All About Content

Image Hover Text

Posted by Melanie Phung on Sunday, February 11, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Random tidbit: Most people know that if you hover your cursor over an image on a web page, more often than not a little bit of text appears describing the image. That description is called the hover text. And many people know that the way to specify that text is to use what’s called an image alt tag (with the “attribute” being the value you assign to the tag). The same thing for link titles when you hover over a text hyperlink.

If you link an image and assign an alt attribute to the image AND a title attribute to the <> tag, one of them has to take precedence. In IE6, it’s the alt tag that displays when you mouse over the linked image; in Firefox it’s the link title that shows up as the hover text.

Updated March 20, 2007: More on the uses and abuses of the link title attribute via a Crea8asite discussion.

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Category: Images

Achieving Interestingness

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 10:31 pm

More about Flickr…
Today I was doing a vanity search and found a this on the fourth page:

I had just seen the Flickr Explore page and my name certainly wasn’t on it. So why would this page come up for a query on my name? Could it be? Did one of my photos make it onto the Explore homepage without my knowing it? Did Googlebot then crawl that page during that fleeting moment before the photo dropped back into obscurity? Yep, according to Google’s cache of the page.

Check it out yo — That’s my photo!

Melanie Phung's photo on the Explore page

Which also explains the high number of “favorites” the photo got soon after I posted. A ton of people saw the photo highlighted, were predisposed to mark it as a favorite, which played into a self-reinforcing cycle. After the initial high ranking, however, the photo has been dropping down the Interestingness list, where it will soon hang out in obscurity like my other photos, alas.

A fun case study in how Flickr’s Interestingness algorithm works, though. Not to mention the serendipity of Google caching the version with my photo on it, and then my finding it in the SERPs before the cache got overwritten at the next crawl.

What a wonderful thing Google cache is.

Go to Google’s cache of the Explore homepage or directly to the photo — if you have any interest whatsoever in my little self-congratulatory indulgence, that is.

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Category: Flickr,Images,Navel-Gazing

Flickr’s Interestingness Algorithm

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 9:01 pm

I have a problem with Flickr. Not in the “hey, I have a beef with you” sort of way, but in the “Hi, my name is Melanie and I have an addiction” sort of way. It all started when my boss asked if we could use Flickr to somehow boost our search engine rankings either in natural search or in image search specifically.

To make a long story short, I’ve had only moderate success in figuring out how to use Flickr to promote commercial products (short of engaging in anything spammy), but have gotten really engrossed in the photo sharing site for my own photography.

Flickr has an algorithm for determining “Interestingness,” which in turn determines which photos are shown in their Explore section where visitors are encouraged to browse “some of the most awesome photos on Flickr.”

To be in Explore, a photo needs to be among the Top 500. The top photo gets displayed on the Explore homepage, and some number of them appear on the page of this week’s interesting photos. The rest you’d have to dig through the calendar to find.

Melanie Phung in Explore

Being number one, naturally, is what those of us with competitive natures strive for — it gives you exposure, traffic and kudos from the Flickr community. Unlike ranking second and third in a traditional Google or Yahoo search, there doesn’t seem to be much advantage to trailing behind. Except of course bragging rights. Ahh, bragging rights. And entrance into the mutual admiration societies where everyone pats everyone else on the back for being in the Top 10, Top 50, Top 100, etc.

And I admit, I’m a Flickr algoholic and I want those bragging rights. So in addition to figuring out the Google algorithm, the Google Image algorithm, the Yahoo (ahem) “algorithm” I am now in pursuit of the secret recipe of Flickr’s Interestingness algo.

There are a couple of things I’ve observed.

Factors Determining if Your Photo Gets Into Flickr Explore:

  1. Number of people who mark the photo as one of their “favorite”
  2. Reputation of the people who mark your photo as one of their favorites (i.e., how popular their own photos are)
  3. The rate at which your photo accumulates comments and “favorites”
  4. The number of pools to which you’ve submitted the photo (too many can hurt your rankings)
  5. Ratio of views to favorites
  6. An odd secret sauce recipe that causes rankings to jump around dramatically within the space of several days — dropping out completely only to reappear near the top, and that sort of thing. To be sussed out …

But here I’m only talking about Flickr’s algorithm within its own self-contained world, not what Flickr popularity can do for you as part of an overall SEO strategy.

As for any tricks and tips I might have for image search optimization for actual search engines… I’m not ready to reveal what’s up my sleeve just yet, but I predict social search optimization overall is going to be an interesting niche to watch.

Read more tips and secrets of Flickr Explore/Interestingness.

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Category: Flickr,Images

Ruling: Image Search Violates Copyright

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, February 23, 2006 at 10:55 pm

A federal court has ruled that Google’s image search violates the copyrights of Perfect 10 Inc. by displaying thumbnails of images from the publisher’s website in the search results.

The argument that showing thumbnails in search results constitutes copyright infringement is similar to previous arguments leveled at Google Print — namely that search engines shouldn’t be able to display book snippets in the SERPs because that is the same as “republishing” copyrighted content.

The difference is that the intent of Google Print (aka Google Books) was to take content that did not exist online, whose authors had no intent of putting on the Web, and scan it in order to display those snippets. In this case, Perfect 10 Inc was disputing thumbnail displays of photos it presumably wants people to find, but only directly on its website and for a fee.

The ruling could prevent Google from featuring thumbnail pictures, but not limit Google from linking to actual photos which exist on other Web sites. Google expects to appeal an injunction if the judge issues one, the Mountain View, California-based company’s litigation counsel Michael Kwun said in a statement.

Kwun tries to reassure us: “We anticipate that any preliminary injunction will have no effect on the vast majority of image searches, and will affect only searches related to Perfect 10.”

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Category: Images,Intellectual Property

Images Showing Up in Main Results for Vanity Search

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 at 12:23 pm

In the last two weeks, an interesting thing has happened with my vanity searches. A Google search on my name has been pulling image results. This confounds me, as most searches on proper names don’t pull images, for one. For two, why now? Three, why these particular pictures?

When you click on the “image results for melanie phung” link, it takes you to the same set of thumbnails that would have been displayed if you had conducted a Google Image search, and the first three thumbnails are the ones that were displayed on the standard search results page.

Update February 8, 2006:
The images are gone again.

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Category: Flickr,Images