Press Releases 22

Posted on 7/13/2006 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

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PRESS RELEASES 22


July 13, 2006

Alamy Testing Improved Search Engine -- Files Patent Paperwork for New Search Technology


Alamy has announced that it is testing new search technology called AlamyRank that will move images from the best collections to the top of search results. Alamy also said it has applied for patents for two key technologies that make the new search approach unique in the stock photography industry.

The company is currently testing AlamyRank on a sample of its customers and is working on tools to help contributors improve their position within the new hierarchy.

Alamy CEO James West said the new search engine will favor photographers and stock distributors who provide the best images and who do the best jobs of key wording and describing their work. It will, however, penalize those providing mediocre work or using inappropriate keywords, hoping their images will be seen more often.
"We think this is a huge breakthrough in terms of developing a market driven search engine that rewards talent and delivers high-quality images to the customer," asserted West. He said this is the first of several search engine improvements planned for the near future.

According to the Alamy executive, AlamyRank (patents pending) automatically creates a hierarchy of individual image suppliers based on the search activity of customers. To determine the rankings, Alamy records the number of times customers view larger previews and license images relative to the number of times the images have appeared in search results.

The second software package, called the Diversity Algorithm (patents pending), will ensure that no individual supplier dominates any particular search. The Diversity Algorithm will disperse the images of even the highest-ranked suppliers so that image buyers see work from many different sources before seeing more images from the top-ranked suppliers.

West said photographers eventually will be able to tweak their image collections to get the most out of the new system.

"While we are trialling this technology on our customers we are also developing a suite of tools to let contributors see their AlamyRank scores. Contributors will be able to refine their submissions to improve their scores," West said.

"We are moving further away from a traditional agency system to one where photographers can manage their own collections based on feedback directly from the market," West said. "We expect search results will improve as our suppliers respond to information from the marketplace."

Stock Artists Alliance Delivers a "Metadata Manifesto"

To raise awareness about metadata and encourage its adoption, SAA has published a "Metadata Manifesto." It provides guiding principles and practices for anyone who creates, uses or manages digital images, as well as those developing supporting technology and services. Highlighting the efforts of international standards bodies and industry groups, the Manifesto stresses the urgency of metadata adoption, especially by the stock photography industry.

Photographers losing money from copyright infringement; editors scrapping photos from layouts because they lack caption information; librarians struggling to make burgeoning digital asset collections publicly available-Diverse problems, but they share a common solution: metadata.

Anyone who has searched for images on stock photography web sites has benefited from metadata, but once the image is removed from the site, that information is usually lost unless it's been embedded into the image file. That metadata can provide critical ownership and usage information, as well as descriptive caption information that can be used to help search and identify image subjects.

To raise awareness about metadata and encourage its adoption, the Stock Artists Alliance is releasing its Metadata Manifesto. The Manifesto provides guiding principles and practices for anyone who creates, uses, or manages electronic images, as well as those developing digital hardware and software. Highlighting the efforts of international standards bodies and industry groups (such as IPTC and PLUS), the Manifesto stresses the urgency for industry-wide metadata adoption.

As an advocacy group for stock photographers, SAA is especially concerned about the impact on the stock photography industry. As images are disseminated, their underlying information is often lost. With the continuing fragmentation of the stock photography market and proposed copyright law changes that would undermine protections for owners of so-called "orphan works," SAA believes it is now critical to increase metadata use and support.

"This is SAA's wake-up call to the photo industry," says David Riecks, Chair of SAA's Imaging Technology Standards committee. "Photographers need to add metadata to their digital images now, or risk losing future income. Without metadata, they may as well be putting their images in a black hole."

Adds Riecks, "We need industry-wide commitment to metadata. We need technology that makes it easy to embed it, preserve it, and facilitate tracking and rights management. Without a dedicated industry-wide effort, using and managing digital assets will continue to be problematic, and photographers stand to lose more than anyone."

A PDF of the Metadata Manifesto can be downloaded at:
(www.stockartistsalliance.org/pdf_docs/SAA_MetadataManifesto_v1_0606.pdf)

You an weigh in on the Manifesto and metadata at:
(www.MetadataManifesto.blogspot.com)

PACA Membership Directory in Print

Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) has released a new 150 page Membership Directory that recently made its debut at CEPIC in France and HOW Design Conference in Las Vegas.

This is the first printed Membership Directory since 2000 and reflects PACA's growing membership of well respected and trusted stock image archives. Over 130 North American and International members are listed along with descriptions of their collections and services. These same member listings can be viewed at (www. pacaoffice.org ).

The book also provides key information for photo buyers including the PACA Copyright Commandments, definitions of the various licensing models for Rights Managed, Royalty Free and Subscription as well as a detailed list of properties and objects that require "special releases" prior to using their photographic likenesses.

The Directory is free to art buyers and can be ordered by contacting the PACA Office.

