A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top 5

Have an issue with the policies or inconsistencies of a certain website? Received a ridiculous request for your photo? Post about it here.
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top 5

Post by Cary »

If you've ever had your photos reach the Top 5 on Airliners.net, you are probably well aware of impact it has on the exposure of your photos. And with that exposure comes increased opportunities to reach individuals seeking to use your photos for commercial or other purposes. While I'm not all about photo views or commercial gain, I believe the competition for spots in the Top 5 should be a fair one. And indeed, even Airliners.net calls it a competition, if you've ever been fortunate enough to receive a "Top Photo" e-mail:
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!
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.

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.
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
mad_dawg_DC9
Sickness Bag Collector
Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 07, 2014

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by mad_dawg_DC9 »

I agree that the social promotions falsely skew what should be the actual Top 5. It is akin to like-farming on Facebook or the links which reveal part in a tease and then require you to click to see the rest. While I like seeing a photo featured on the Facebook page, there should be a way to more fairly give photographers a shot at being featured (and not count towards the Top 5 as promotional bonus). I have noticed that there seems to be a different audience for the A.net on Facebook as on the site, but maybe it is because it is a lot easier to comment on the former.

I understand the site has turned towards more of a business-oriented model with all the ads which bombard me each time. Even with my pop-up blocker, I'm still battling at least two or three clicks each time I go to the site. I know there are some great photos by hard-working photographers, but the ads have grown increasingly annoying, to the point of reducing my trips to the site. Furthermore, incidents like the ones Cary is describing has changed my perspective of the site's motives, and they sadly show what is too true in many cases: it is who is doing the promoting, not necessarily "here are the best by their own merit."
User avatar
Philly2SoCal
SkyMall Shopper
Posts: 16
Joined: Feb 07, 2014
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Philly2SoCal »

I would think that there would be some way to have a separate Facebook Top 5 and A.net Top 5, both posted on their site. The A.net could be an organic top 5 whereas the the Facebook top 5 would obviously be the current top 5 hits from social media. Not sure if that would dilute the competition of it, but it would be interesting to see if there would a difference in which photos actually make the top 5s. I never realized how political it was.
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Cary »

Ahh yes, Ashley...I'm sure the topic of ads will be brought up in a new thread in the future :)

Unfortunately, separating FB and site views would require some technical effort, and A.net doesn't like making the smallest of technical changes. Especially when they think it's not an issue. Of course, when you're promoting your own work and the work of your colleagues and friends, it's not an issue. I think part of the issue is that Demand Media doesn't pay most (or all) of the screeners. So, they [rightfully] feel like they are owed something in return, and getting promoted is an easy and free way for A.net to do that. Really, I'd prefer screeners get paid for their work instead.
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Cary »

And here we go again, with promotions of newly-added photos (both currently around 100 views):



Both awesome photos, but why not just let the views play out naturally? Let's see how long they take to reach the Top 5.

Edit: The LOT is now in the Top 5 at #3, just 59 minutes after being promoted (1,444 views), and the Mustang is #9.

Edit 2: The LOT is Top of the Day, 3 hours after being promoted, and the Mustang is #6.
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Cary »

This is exactly the point I'm trying to make:

2/8/14 Promotions:

Image

Eventual Top 5:

Image

Nope, no correlation at all. And it only left one spot open for a photographer to get in.
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
Len90
First Class
First Class
Posts: 689
Joined: Feb 07, 2014

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Len90 »

So I recently had one of my pictures in the top 5 and did see it pop up on their fb page. However, after a few hours it was taken down. My picture did take top photo of the day despite disappearing from their facebook. It also maintained status in the photographer's choice top 15 for the week after addition to the database as well as "winning" the award. Both achievements were a first for me on the site. I was happy to get both of those. However, I do think that it was better when you had the people on the site viewing everything as they saw it rather than being sold into a few select photos a certain person decides to post.

In regards to my picture, why did it make it to their facebook page and ultimately get taken down? Was it not a picture they wanted to promote, was my name not one they wanted to have on their cover? I'm sure if I email them they would make up some excuse. For me they can't say I have my own crowd viewing it or anything.

Between this promoting certain images and the tons of pop up ads I have noticed a real decrease in total views. I've never seen an instance where a condensation shot can't even break 100 total views. I've also never seen it where pictures that do make the top 5 don't get comments. There used to always be a lot of commenting on pictures in the past. To me, these are signs of some poor changes. There is a clear negative impact for allowing the photographers the ability to gain exposure. I'm sure a lot of those now famous photographers like Sam, Paul, Andrew, etc can attribute a part of their success to their accomplishments on a.net.

End of rant for now.
View my photos: Airliners.net | Flickr
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Cary »

Congrats on those achievements! As for having your promotion disappear, I have no idea. I only really look at that page when I notice posts in my FB feed or when I'm trying to prove a point (like above), but I've never noticed anything getting deleted (other than the occasional comment).
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
Len90
First Class
First Class
Posts: 689
Joined: Feb 07, 2014

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Len90 »

Thanks a lot Cary!

Think I might have to open up a new thread about the a.net screening process. Why does it seem like my pictures lately are being among the last screened. Doesn't look like they are going according to the upload time order. Also funny to see pictures being screened from later batches that are definitely not priority screening. Seems like friends helping out friends...
View my photos: Airliners.net | Flickr
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Cary »

Well, the most-likely reason for your accepted photos being out of order or taking longer than normal is that they didn't get accepted by the first screener who saw it. It will go on to more screeners for a second opinion...and sometimes it takes up to a day for it to do that.

