July 5, 2006

Flickr Hacks:5 Tips get into "Flickr Explore" page!


As you know, Flickr uses an algorithm to choose the best 500 photos every day and post them on Flickr Explore page. This mesmerizing collection is done auto' magic'ally by an "interestingness algorithm" which rates each photo how good it is. It does by considering lot of factors such as who views, who comments and who favourites a photo. It is not most views, most favourites or most comments.


Here's what Flickr says: "There are lots of things that make a photo 'interesting' (or not) in the Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic photos and stories are added to Flickr."

As I tried to crack down this interestingness puzzle, I figured out certain shortcuts by which you can get to the Flickr Explore page.
Get this basics straight. Favourites matter more than comments. Comments more than views. Not plain views, comments or favourites. But favourites-comments-views by active, professional Flickr users. A professional user is NOT the one who has a Flickr pro account, but who has more of his photos on Explore page, who frequently comments, favourites others photos. Got it right?

Here are those Five tips..

5. It's all about Tag honey!
Tags are everything. Add some relevant tags to the photo. How to decide what is a relevant tag? If you have a flower photo, add 'flower' as one tag rather than 'serenity' or 'spiritual' (even if that is the mood conveyed!)

4.Choose your BEST photo
Select your best photo. The photo which you want to promote to Flickr's Best 500. Keep that as the latest photo. That is, when visitors coem to your photo stream, they should view that in the first page. [How do you decide which one is your best photo? Go to Your photos and sort based on "Interesting" - select the first photo on that list!]

Or better, post it on your profile page (like mine). [Go to All Sizes, select Medium Size, Copy the HTML code from Option 1. Now, come to your profile page, click Edit Profile and paste the code in the desired location and Save]

3.Bring Experts
Now, it's time to invite expert photographers to comment on your photo. Go to Explore page. Select a photo which is similar to yours (If your photo is flower, select a flower photo which has made it to the Top 10). This is to ensure to invite the expert commentors to view your photo. How do you invite them? Simple, add them as a contact. Add photographers (professionals) who have taken some great pictures.
And, see their photo stream and favourite some of their best photos. Only by giving good remarks, you get some ;-)

2.Remove from Groups
Yes, you heard me right. I am so sorry, if you are like me who used to post it in 20+ groups. According to the recent changes in the algorithm (Feb 2006), if your photo is in many groups, it will devalue the interestingness [penalty]. At most, you may keep in 5 groups, after getting enough visibility for 2 or 3 days, you may remove from them and repost it in another set of five groups. It is a trade-off between "More visibility (in many groups)" and "Making it to the Explore page". Decide what you want.

1.Shoot a Great Picture!
Nothing beats an excellent photo. Well, you can bring experts to view your photo. What if it doesn't live upto their expectations? So, take good pictures. Always make it a habit to visit Explore page and learn good tricks.
Additional Tip #1: Post your photo early in the day rather than closing time of the day. I don't know how do you figure that out. But, earlier photos will get more ranks through Flickr Explore pages. [Yea, "Rich getting Richer" theory]

Additional Tip #2: Hide your EXIF data. Unless you want to show your state-of-the-art NIKON D200, hide your EXIF data by going to Your Account page. This may be irrelevant. But, in rare cases, some people may 'look down' at your Camera and thereby your photo. May be. (Not Needed)

Additional Tip #3: Use this 'Scout' tool to find if you are in Flickr 500. Sign in with your Flickr account ID and password to make the job easier.
Wish you good luck.
Got an questions? Post it in Comment, I will reply as soon as possible!

My photo is ranked as 1 while I type this!

29 comments:

JDM A. said...

Interesting!

indoloony said...

You have a great set of tips.

I have a suggestion for you to add. People could use FD's mosaic maker to create a set of their most interesting pictures or whatever. It's a quick method of showing multiple images.

http://flagrantdisregard.com/flickr/mosaic.php

cheers!

Cyron said...

Me personally, I look down on people who hide their EXIF data :)

Martyn said...

Great tips, thanks. 1 question - how do you keep a photo at the top of the page, I thought the order was fixed by date uploaded?

endoflevelboss said...

Funny this hasn't had more comments. I found that this is the formula I've used in the past to get pics into Explore. But recently have not seen Explore as the be all and end all of Flickr. I'd prefer clocking up views to Explore any day!

endoflevelboss said...

I am surprised there are not many comments to this entry. I have found that this is the right formula to get into Explore. But recently I have found Explore not to be the be all and end all of Flickr. I now prefer to generate views rather than getting into the "snob club"! LOL

Mario said...

Great tips, but I'dont know why I have to hide the exif data. In some cases, when I see a good picture, I think I learn when I read the time, exposure, f, etc.

Thiru said...

Mario, I was under the wrong impression. You need not hide the EXIF data - it's a personal thing - I share it.

Caitlin McNaney said...

how do you keep a photo at th beginning of your stream? someone else asked this and no one responded. isn't it automated by date of upload?