Shutterstock Hits 850,000 Images

Shutterstock® announced recently that it has added its 850,000th image to its photo library (www.shutterstock.com). Continuing its expansion, Shutterstock's image library has grown by over 70% in 2006 alone. This is made possible by an international network of almost 30,000 contributing photographers, Shutterstock's team of photo reviewers, and an ever-growing demand from the creative community for high-quality images.

"We are proud of the numbers," says Jon Oringer, CEO, "but we are more concerned with quality than quantity. Shutterstock is about providing superior images to our subscribers and that will always be our top concern."

Shutterstock is also focused on the diversity of its collection - with a customer base spread across the globe and involved in industries including publishing, advertising, web design, and product design, it is crucial that Shutterstock provides images suited to a wide variety of applications. Shutterstock's library is divided into 30 categories ranging from Business and People to Animals/Wildlife and Signs/Symbols, each of which contains thousands of images.

Corbis Outline Team Signs 8 New Portraiture Photographers

Corbis recently announced the signing of syndication deals with 8 top celebrity portraiture photographers. These signings continue a trend of expansion in both Corbis Outline's roster of photographers and geographic reach. With teams throughout key markets in Europe, Asia and North America and subagents serving all other markets, Corbis Outline is able to serve clients on a global basis.

Corbis will now syndicate photographic work globally, for Rick Chapman, Don Flood, Patrick Fraser, Susanna Howe, Steven Lippman, Matthias Vriens, Michael Weschler, and Autumn de Wilde. These photographers will join the ranks of more than 100 of the world's best portraiture photographers on the Corbis Outline roster. This group includes James White, Ruven Afanador, Sante D'Orazio, Matthew Rolston and Martin Schoeller.

"We are always on the lookout for top artists with unique styles that also have access to every kind of celebrity around the world, from politicians and poets to artists and athletes," said Gary Shenk, Corbis senior vice president, Images. "These recent signings are just another example of our commitment to grow our industry-leading photographer roster and portraiture offering."

Exclusive photo shoots by these outstanding photographers are now available for licensing from Corbis Outline.

To view the latest photos from Corbis Outline please visit (www.pro.corbis.com/sectionfront/default.aspx?Category=13)

a21 subsidiary ArtSelect enters Into Joint Marketing Agreement with Redcats U.S.A.

a21, Inc. has announced that its ArtSelect, Inc. subsidiary has entered into a joint marketing agreement with Redcats USA, the international catalog division of the French holding company Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, establishing a co-branded relationship that integrates ArtSelect's custom-framed art concept and product line into select Redcats USA catalogs and websites. Headquartered in New York City, Redcats USA is a leading specialty catalog and retail company.

"The ArtSelect alliance reinforces Redcats USA's leadership position in direct marketing of home products. Wall decor solutions can now be matched with textile offers giving our customers customization and value in an easy to use format completely integrated with our web sites," said Kevin Doyle, Executive Vice President of Redcat's BrylaneHome Lifestyles Group.

ArtSelect allows Redcats USA to offer their customers an online custom frame shop and art gallery. Shoppers choose their own prints, frames, and mats online. They can view their selection against a background of their own wall color, and quickly arrive at the combination they want. Featuring an extensive selection of art prints and canvas reproductions, the frame shop allows customers to fit any style of home decor.


"We are pleased that another leading catalog company and specialty retailer has recognized the value that ArtSelect delivers in enhancing the consumer shopping experience by providing custom-framing solutions," said Phil Garfinkle, President and Chief Operating Officer of a21. "We expect Redcats USA's extensive customer base should increase distribution for ArtSelect's products."

Picturehouse Announces Date for New York 2006 & Adds Stock Footage Showcase


Picturehouse's annual showcase will be returning to the Puck Building located in lower Manhattan this year on Wednesday, November 1st from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. This event allows art-buyers, art-directors, editors, publishers, graphic and web-site designers to meet with the suppliers of stock imagery and see the best and latest of what they have to offer.

Represented agencies include a vast array of photo libraries from the smaller specialty boutiques up to the "big guys" from both the US and abroad. The event offers the unique opportunity to expand your sources for distinctive imagery from a broad range of suppliers, all in one location, all in one day.

In addition picturehouse, in association with Stock Footage Index, will be launching this year "movingpicturehouse." This event is exclusively for the buyers of stock footage and will showcase footage collections from leading specialist footage libraries on both sides of the Atlantic. It will be housed in a separate room devoted to this fast expanding section of the media industry.

All attendees will not only find what they need, but enjoy themselves while doing it. All picturehouse events include complimentary food and beverage (with beer and wine flowing after 5:00PM) and the chance to win a variety of valuable door prizes.

Registration is required and is limited to qualified image buyers. Please go to
(www.picturehouse.org) for more information.


Copyright © 2006 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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