there were images of a fox hunt  amongst others which bore no resemblance to the search term so I think re tagging is best left alone for now.

 

Personally I have no faith in the new tagging system in its present form.

 

 

Jon

 

I did change a tag to see if it made any difference but doubt  it will.

 

Just had another look it seems anything with smart in gets a high rating even if the term smart is way down in the keyword list in the old third field .

 

I did the "smart car" search (no quotes) and went up to page 7 and everything was smart cars.  Didn't see any foxhunting images. Were a couple of images of the woman who is head of the smart car division and some people loading a christmas tree in their smart car. 

 

Always interesting how different people get different results.

 

Jill

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One day this last week the search engine reverted to pre 05/12.  Only for an hour or so but the following day my measures showed that views were double and clicks quadrupled (the recent average) for that day.  I think that says quite a lot!

 

Pearl

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Philippe is right!  its a complete lottery, gamble. For once I thought, great! new search-engine and surely they have got it right this time. Nope! not so, its even more weird then the old one. I give up!......hiring in Techs is not a cheap business, I happen to know that and you do have to hire outside tech-firms since they really are experts. No agency have got their so called "own" techs as such, all they have are a few with a little bit of knowledge thats all.

Skimping or trying to save money on something like this and it will backfire badly.

 

my 2c worth.

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Philippe is right!  its a complete lottery, gamble. For once I thought, great! new search-engine and surely they have got it right this time. Nope! not so, its even more weird then the old one. I give up!......hiring in Techs is not a cheap business, I happen to know that and you do have to hire outside tech-firms since they really are experts. No agency have got their so called "own" techs as such, all they have are a few with a little bit of knowledge thats all.

Skimping or trying to save money on something like this and it will backfire badly.

 

my 2c worth.

 

Which is why I have always felt that Alamy should have used Google search as the site search.

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It's probably very naive of me, but I don't understand why the tagging system should be such a mystery.  

 

It can't possibly be of benefit to customers that the photos of those who 'crack' the system first appear higher in search results - unless they also happen to be the best photographers.

 

Surely the tagging system should be crystal clear - a completely level playing field -  and then 'rank' or whatever system is used together with the quality of photos will give better search returns

 

And an awful lot of photographers' time is being wasted trying to puzzle it all out, rather than doing what we should all be doing - taking photos 

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If any consolation, I've been working on legacy images from 2007. After they were updated, I checked a few in searches. Two out of five are now on the first page, one of them with three similars scattered about on the first page. I didn't go beyond 3 pages on the other three so unsure where they are.

I recently made a sale of an image from that period (for peanuts) so I know at least some of those older images are sales worthy. If working on them puts at least 30-40% them back in a favorable search, it's worth the work. For me, that is.

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Speaking personally Betty, the issue is not whether to work on old images, but how.

I was about to start the process but after reading various threads am now thinking that at the moment I am just as likely to

unwittingly cause negative effects.

I have decided to leave things alone for a while. With nearly all the DIY activities I try around the house, with hindsight this would have been the best policy. 

Geoff

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Speaking personally Betty, the issue is not whether to work on old images, but how.

I was about to start the process but after reading various threads am now thinking that at the moment I am just as likely to

unwittingly cause negative effects.

I have decided to leave things alone for a while. With nearly all the DIY activities I try around the house, with hindsight this would have been the best policy. 

Geoff

I'm doing this for legacy images dating back to 2007.

 

Deleting tags that shouldn't be there, i.e. "Tree" when a tree is something small in the background. So I'm sticking with what describes the subject. Years ago I read in the forum to list as keywords what was in the image, and I did. Every...little...thing. I took it too literal.

 

Get rid of duplicates, especially of minor tags, but I've left some in. It's supposed to hurt us but that doesn't seem to be happening for me. The program forces you to delete a duplicate only if you try to make it a supertag.

 

Create a phrase of an important two or three tags that need to stay together. Sometimes I have two phrases. I always have the phrases as supertags. Choose 10 supertags when I can, but sometimes the tags aren't important enough to warrant 10.

 

Ignore making the image line green. I'm not padding simply to Optimize. I have images that are yellow that are on the first page.

 

Check my captions. My early captions are horrible. "Tufted Titmouse in tree" I didn't even have the scientific name, the location, or the fact the tree is a crabapple, malus. Make new captions.

