Delivering Search Results At Getty

Posted on 11/18/2004 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

681

DELIVERING SEARCH RESULTS AT GETTY



November 18, 2004


For more than a year the main focus of many stock agencies has been to get accepted by Getty Images as a third party supplier. While the requirements for acceptance are rigid, Getty has still added a significant number of suppliers. This strategy makes a lot of sense for the image suppliers because according to my calculation close to 60% of all images licensed to buyers for Creative/Advertising/Corporate use worldwide (everything but Editorial) are licensed by Getty Images.


By my count in the Creative section of their site Getty has 10 brands that it owns or controls directly (Photographer's Choice), and 31 third party suppliers. Many of these were added in September and indications are that there are still many more to come.
According to my count 25% of all the images currently on the site belong to third party suppliers. In addition, many of these suppliers that have already been accepted have a wealth of imagery that has still not been uploaded on the Gettyimages.com. I will not be surprised if at the end of 2005 more than 40% of the images on the Getty site belong to third party suppliers.


However, getting accepted as a supplier on the Gettyimages.com may be only half the battle. Images only generate revenue if they are seen, and there is a question as to how often images from some of these suppliers will be seen. The recent additions have necessitated a rather dramatic change in the way search results are delivered and the order in which images are delivered for customer viewing may have a significant bearing on the number of images likely to be licensed.


In September 2003 Getty made a dramatic change in the algorithm for delivering search results in an effort to increase the number of RM images licensed and decrease the number of RF. At that time I did an analysis of how many images from each brands were delivered in the first 90 results of any search. I published the results in Story 578 . A brief summary of these results follows along with a comparison of the number each brand has after the recent 2004 adjustment.















































2003

2004

Stone

20

25

The Image Bank

18

10

Taxi

15

11

Photodisc Red

8

4

Digital Vision

6

3

Photographer's Choice

6

3

Photodisc Green

4

2

Hulton

4

1

PhotoDisc Blue

3

1

Time-Life

2

2

Illustration Works

1

1

Brand X

1

1

Thinkstock

1

1

Rubberball

1

0




It is important to note that in September 2003 there were only 8 Getty controlled brands and 6 third party brands. At that time 78 of the first 90 images seen in any search came from Getty controlled brands. With the addition of new brands, Getty owned brands now only have 59 of the first 90 images.


For this analysis we started by searching for all images, both RM and RF, in the database using the term "vertical" on the theory that all brands have some verticals and that this would give us the best picture of the relative percentage of images shown from each brand. In this case we searched not only the first 90, but the next two groups of 90 as well, for a total of 270 images. We have no idea how many images the average buyer is willing to review before they make a selection. Some in the industry believe it is very few. If that is the case then seeing where their images place in a review of 270 images may give sellers some idea of their odds of making sales from having their images included on this site.


Some of the brands that have no images shown in the first 90 images and many have only 2 images shown in the first 270 returns delivered. Three of the brands have no images shown in the first 270.


From other searches we have done this prioritizing seems to be roughly the same for every search regardless of keywords used. However, there will be always be some cases where brands have none, or very few, images on a subject. In such cases it seems that the position of the brand with no images is dropped and all other brands will be moved up with the relative positioning remaining about the same.


I would caution that the algorithm that delivers search results may be much more complicated than it seems and that doing a relatively small number of searches as I have done may not reveal all that is going on.


Sequencing Within A Brand


Within the algorithm there is also a feature that slightly adjusts the sequencing within each brand from day to day so the same image doesn't come up first every day. It is unclear how much control, if any, brand owners have over this ordering, but in the short period of time I was doing my test it looked like these adjustments were very slight. This would mean that as images get lower in the search results they tend to stay low and it is unclear what, if anything, would bring them back to the top.


The following is a breakdown by brand of the number of images delivered in the first 90, second 90 and third 90 as well as the total in 270.





















































































































































































































1st 90

2nd 90

3rd 90

Total

Stone+

13

9

8

30

The Image Bank

10

10

10

30

Stone

12

9

8

29

Taxi

11

7

9

27

National Geographic

6

5

7

18

Photodisc Red

4

7

5

16

Digital Vision

3

7

4

14

Photographer's Choice

3

7

4

14

Allsport

2

4

2

8

Photodisc Green

2

4

2

8

Stockbyte

4

4

8

Robert Harding

2

2

2

6

Photodisc Blue

1

2

3

6

Hulton Archive

1

2

3

6

Food Pix

2

1

1

4

Time-Life Pictures

2

1

1

4

Lonely Planet

2

1

1

4

Botanica

1

1

2

Bridgeman Archive

1

1

2

Brand X

1

1

2

Thinkstock

1

1

2

Medio Images

1

1

2

Asia Images

1

1

2

Illustration Works

1

1

2

DK Stock

1

1

2

Beateworks

1

1

2

Altrendo

1

1

2

Reportage

1

1

2

Panoramic Images

1

1

2

Visuals Unlimited

1

1

2

Dorling Kindersly

1

1

2

Dex Images

1

1

2

Queerstock

1

1

2

3D Clinic

1

1

2

Comstock

1

1

2

Rubberball

1

1

2

Photo Alto

1

1

2

Image Source

1

1

2

fStop

0

Image 100

0

America 24-7

0




In an effort to determine the fairness of this priority system we also did a count, by brand, of all the images on the site. Our strategy was to count Horizontal, Vertical, Panoramic and Square images for each brand and the numbers are listed below. It is certainly possible that there are some images on the site without any orientation listed and to the degree that has happened our count would be inaccurate.

Nevertheless, the count reveals some interesting information relative to the fairness of the search delivery strategy.

According to my count currently there are 434,346 RM images and 252,161 RF for a total of 686,507. Of that 510,331, or 75%, are from Getty controlled brands. The 3rd party brands have 25% of the images. However, in the first 270 images shown on any search the 3rd parties have 36% of the images shown and the Getty brands only show 174 images or 64% of the total, although a high proportion of the Getty images come up earlier than those of the 3rd party brands.

In September 2003 I did a similar count and at that time there were 346,091 RM images and 189,523 RF images for a total of 535,614. That means that 137,169 images have been added in the past year, a 25% increase over the previous year. I do not have a breakdown of Getty controlled images compared to 3rd Parties in 2003, but my belief is that the vast majority of images added in the past year have been from 3rd Parties.

Thus, while many of the brands have relatively few images shown in the first 270 it would seem that in proportion to the total images on the site most are being treated more or less fairly. The two largest 3rd Parties at the moment are the two that have been on the Getty site the longest - Digital Vision and PictureArts (BrandX, FoodPix and Botonica). DV has 33201 images, or 4.8% of the total images on the site. The 14 images of their's that are shown in the first 270 are 5.1% of the total. PictureArts has 31523 images in the database, or 4.6% of the total, and the 8 of their images that are shown in the first 270 are 3% of the total. (It would seem that PictureArts is not being treated anywhere near as well as DV based on number of images on the site, but in straight relation to the total images on the site their representation is not all that bad.)

Part of the problem in being totally fair is that 2 images is only 0.74% of 270 images.
If we calculate a 0.74% proportion of the total file it comes to 5080 images. Many of the brands have far less than this number, and thus it may be difficult to figure out how to give these small suppliers a "fair" position. And, I suspect that number of images for all brands changes constantly, adding to the complexity.
































































Copyright © 2004 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  

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1680

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116899

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40151

1297

6431

91429

Taxi

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7440

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National Geographic

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Digital Vision

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15165

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Photographer's Choice

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Allsport

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Photodisc Green

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38868

745

11467

88205

Stockbyte

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