Автор Тема: Demystifying Shutterstock's Search  (Прочитано 10453 раз)

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Оффлайн DanPadavona

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Demystifying Shutterstock's Search
« : Февраль 29, 2008, 03:16:17 pm »
Part 1 of 2

In the first year I have been involved with microstock, I have become fascinated with how the various search engines work. After all, the results they return have a huge impact on our individual results at microstock sites.  Perhaps the most fascinating of all, maybe even more so than iStock's Best Match, is that of Shutterstock.

I love breaking open black boxes to see how they operate. Shutterstock, unlike any other site in existence, is an amazing volume producer. Therefor it is wonderful for studying which subject matters sell best, how strong a contributor you are, and even how your images move within the Search Results.

One thing I have seen written over and over on message boards, including Shutterstock's official message board, is that one has to "feed the beast" if sales are to continue. In terms of selling new images, of course this is true. But does "feeding the beast" have a strong effect on your older uploads being sold on a continuous basis?  I don't think it does.

There are 3 ways for designers to search for our images at Shutterstock besides physically browsing the categories. Their choices are to search by "Newest," "Random Order," and "Most Popular."  The first two choices are quite obvious and straight forward. The newest uploads are always placed front and center under "Newest," which explains why images take off so fast.  I'm not certain of the advantage of searching by "Random," but I do like that the option exists.  So the search function we need to study is sort by "Most Popular."

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Оффлайн DanPadavona

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Re: Demystifying Shutterstock's Search
« Ответ #1 : Февраль 29, 2008, 03:16:43 pm »
Part 2 of 2

So the search we are most interested in is "Most Popular." This search choice is possibly the most simple in the entire industry. As far as I can tell, "Most Popular" is simply determined by the # of Downloads, divided by time online. No community ratings added, nothing else. If you want to verify this for yourself, do a "Most Popular - descending" sort on your own portfolio. Then compare each ranked image to the number of downloads it has had per day online. I have done this several times, and it seems to sort perfectly. A few times I noticed two files were reversed in the order I expected them to be in, but this could be the result of a rounding error. Regardless, I think it can safely be stated that Downloads per days online is at least 95% of the sort. My belief is it is 100%.

I wanted to test if new uploads actually brought older files "back to life," as so many claim they do. For my portfolio, I compared how images performed after being online for 3 months or more when I was uploading, or dormant. I crunched the numbers in Excel and even ran a regression analysis, and I could find no statistical link whatsoever. One obvious caveat - if you are uploading new images, they have a great chance of being seen. If a designer loves your image, he/she may decide to view your portfolio and buy something old. But does this account for more than 10% of an "average contributor's" sales of older files? Probably not.

So why do New Images destroy Old Images in terms of overall performance, provided they are of similar quality? First of all, the "Newest First" search option will keep your new uploads selling for several days on its own. However New Images get a double whammy from the "Most Popular" search feature. Let's say your new image gets downloaded 4 times on its first day online. Your image now averages 4 downloads per day, which translates to 120 per month, etc. You may have a proven older image with 200 sales in 200 days, but your new image is considered 4 times more popular by the search function. So it is at the top of the two main searches - "Newest First," and "Most Popular." Eventually your image will not be downloaded so frequently, and it will quickly begin to fall down the "Most Popular" search. But that first month can be pure magic!

Once again, if you question whether this is true, test it on your own portfolio. After an image has been online for a day or two, and has been downloaded 5-10 times, do a "Most Popular" sort on your portfolio. I bet that new image is near the top, even though the rest of your portfolio probably has many times more sales.

I can't prove any of this, but it certainly appears to me to be valid. It also means it takes a very strong image to stand the test of time at Shutterstock. You want an image to be downloaded at the same pace next year as it was in its first week online? Not going to happen. But images can and do keep up a good download pace if they are of strong enough quality to keep the DLs/time ratio high.

Next time someone tells you to "feed the beast" to keep your old images selling, just smile knowingly and nod in agreement.   ;)
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Оффлайн dolgachov

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Re: Demystifying Shutterstock's Search
« Ответ #2 : Февраль 29, 2008, 03:34:18 pm »
bingo!

if your pictures are good, they will sell for a loooong time. but first month is a real magic.

Оффлайн DanPadavona

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Re: Demystifying Shutterstock's Search
« Ответ #3 : Февраль 29, 2008, 04:29:24 pm »
Definitely.  Now I just need some of those real good pictures...   :joker:
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Re: Demystifying Shutterstock's Search
« Ответ #4 : Февраль 29, 2008, 08:20:05 pm »
Definitely.  Now I just need some of those real good pictures...   :joker:

man. you have very good model in your family. just follow him for a day with camera and blast "editorial" section  :headbang:


Оффлайн Sundance

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Re: Demystifying Shutterstock's Search
« Ответ #5 : Февраль 29, 2008, 09:11:21 pm »
I wish someone could demystify Fotolia's photo ranking principles.... this is the thing that makes me sleepless. As for SS - it's plain truth - number of downloads divided by the number of days online.

Оффлайн DanPadavona

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Re: Demystifying Shutterstock's Search
« Ответ #6 : Март 01, 2008, 02:07:14 am »
Definitely.  Now I just need some of those real good pictures...   :joker:

man. you have very good model in your family. just follow him for a day with camera and blast "editorial" section  :headbang:




HA!  Might be nice to catch him in action killing one of those humongous animatronic dragons like in the late 1980s.   >:D
DanP68, DJP, Djp68