 

I'm changing a lot of these old ones to RF. Editorial Only, when necessary. They already have people counted, so I don't have to worry with that.

Try a handful of images and see what happens.

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My plan is more or less the same as Betty's except that I'm not sold on RF Editorial Only. I'm sticking with either RM or "regular" RF until it becomes clearer which way the wind is blowing.

Edited by John Mitchell

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My plan is more or less the same as Betty's except that I'm not sold on RF Editorial Only. I'm sticking with either RM or "regular" RF until it becomes clearer which way the wind is blowing.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. Changing many to RF. But only a handful that have something in it, person or property, barely there, RF editorial.

I'm still leaving quite a large count RM.

The RF is an experiment to see if sales pick up.

Or see if nothing much changes.

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My plan is more or less the same as Betty's except that I'm not sold on RF Editorial Only. I'm sticking with either RM or "regular" RF until it becomes clearer which way the wind is blowing.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. Changing many to RF. But only a handful that have something in it, person or property, barely there, RF editorial.

I'm still leaving quite a large count RM.

The RF is an experiment to see if sales pick up.

Or see if nothing much changes.

 

 

Right, I'm in experimentation mode as well.

 

It would be helpful if fellow experimenters could announce any sales that come along of images that they have changed to RF, especially to RF editorial only.

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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

 

Hi Joseph,

 

I have sent this query, as well as a link to this thread to CR. I will post when I get a response, but I will be away for a week in a place with potentially no internet/wi-fi so may/may not be able to post before next week - will let you all know!

 

Kumar

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Maybe it's not a good idea to repeat phrases (or single words) in supertags -- e.g. the repetition of “Cape Town” in “Cape Town Waterfront”, “Cape Town South Africa”,  “Cape Town sunset” etc. might be driving images to the bottom of the pile. Didn't Alamy suggest as much in its recent "best practices" blog post? Or perhaps I misunderstood something. Admittedly, this stuff is a mystery to me.

 

FWIW I redid all my Montreal images using the new MI last week, and I tried to repeat "Montreal" as little as possible in supertags (for any one image). These images are now doing very well in search results. Mind you, they weren't doing badly before I made the changes. Plus they aren't new images...

 

As an experiment I tried the same with just one image.  Removed repeating word from supertags and my image moved 12 places lower in the search result.  

 

And just to add, I had images of exactly the same subject already on Alamy and just added a few more from the same shoot.  Used the new IM to keyword and carefully selected supertags.  Searched for the images using one of the supertags and all the newly added images are showing way way lower than the images I already had on Alamy, which don't even have the supertag I used to conduct the search.  They do have the two words next to each other as supertags.

Edited by tarsierspectral
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Maybe it's not a good idea to repeat phrases (or single words) in supertags -- e.g. the repetition of “Cape Town” in “Cape Town Waterfront”, “Cape Town South Africa”,  “Cape Town sunset” etc. might be driving images to the bottom of the pile. Didn't Alamy suggest as much in its recent "best practices" blog post? Or perhaps I misunderstood something. Admittedly, this stuff is a mystery to me.

 

FWIW I redid all my Montreal images using the new MI last week, and I tried to repeat "Montreal" as little as possible in supertags (for any one image). These images are now doing very well in search results. Mind you, they weren't doing badly before I made the changes. Plus they aren't new images...

 

As an experiment I tried the same with just one image.  Removed repeating word from supertags and my image moved 12 places lower in the search result.  

 

And just to add, I had images of exactly the same subject already on Alamy and just added a few more from the same shoot.  Used the new IM to keyword and carefully selected supertags.  Searched for the images using one of the supertags and all the newly added images are showing way way lower than the images I already had on Alamy, which don't even have the supertag I used to conduct the search.  They do have the two words next to each other as supertags.

 

 

Thanks for letting us know. I want to make some similar experiments but can't face it somehow. I think I may need to leave all my old images alone? I'm certainly afraid to touch any that get a good position. I may try one that fell dramatically with the new image manager.

 

Paulette

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I have received an initial answer from CR after my e-mail to them which is as follows:

 

 

"Where images appear in a search result is down to a number of different things and we will not be able to go into specific details about the ins and outs of how each element works.

