Stock House Thursday: BigStock.com
Up this week is BigStock.com. Bigstock is actually owned by Shutterstock, but does not have the same keyword requirements, nor the same search engine, so be careful if you contribute to to both stock houses, as what you have found that works at one may not work at the other.
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. BigStock returned the same results for each set of searches for regular plurals, however they returned different results for a all irregular plurals such as child & children, man & men and goose & geese,
- Prognosis: You do not need to include the plural form of regular plurals, but you do need to include the plural form of all irregular plurals.
- Result: BigStock returned different results for all synonym searches.
- Prognosis: You do need to include all appropriate synonyms for your keywords.
- Result: BigStock returned different results for almost every set of variant spellings, such as catsup & ketchup, and Hanukkah & Chanukah, the one exception being gray & gray returning the same results.
- Prognosis: You do need to include all appropriate variant spellings for your keywords.
- Result: BigStock returned the same results for each set of keyword searches for all regular verbs, however they missed all the irregular forms.
- Prognosis: You only need to include one form of the verb, however you should include all irregular forms, such as stood, ran, and slept.
Other Forms of the Word:
- Result: Mixed results. BigStock returned the same results for some searches, such as frustrating, frustratingly & frustration, and joy, joyful & joyfulness, but different results for happy & happiness and anger & angry.
- Prognosis: You probably should include all non-verb forms of any keyword.
- Result: Search for the variations of wooden chair returned the same results, including when reversing the order of the phrase
- Prognosis: You do not need to include phrases, as BigStock claims that they turn all keyword phrases into individual keywords, though I did find some keyword phrases with images (though not many)
Words in a Keyword Phrase:
- N/A: As we learned above, BigStock breaks all keyword phrases into individual keywords.
- Result: BigStock appears to ignore all prepositions in search, waiting in line is exactly the same as waiting line. I couldn’t find any prepositions in the keywords of their images. And a search for and returns every image in their library, indicating that it is an invalid search.
- Prognosis: It appears that it does not matter if you include prepositions in your keywords, as they might be deleted, but will definitely be ignored.
- Result: BigStock deletes periods, hyphens, apostrophes quotation marks (and apparently every other punctuation mark in searches. I found almost no punctuation marks in the keywords of their images.
- Prognosis: You do not need to include any punctuation marks in your keywords.
- Result: BigStock ignores capitalization when searching. In fact, it appears they make all your keywords lower case at ingestion.
- Prognosis: No need to worry about capitalization.
- Result: BigStock 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: BigStock returned suitable images for all letters, except for A and I, which I assume they treat as a prepositions and don’t search for.
- Prognosis: You do need to include all appropriate individual letters (though A and I is currently treated as an invalid search).
- Result: BigStock 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: BigStock does 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:
- It appears that BigStock has no limit to the number of keywords per image.
Disambiguation of Homographs:
- Prognosis: BigStock 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. However they do a nice job of suggesting similar or related searches to every search you make.
- BigStock has a the usual faceted searches: category, media type, orientation and file type, as well as the ability to search by contributor.
- 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.
In their tutorial for contributors they offer decent generic keywording advice.
Previous Stock House analyses:
- Effective Image Keywording for CanStockPhoto
- 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