Flagging insights


posted on 21st of november, 2008

Say flag and everyone will jump: where, why, when, how?
Ever since we put up the flagging system, people have used it continuously - needless to say there are some tens of thousand of flags at this point. A lot of work for us and a huge piggybank for you. Looks like you really enjoy this, plus you get rewarded if your flags get approved.

How does the Flagging system work?

You search for an image using keywords. The search will inevitably lead you to some result pages. Anything you see irrelevant for the keyword used in your search, can be flagged using the small red flag underneath each thumb. This is how most people do it. We also have flags coming from the Report function. Say you find an image, you go to the image details page to look around and you see some keywords that do not fit. Underneath the thumb, you have the magical report word and tadaa, the image is reported for irrelevant info.

While the second is sure to report only keywords, the first method flags title, description and keywords at the same time. As the search engine functions based on title, description and keywords, you might have flagged a word that is in the title but not in the keywords. This is why some of your flags do not get approved. We cannot ask you to check each image flagged and see if the description or the title contains something that may be relevant - this is our job. Although...hm hm. The commonest example would be a flag for China while the image contains a simple flower. The description however, contains the additional information that the flower is to be found only in China. Relevant or irrelevant? We allow such info in the description, under some reserves. Our reserves should concern you: a long description, additional and unnecessary info affect searches. But then again, there may be a designer looking for "flower found only in China". Just a little extra care with this additional information should not cause any trouble.

Why do people flag your images?

I will start an enumeration and discuss each reason - bear with me as this may take long. Not to get you too bored, I will probably address them in separate articles.
Spam: as much as we would like to eliminate it, this is still out there. Let's talk business (the most abused spam keyword)! Must be because business sells?? Anyway, no justification for the fact that anything is business: car, house, food, fork, apple, dog, cat. Everything is business or business concept. Really....

Again, I emphasize one thing - I know you all want to sell, but think first and foremost to whom you want to sell. Do you really think a designer looking for a businessman or business team will want your onion or apple?
© Sajko (Help)
A funny one now. Recently, we came across curious, even odd spamming words: pope and catholic. The whole image info was a la carte except for the fact that the series of images contained pope and catholic. Obviously, the images had nothing to do with the pope. Still wondering why, in God's name, would someone want all his images to appear in searches for pope and catholic...Something to meditate upon.
Spam comes from our desire to sell. But is the principle sell anyway, anyhow, anywhere sane? I know most will say yes. This reminds me of shop assistants in clothing stores. If I try on a dress and ask them: Does this fit me? the answer is invariably the same: Yes, you look perfect, so beautiful. I think you can image the disastrous feed-back I get from the mirror in my apartment. The outcome: I never go into the shop again or I always take a trustworthy and honest friend with me. Can't really think of our buyers doing that. I would see things like this: they on one side, you and us on the other.
Protecting them from irrelevancies should not be only our concern but also yours. Imagine buyers coming to our site and looking for images. I don't think we would love a recommendation of the type: This site is nice, the images are good, if you're interested in just browsing. If you want something in particular, you'd better give up cause you'll never find it.

Some inside info: We have forms which our buyers fill in from time to time. You know, the type: do you like us, do you hate us, what could be improved? And, obviously, some feed-back messages sound like: relevant keywords, more relevant keywords, specific keywords.
If I am allowed a bit of digression here, two tiny pieces of advice:

1. there are buyers who search for specific classes, categories, species. We have feed-back of the type: the fish names should be more specific, not just fish, but sea bass or halibut. Or "We are a flowershop and we would be interested in buying some images with calla lily or geranium types".

2. Stop the vector keyword please. There are so many confused buyers: I thought this was a vector. This is what the keywords said. Your jpg images are not vectors. And you may not even upload the additional format. Or maybe you will upload in 2030. My advice is: once you upload the additional, edit the image and write a simple and standard sentence in the description. "Additional format available" or "vector format available".

Going back to spamming, one of the questions most likely to resurface when it comes to keywording is that regarding the number: too many or too few? You can have them either way but think of sale potential. Too few will increase relevancy but will also limit the number of possible search results for your image. Too many on the other hand will affect relevancy but your image will be found in many more possible searches. It will be found on page 50 in search results but it will appear for 100 possible searching keywords.

To be continued


Comments (11)

Posted by Digitalfestival on September 19, 2009
There's another concern i would like to share. All these preventions are focused on the negative- prevent this or that .. but at what cost and what about proactively keeping the contributors and creative artists happy? what does one do when one not so 'meaningful contributor' starts "spamming' flags and reports images of others contributors just for the heck of it . What i mean is instead of tackling keyword spamming now we need extra manpower and resources to handle the people who have nothing better do but create a spam of flags on other contributors images, especially when their own sales are low or insignificant. whether its out of jealousy or frustration ... that's another subject i wont go into. But its quite demeaning as well gets our 'creative morale' down when we have people sifting and surfing through others images just to make a few cents ... and highlighting perfectly valid entries... something like the gold diggers of the wild west.
I for one know that i try to be...(More)
Posted by Polluxg on April 29, 2009
I have a question regarding the flagging system though: when I report an image, doest it report the search I used? for example I was searching for ink pens, and found a whole set of ink pen drawings, but the pen was nowhere in the image, so I reported them, is this right?
Posted by Polluxg on April 29, 2009
I have a question regarding the flagging system though: when I report an image, doest it report the search I used? for example I was searching for ink pens, and found a whole set of ink pen drawings, but the pen was nowhere in the image, so I reported them, is this right? as most likely the description says its an ink pen drawing... but it's still irrelevant for my specific search... hope I'm not too confusing.
Posted by Inganielsen on December 12, 2008
nice article, thank you!
Posted by Tangie on November 27, 2008
If you flag your own images, we normally do not approve these flags. We are aware that there may be people who flag images without knowing what the red flag stands for. It happened that someone once flagged all the images that were extremely relevant for her search. I imagine the initial intention was to add them in the lightbox but did not know what the icons stood for. Those flags were not approved obviously.
Posted by Saniphoto on November 26, 2008
thank you Carmen for this interesting and detailed explanation of flagging. Never cared too much about it, but is indeed an interesting and useful function.
Posted by Ptoone on November 26, 2008
Good article. Just accidentally flagged my own image. At least now I know how flagging works. Since I had a bunch of images refused for the incorrect category, I have been putting a lot more time into ensuring keywords and description are accurate.
Posted by Creativei on November 26, 2008
Nice blog, One request cant we include a add to lightbox icon in the thumbnail itself rather than opening the image than adding it. Could save loads of time. just a small link like flag, might be very useful
Posted by Cleaper on November 21, 2008
Interesting blog - thanks Tangie!
Posted by Tangie on November 21, 2008
The flagging system is already in use. It has been for a year now.
Posted by Littledesire on November 21, 2008
Wow I read it at once! Waiting for the continuation.



Comments (11)

This article has been read 2486 times. 6 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Aniram, Chrisharvey, Connie Larsen, Jillekulchinsky, Laurent Hamels, Patrimonio Designs Limited, Dmitriy Shironosov, Redbaron, Geno Sajko, Smagal.

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