The Practical Keyworder - Microstock and the 'Stream of Content-ness'

posted on 23rd of august, 2010

The Practical Keyworder - Microstock and the 'Stream of Content-ness'

There has been a lot of talk on this site and elsewhere about the end of stock photography as we know it - even the end of microstock, which, not too long ago, was the wave of the future and the very thing that was killing stock photography itself.

If I can repeat what I have said before (in my comments on a previous blog post 'Stock Sinners, Repent! The Stock World Is Ending!)' - it is a mistake to think of this as a negative thing. In fact, we are in the midst of a dynamic period of creative destruction in the world of images, and also in the world of 'content' in general. The bar - especially the economic bar - for content creation and distribution has been lowered so far for *every form of content* that the volume of content has become immeasurable. But is this a bad thing? Think of the blogs, videos and personal sites that have multiplied recently - almost anyone who has something to share can now share it with the world!

You should not despair if this makes you feel lost in the crowd…the world still needs content - and it needs *your* content and your images. Think of this explosion of images as a positive thing - more variety, more innovation and more unusual perspectives and hidden talent and treasures coming to light...

So what does this mean for the Practical Keyworder as you prepare and catalog your images for Dreamstime? Well, when I started as an image cataloger there was no microstock. All images were professionally produced and each image cost many times what a typical microstock image costs today. It made economic sense to pay a professional to catalog each image individually. As price has gone down and volume has gone up this has become an impossible model.

So, the burden is on the photographer to keyword his or her images effectively. And the first thing is to realize is that *you* are responsible for the quality of your cataloging - and that quality effects *everyone* on the site - search engines are collaborative thing - your data effects search function as a whole.

Secondly, do not even attempt to cast a 'wide net' by using overly broad terms. As I've discussed before in an earlier article, because of the high volume of images, broad terms dilute searches for everyone, both in the Dreamstime search engine and in 'deep search'. Be as specific and as focused as possible in your terms - even concept terms.

Thirdly, in a sea of images, try and create a unique style and niche for yourself - it's an excellent way of branding yourself and your images to attract customers and build a reputation. As you do this, remember that the terms that you use to help people find your images should be unique and specific too….be creative, but focused. Your 'metadata', or keywords are part of the image too - they are the 'keys' that unlock you hidden treasures for the world!

Good luck!

Comments (3)

Posted by Egomezta on August 23, 2010
Great info, Incredible how the keyworking works.
Posted by Alionaz on August 23, 2010
thanks for sharing! good information!
Posted by Fleyeing on August 23, 2010
DT has a very good tool to see what keywords were actually used to buy an image. Never I saw broad and conceptual terms, the ones that are abused so much. For persons, it's often specific emotions and expressions that are searched for.

Another underestimated thing is visual search, the images found by N/A. I was surprised they account for such a large percentage. That means buyers must still do a lot of browsing around and buy what they didn't come for in the first place. Not only keywording is important, but also the visual appeal of your thumbs, imho.

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