Stock House Thursday: CanStock.com
These aren’t really “reviews,” in that they will have no thumbs up or down at the end. This is not intended to be a recommendation or otherwise about any of the stock houses I will analyze. Most of the elements I’m looking at don’t necessarily have an objective right or wrong answer. The only thing that really matters is that the photographer know the correct way to keyword for the individual stock house.
If you haven’t read my introductory post for this series, on the various ways stock houses differ in their keyword standards, you probably should read 10 Ways that Stock Houses can be different in their Keywording Standards first.
I hope to provide an in depth look at how stock houses deal with keywords, and how their search engine works in order to give their contributors a complete set of requirements so that they can keyword their images get maximum exposure at the site.
For those of you with some gumption, you should read the complete introduction and methods behind these analyses: Image Keywording for Stock Houses: The Methodology.
On to the Results:
- Result: Mixed results. CanStock returned the same results for each set of searches for regular plurals and some common irregular plurals, such as child & children, man & men and knife & knives, however they returned different results for a few other irregular plurals such as snowman & snowmen, ibex & ibexes and couch & couches.
- Prognosis: You do not need to include the plural form of regular plurals, but you should include the plural form of all irregular plurals, as they handle some, but not all irregular plurals
- Result: CanStock returned different results for all synonym searches.
- Prognosis: You do need to include all appropriate synonyms for your keywords.
- Result: CanStock returned different results for every set of keyword searches.
- Prognosis: You do need to include all appropriate variant spellings for your keywords.
- Result: CanStock returned different results for each set of keyword searches for all verbs except for the –s form (which I assume is recognized by the plurals algorithm. And, curiously enough, they did recognize the irregular forms or slept, ran and stood, so clearly they are working on verbs, but they not very far along in the project.
- Prognosis: You do need to include all forms of verbs, except for the –s form, such as runs, bakes or walks.
Other Forms of the Word:
- Result: Mixed results. CanStock returned different for each set of keyword searches for other word forms
- Prognosis: You do need to include all non-verb forms of any keyword.
- Result: Search for the variations of wooden chair returned the same results, except when inside quotes.
- Prognosis: You do need to include phrases, as well as individual keywords
Words in a Keyword Phrase:
- Result: CanStock returned greater results for all words found inside phrases.
- Prognosis: You do not need to include all keywords as individual words from keyword phrase phrases.
- Result: CanStock appears to ignore all prepositions in search, waiting in line is exactly the same as waiting line. I found plenty of prepositions in the keywords of images, so it appears they don’t care if you include them, but they don’t delete them (which is good in case some day they decide to include them in search).
- Prognosis: It appears that it does not matter if you include prepositions in your keywords.
- Result: CanStock appears to ignore periods at the end of a word in searches, but not in the middle.
- Prognosis: You do not need to include periods at the end of a word or abbreviation, such as Mt. or St., however, you do need both forms of Washington DC and Washington D.C.
- Result: CanStock appears to delete hyphens and treat them as a space during search.
- Prognosis: You do not need to include the hyphenated versions of any of your keywords as long as you have the two word version. In other words, you should have both closeup and close up.
- Result: CanStock appears to ignore apostrophes in searches.
- Prognosis: You do not need to include any apostrophes in your keywords, such as baker’s dozen.
- Result: CanStock ignores capitalization when searching.
- Prognosis: No need to worry about capitalization.
- Result: CanStock returned different results for all sets of words and their common abbreviations
- Prognosis: You do need to include all common abbreviations for your keywords.
- Result: CanStock returned suitable images for all letters, except for A, which I assume they treat as a preposition and don’t search for.
- Prognosis: You do need to include all appropriate individual letters (though A isn’t currently found).
- Result: CanStock returned the successful results for all my numeral searches
- Prognosis: If appropriate, you do need to include numerals as keywords, as they will be found.
Alphabetization of Keywords:
- Prognosis: CanStock does not put all your keywords into alphabetical order.
- Result: There was no indication that images were returned based on the number of keywords, or the order of keywords
- Prognosis: No weighting based on number of keywords, or keyword order.
Number of Keywords Allowed:
- By reading their forums I gather that CanStock used to have a limit of 15 keywords, which seems to not be true any longer as I found images with over 50 keywords. So, the short answer is that it’s not clear if there is a max
Disambiguation of Homographs:
- Prognosis: CanStock does not help their searchers disambiguate homographs. In other words, if you search for trunk, they will return images of car trunks, tree trunks, and elephant trunks.
- CanStock has a couple faceted searches: format and file type, as well as the ability to search by photographer/artist, and by the blank space in the image.
- Prognosis: Nonetheless, it is very important that you do need to keyword all words found that are in these faceted searches, such as; horizontal format, vertical, black and white image, vector, color illustration.
While they do have a pretty active forum with the CanStock folks offering up advice and help, CanStock does not have any organized advice for keywording or searching.
Previous Stock House analyses:
- How to Keyword Your Images and Video for Pond5
- Masterfile: How They Search for Keywords
- Best Practices for Keywording Your Images at PhotoShelter
- NationalGeographicStock: Keywords and Search for Stock Photographers
- The Search Engine at Fotolia and How to Keyword for It
- Image keywording and Image Search at Dreamstime.com
- How AgeFotoStock Handles Keywords
- Image Keywording for Alamy.com
- Image Keywording for 123rf.com
- How Shutterstock.com Handles Keywords