GM is using Flickr

Diego Rodriguez writes about how General Motors is using Flickr.

Here’s one thing I learned from Thomas Hawk, though. He says if you want a lot of traffic from Google Images that you have to upload your images using Google’s Picasa instead of to Yahoo’s service.

Sounds like Google is penalizing Flickr, right? Well, probably not explicitly Thomas told me. Instead Google’s algorithm biases on URL names. So, if you are searching Google Images for “Cool Cars” then Google will bring back images with the name in the URL.┬áPicasa, when it uploads, includes the file names you give your photos in the URL. Flickr changes those to numbers.

Oh, and the melons? They were in the Stanford Mall today. Nice melons, huh?

Heheh. I just wanted to write a post with a cool car photo in it.

Comments

  1. That’s the one thing that slowed me down from eagerly adopting flickr straight away when I heard of it: the numbers instead of names in the URLs. I really would have preferred flickr to use the photo title in the URL — but then, that creates linkrot problems when you change the photo title, or it forces you to choose the photo title before you upload.

  2. That’s the one thing that slowed me down from eagerly adopting flickr straight away when I heard of it: the numbers instead of names in the URLs. I really would have preferred flickr to use the photo title in the URL — but then, that creates linkrot problems when you change the photo title, or it forces you to choose the photo title before you upload.

  3. Robert, to be clear, you need to put your images online in an accessible way to images spiders with descriptive file names, to do well with Google Images and other spider-based image search engines.

    Picasa sounds like it does a good job of that, because of the way it makes file names into descriptive words. But you don’t need Picasa to do it, and other systems might do it as well.

    The apparent inability for Flickr to allow file names with words is a problem, especially as it means people like Thomas might feel they need to upload their photos in two different locations. Then again, most image search engines will also examine ALT attribute and text around a photo. IE, put the photos on your blog with ALT text and descriptive text near them, and they should do OK. But if you have a gallery, and that gallery is only on Flickr, you’re probably in a tough spot.

    The main thing is that you really need to avoid the impression that somehow by using Picasa, Google Images will like you better because you use a Google tool for images. It won’t, nor is it “probably not explicitly penalizing Flickr.” It’s not penalizing Flickr at all. Flickr is penalizing itself by not setting up the photos with basic image SEO.

  4. Robert, to be clear, you need to put your images online in an accessible way to images spiders with descriptive file names, to do well with Google Images and other spider-based image search engines.

    Picasa sounds like it does a good job of that, because of the way it makes file names into descriptive words. But you don’t need Picasa to do it, and other systems might do it as well.

    The apparent inability for Flickr to allow file names with words is a problem, especially as it means people like Thomas might feel they need to upload their photos in two different locations. Then again, most image search engines will also examine ALT attribute and text around a photo. IE, put the photos on your blog with ALT text and descriptive text near them, and they should do OK. But if you have a gallery, and that gallery is only on Flickr, you’re probably in a tough spot.

    The main thing is that you really need to avoid the impression that somehow by using Picasa, Google Images will like you better because you use a Google tool for images. It won’t, nor is it “probably not explicitly penalizing Flickr.” It’s not penalizing Flickr at all. Flickr is penalizing itself by not setting up the photos with basic image SEO.

  5. In the main image of e.g. http://www.flickr.com/photos/styrheim/221365416/, flickr omits the title attribute and leaves the alt attribute empty.

    I don’t know what Google does, but I certainly think it should use an image’s title for indexing.

    And because the alt attribute is commonly used as synonymous with title, I think Flickr should maybe duplicate the title in the alt, too. For the same reason, Google should probably read it.

  6. In the main image of e.g. http://www.flickr.com/photos/styrheim/221365416/, flickr omits the title attribute and leaves the alt attribute empty.

    I don’t know what Google does, but I certainly think it should use an image’s title for indexing.

    And because the alt attribute is commonly used as synonymous with title, I think Flickr should maybe duplicate the title in the alt, too. For the same reason, Google should probably read it.

  7. [...] Scoble tipped me off to this great story this morning about GM using flickr. GM has a blog I find out but not only have they embraced this simple way to reach out to their more enthusiastic fans, but they also said one not release all of our internal PR images and promotional event images to the public as well. In his blog post Diego Rodriguez of metacool has this to say about GM (great quote): Corporate blogging is about trusting the judgment and intuition of individual contributors instead of relying upon a rule-based central authority. It’s about releasing control and rules, but embracing judgment and character. In general I think that’s a better way to market, because it comes across as more real and authentic because it is [..a..] trusting stance is a wonderful way to engage the outside world in creating contagious action around your offerings — which is the fundamental (if often forgotten) goal of marketers in the first place. [...]

  8. I wonder what other car companies are doing similar things, whether it’s flickr or something else. I would expect a company like Mini to do this.

    Also, if they are doing something like this on flickr, I think it’s not long before GM or other companies embrace YouTube to post videos of their products, events and people.

  9. I wonder what other car companies are doing similar things, whether it’s flickr or something else. I would expect a company like Mini to do this.

    Also, if they are doing something like this on flickr, I think it’s not long before GM or other companies embrace YouTube to post videos of their products, events and people.

  10. To add to Danny’s clarification, the comparison is not between images hosted on flickr, and images hosted on Picasa Web Albums, but rather between images uploaded to flickr, and those uploaded using the Picasa desktop application, presumably to Blogger.

    Thomas Hawk in fact is a big fan of Hello, that rather neglected photo program also from the Picasa team at Google, which also supports image uploading.

  11. To add to Danny’s clarification, the comparison is not between images hosted on flickr, and images hosted on Picasa Web Albums, but rather between images uploaded to flickr, and those uploaded using the Picasa desktop application, presumably to Blogger.

    Thomas Hawk in fact is a big fan of Hello, that rather neglected photo program also from the Picasa team at Google, which also supports image uploading.

  12. Uhm, so if you actually try your example and do a Google image search for cool+cars the first screen of results contains exactly 0 images with coolcars (or variants) in the filename, the first result has it in the hostname but that’s it. From this example at least it seems to refute the suggestion, sample of one I know but it is funny.

  13. Uhm, so if you actually try your example and do a Google image search for cool+cars the first screen of results contains exactly 0 images with coolcars (or variants) in the filename, the first result has it in the hostname but that’s it. From this example at least it seems to refute the suggestion, sample of one I know but it is funny.