Thiru said...

You can change the date the photo was uploaded using Organizer--> Change Dates option. But, I wont advise you to do it. Because, once you bring your photo to a 'new date', your Explore ratings will change as well. Because, explore ratings are calculated based on the date of uploads. An alternate way is to promote a thumbnail of your photo (grab the html from your photo page) on your profile page so, everyone who wants to know who you are gets the best shot of yours and most likely will click on it and may go on to favourite it.

.koltregaskes said...

How do you work out what is "early". if I'm sitting here in the UK, it is first thing in the morning? Or is it US time?

Thiru said...

Wherever you are, flickr goes by Pacific Standard Time (PST). You can go to http://www.time.gov/timezone.cgi?Pacific/d/-8

to know it. Early, means 12:00 am in PST.

Brix said...

Thanks for the tips. Another tip... if you have a blog maybe you can post a link of your picture there so it will also get more views. (That's what I do in my blog anyway).

:)

mik2 said...

tnx for the tips!

john said...

Good Tips All. My question: Can an old submission with lots of groups be redeemed ie added to explore after removing it from groups or...is the shot permanently disqualified...banished forever from explore? Interesting stuff for idle minds. BTW..enjoy your shots.

Thiru said...

Yes john. As I said, the explore ratings are constantly changing as we new photos are added, deleted, viewed and rated. So, the photos move up and down in the rankings when the next update takes place - which is once in few hrs.

Anonymous said...

Okay my final two cents worth. I've been cruising explore every day for two months now and frankly I think the randomness of it all is suspect. Shots appear to be included without regard to groups. I've come across shots with 50 comments, two dozen faves and no groups and they are not included. I see shots every day with as few as two faves and 6 comments included. The only constants seem to be the following: The same people are featured day after day after day. Ive kept track of some who made it every day for weeks on end. Some subjects will get you a ticket in: Pandas, Star Wars Troopers, old Neon signs, Horror shots and if you are cute and female, taking your clothes off will get you in. Other than that, It simply must be who you are. My best advice, Place virtue on not being included and stop playing the game. John

Furqan labs said...

Nice tips. :)

I've made a webapp where you can browse, explore many of flickr's interesting pics. Do visit it.

http://www.furqan-labs.com/exxplore.php

Anonymous said...

Great tips but beware those "fave me" groups cause it's seems now that you can't get to Explore at all if your photo is or was into one of those **Post 1, Fave 3**...

The best way to get to Explore is your contacts. The more you mutual contacts (not one way) the more you will get comments and favs.

I got Explore pics with only 3 favs, 10 comments and 30 views. Fewer than 2 groups post is better also!!

Anonymous said...

Flickr changed the rules not long ago. If you strip the EXIF data from your image, it will NEVER get into Explore.

Also, the unique visitor's (someone who is NOT a contact) fave, comment, or view will have more value (for getting the image into Explore) than a contact's fave, comment, or view.

One other tip: Check how your image looks in thumbnail size. Can you see what it is? Will it attract attention, making someone curious about clicking on it to see the larger size?

Anonymous said...

Not true if you leave out your EXIF data you don't get into Explore. I have on multiple occasions appeared in Explore without my EXIF data. I have posted in no groups to one.

However, I am not an explore whore. If my photograph does not make it even with 26 + faves, 210 views and 65 comments -- it does not mean its not a great photograph. I'm happy with what I post and that is who I am here to please and just share it with those who want to enjoy it or "not".

gizmocrazy said...

for those who like to add to groups...like me....simply add your photo to flickr and wait a day until you add it to groups. I add a photo each day and then add the previous days photo to all my groups.....I find that I get on explore more often this way.

Visio Planet photoblog said...

Nice tips. Were useful for me. :)

Anonymous said...

I have a photo with 5,390 views, 155 comments and 49 favourites - and not a sniff of Explore!

Paul

http://www.flickr.com/photos/42431437@N07/4376468507/in/set-72157624143438553/

RMRayner said...

My record non-explored shot is 24,804 views, 11 comments, 38 favorites! One the whole I think Explore features some great shots, but I agree that some people seem to get everything they take included. Keep remembering "it is all for fun!"

Anonymous said...

how are you?

Definitely gonna recommend this post to a few friends

Anonymous said...

I don't know how or why, but once I have a photo in explore several more follow.. I never tag, and I have less than 70K views and 600 contacts. most of the photos have under 100 views and less than 20 comments..... strange but I am still happy about it.

Anonymous said...

One photographer I view is Explored each time they post a photograph. I feel there must be different people/experts in the field designated to choose photographs each day for different genres. Ex. Animal photos, doll photos, landscape photos, portraits, post processed photos. Just my hunch. Without fail this photographer's post is chosen. I am amazed.

Anonymous said...

i made it into explore with a photo that had no tags, no comments, 6 views and 1 favourite (by my dad). its gotta be totally random. never had one since and my shots regularlu have over 100 views, 30 comments and 15 favourites