As for photos showing up early, usually they give priority screening to things like airshows (currently accepting priority for the Singapore Airshow). Not sure if that's what you saw. But now that you reminded me, there have been big priority screening discrepancies that I'll write about in another post.
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
Len90
First Class
First Class
Posts: 689
Joined: Feb 07, 2014

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Len90 »

Cary wrote:Well, the most-likely reason for your accepted photos being out of order or taking longer than normal is that they didn't get accepted by the first screener who saw it. It will go on to more screeners for a second opinion...and sometimes it takes up to a day for it to do that.

As for photos showing up early, usually they give priority screening to things like airshows (currently accepting priority for the Singapore Airshow). Not sure if that's what you saw. But now that you reminded me, there have been big priority screening discrepancies that I'll write about in another post.
If that was the case then it would show as "in screening" vs "not screened yet". I do know about the priority screening but I'm referring to a large batch of photos being listed as "in screening" as seen right now if you were to look at their queue for 2-5- 2013
2014-02-02: 251 photos 103 photos not screened yet 148 photos currently in screening
2014-02-03: 877 photos 877 photos not screened yet
2014-02-04: 809 photos 809 photos not screened yet
2014-02-05: 843 photos 834 photos not screened yet 9 photos currently in screening
2014-02-06: 759 photos 758 photos not screened yet 1 photos currently in screening
2014-02-07: 883 photos 881 photos not screened yet 2 photos currently in screening
2014-02-08: 1401 photos 1400 photos not screened yet 1 photos currently in screening
2014-02-09: 1320 photos 1320 photos not screened yet
To me it looks like someone is getting their friends pictures pushed through a bit early... Like how I got you going on another rant though :D
View my photos: Airliners.net | Flickr
Stewart94
Fokker Fixer
Fokker Fixer
Posts: 107
Joined: Feb 14, 2014

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Stewart94 »

Upload the pics to the pages instead of linking it back to the site. Keeps them separate. Problem solved.

If only.. They're too hungry for the site traffic.. :roll:
View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Cary »

Stewart94 wrote:Upload the pics to the pages instead of linking it back to the site. Keeps them separate. Problem solved.

If only.. They're too hungry for the site traffic.. :roll:
Exactly...they used to upload large photos to Facebook every day, which is great for gaining followers, but terrible for site views. Eventually they realized it was worthless when none of those followers are continuing to the site. [They would have found that out a lot earlier, if they actually listened to what I tried to repeatedly tell them]. They've only uploaded 12 large photos since January 1st (one every 4 days), and one of them was a picture of a girl's back :lolno:
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Cary »

How does one get their photo instantly to the Top of the Day, when no thumbnails have been working? Oh that's right, you only promote your own picture, and no others that were added on that day.

Image
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
Stewart94
Fokker Fixer
Fokker Fixer
Posts: 107
Joined: Feb 14, 2014

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Stewart94 »

Cary wrote: Image
Lousy Top 5.....Horrid Lens Flare and subject too high in the frame. :P :P

Seems they having quite a few issues at the moment :lol:
View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Cary »

Apparently, they are "testing"...you know, only using crewmember's photos:

Image

And here are all the photos added to the database in the past 24 hours. Wonder if they even bothered screening any of their own work:

Image
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
Len90
First Class
First Class
Posts: 689
Joined: Feb 07, 2014

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Len90 »

Was going to bring this up. Seems like this "test" is just padding the views counters for their own. Meanwhile I've had pictures sitting in the queue for 15 days now...

Also reading the thread, they admit to doing this as a test. Also stated that the screen queue has to be done via a search so some stuff will get screened way earlier... To me that sounds like let's get our friends pictures screened first.
View my photos: Airliners.net | Flickr
Stewart94
Fokker Fixer
Fokker Fixer
Posts: 107
Joined: Feb 14, 2014

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Stewart94 »

Glad they kept all of us who like them on FB informed, not even a mention of the issues...Sorry not interested in going through the bulls*it forums..
Cary wrote:Apparently, they are "testing"...you know, only using crewmember's photos:
and they STILL promote them on their FB page! :crazy:

Gotta keep the traffic coming somehow :lol: :lol:

WTF
View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Cary »

Stewart94 wrote:Glad they kept all of us who like them on FB informed, not even a mention of the issues...Sorry not interested in going through the bulls*it forums..
Cary wrote:Apparently, they are "testing"...you know, only using crewmember's photos:
and they STILL promote them on their FB page! :crazy:

Gotta keep the traffic coming somehow :lol: :lol:

WTF
Ha, that promotion was laughable. We're still testing but...HEY, LOOK AT OUR CREWMEMBER'S PHOTOS SOME MORE! :clap:
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
User avatar
Cary
Site Administrator
Site Administrator
Posts: 1737
Joined: Dec 22, 2013
Contact:

Re: A.net Social Media Promotions Creating an Artificial Top

Post by Cary »

I had one of my photos reach the Top 5 naturally (well, almost naturally...got 7 click-throughs after promoting it on my own FB). A.net didn't promote my photo, but then promoted 2 other photos that didn't reach the Top 5 yet, and one of those passed my photo by 25 views, before being cached onto the front page. And they wonder why random promotion pisses people off? Neither of the photos were newsworthy :evil:
AeroPX on Instagram - https://instagram.com/aeropxdotcom

View my photos: Airliners.net | JetPhotos.net | Flickr
Post Reply