However, with the current way Airliners.net uses their social media accounts, the Top 5 is hardly ever a "competition" at all. New photos are arbitrarily selected to be shown to over 300,000 of Airliners.net's viewers, almost instantly sending them into the Top 5, while other, more-deserving shots get left out. If you've ever watched your photo reach the 6-10 spot, only to slide backwards as Airliners.net promotes other photos, you know how it feels to be slighted. And if you've noticed the names of the photographers being promoted, you'll notice Airliners.net likes to cater to their own crewmembers first.The competition for photo views is harsh on Airliners.net, the best aviation photographers in the world upload their photos to us. By getting the "Top of last 24 hours" spot you must be doing something right!
I, along with many others, have brought this issue up plenty of times, but any ideas or complaints have been met with resistance, deleted and locked posts, and even the assertion that since I promote my own photos (such as on my AeroPX Facebook page, with its 200+ whopping users), that I shouldn't complain since I'm doing the same thing. Not really — any photographer can take the time to share their own pics, and most do. Some even have 5,000 or more social media followers. Yet, only a select few at Airliners.net can hit a button and instantly present a photo to a group of 300,000 users, and those images usually make it into the Top 5 within 1-2 hours, based on sheer numbers.
My one and only suggestion that would instantly make the race to the Top 5 fair for all photographers, was to not promote non-newsworthy photos within their first 24 hours, unless it had already reached the Top 5 by itself, or had received the Top Photographers' Choice. Airliners.net staff hinted that this change would decrease site views, yet they didn't offer any stats to back it up, and it would be near-impossible to prove either way. If anything, I believe it would increase overall site views, as fresh photos would constantly rotate through the Top 5, as opposed the the same photos clogging up the Top 5 for most of the day, which is typical when pre-Top 5 photos are promoted.
In their defense, Airliners.net has promoted a good amount of my photos in the past, after I agreed to let them post my large-sized images on Facebook. But many of these had already reached the Top 5, Top of Day, Photographers' Choice, or were old images. Also, the large photos resulted in very few site views, since most users would just see them on Facebook and not click through on the page link. So, how does everyone else feel about A.net's social media promotions? I know a few people have been withholding their best work because of it, and that includes me — after all, why bother when I know my photo will be mysteriously buried by a mountain of other promoted images? If Airliners.net won't try the "24 hour" rule I outlined (and they have made no indication that they will do it), can you think of other solutions to make it more fair? I'm not about to leave A.net yet, but a large element of fun has been taken out of the site for me.