 

The only thing we can recommend you do is simply to keyword and caption accurately. We cannot give contributors the search algorithm and our aim is to ensure that photographers who take good relevant pictures, who use the correct metadata, and whose images sell well see their pictures get to the top of the results.

 

Regarding your 3rd point, our tagging system does not exclude constituent words of a tag or supertag from being searched for e.g. “Cape town airport” will still show up for “Cape town” and “airport” but the search engine tries to make sure that the most relevant images show higher up. You can read more about how tagging works in our recent blog post"

 

It does not answer the point I made in my original post/e-mail so I have replied to their e-mail re-iterating my questions as follows:

 

Thank you for your answer – I am not asking for the search algorithm –

 

But your answer does not explain the points I made ie:

 

1.       In a search for “Cape Town” my images which are NOT supertagged with “Cape Town” come more highly placed than all my images which are supertagged with “Cape Town”, so the search engine is specifically NOT ensuring that “the most relevant images show higher up”

2.       More recently keyworded images are appearing lower in the search than previously keyworded images

3.       Images keyworded under the old MI appear consistently higher up in searches than more recent images keyworded with the new MI

 

I sell about 70-80 images per month through Alamy – I don’t sell my images anywhere else, and I do know how to keyword and caption accurately

 

Please read the blog thread and you will see this is a widespread problem.

 

Please could you answer these specific points?

 

 

Kumar

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I have received an initial answer from CR after my e-mail to them which is as follows:

 

 

"Where images appear in a search result is down to a number of different things and we will not be able to go into specific details about the ins and outs of how each element works.

 

The only thing we can recommend you do is simply to keyword and caption accurately. We cannot give contributors the search algorithm and our aim is to ensure that photographers who take good relevant pictures, who use the correct metadata, and whose images sell well see their pictures get to the top of the results.

 

Regarding your 3rd point, our tagging system does not exclude constituent words of a tag or supertag from being searched for e.g. “Cape town airport” will still show up for “Cape town” and “airport” but the search engine tries to make sure that the most relevant images show higher up. You can read more about how tagging works in our recent blog post"

 

It does not answer the point I made in my original post/e-mail so I have replied to their e-mail re-iterating my questions as follows:

 

Thank you for your answer – I am not asking for the search algorithm –

 

But your answer does not explain the points I made ie:

 

1.       In a search for “Cape Town” my images which are NOT supertagged with “Cape Town” come more highly placed than all my images which are supertagged with “Cape Town”, so the search engine is specifically NOT ensuring that “the most relevant images show higher up”

2.       More recently keyworded images are appearing lower in the search than previously keyworded images

3.       Images keyworded under the old MI appear consistently higher up in searches than more recent images keyworded with the new MI

 

I sell about 70-80 images per month through Alamy – I don’t sell my images anywhere else, and I do know how to keyword and caption accurately

 

Please read the blog thread and you will see this is a widespread problem.

 

Please could you answer these specific points?

 

 

Kumar

 

I keep getting essentially the same answers from Alamy "we can't reveal the search algorithm".  No one is asking to reveal the search algorithm!  I just want to know why my old images without precise supertags show higher in search results than the new images tagged under the new IM.  I'm guessing they have no clue.  Sorry to say that.

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One thing I'm certain of is duplicates demote the image. Alamy have already stated that words within a phrase will also be seen as individual tags e.g. With Cape Town as tag phrase > airport, Arrivals, sunsets, landscape, etc will all be found from the initial Cape Town tag.

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One thing I'm certain of is duplicates demote the image. Alamy have already stated that words within a phrase will also be seen as individual tags e.g. With Cape Town as tag phrase > airport, Arrivals, sunsets, landscape, etc will all be found from the initial Cape Town tag.

 

How can you be certain if that's not the experience of others?

I just removed duplicates and my image was demoted.

Edited by tarsierspectral

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Others have not identified demotion by removing duplicates. Quite the contrary hence many references to removing harmful duplicates. But to take the matter on, I tested a dozen of my well placed images (page 1 of 10k+) and ADDED duplicates. The images dissapperead out of sight.

 

Spelling

Edited by ReeRay

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I too have found images have been demoted when duplicates have been removed.

 

The only things I am doing with the new IM regarding older images already on sale is adding occasional supertags. I am not deleting anything at the moment till the problems with the new search engine have been sorted out

 

Kumar

Edited by Doc

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