Unsplash.com - a dodgy concept?

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Abrak Veteran Member • Posts: 4,115
Unsplash.com - a dodgy concept?
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Today's puff piece on unsplash.com and how it is taking social media - Facebook and Instagram - by storm is well worth reading.

The author has been very successful on the site and seems very enamored by it. To quote...

'I receive 21 million views per month (677'000 per day) and 93'000 downloads (3000 per day)....

In total I’ve uploaded 460 images, they’ve been viewed over 255 million times and downloaded over 1.7 million times. Of course these are just numbers, but they are much more meaningful (and larger) than the likes you can get on Instagram or Facebook.'

First off I am 100% sure that these extremely high numbers are correct (in that they are the numbers the website gives him) because my own stats based on 8 photos over 3 months closely match his.

(And BTW 'unsplash.com' is very attractive as a 'social media' site because you dont have to be 'social' at all. You dont have to view, like, follow or download anyone else, you upload and the stats will come.)

But especially in an article entitled 'what I learned' he hasnt taken on board how these stats are generated and how entirely 'meaningless' they are.

And I will show you what I 'mean'...

1) Lets start with the Ops average of 677,000 views a day... And lets take a look at unsplash.com...

But wait? Look at those website traffic stats - 77k unique visitors per day and 387k page views for the entire website (rather less than dpreview.com)... hardly taking on Facebook and Instagram, is it?

And with an average of 387,000 page views for the entire site and 77,000 visitors shouldnt the author question how he is averaging 677,000 a day views of his photos (and whether it has a meaning at all.)

2) But it gets a lot better than this.... What about all those 'downloads' of his photos a day (an average of 3,000). Sure that has 'meaning' and shows real 'interaction' between people and the photos?

Well no, actually.... take a read of this...

https://www.wired.com/2017/05/unsplash-api/

I'll quote the 'meaningful' part but it is good read....

'The company (unsplash.com) just made its primary developer tool available to everyone for free.

The tool, called an API, allows anyone to write a program capable of downloading photos from Unsplash. This spares designers, developers, and others the tedium of browsing the website and downloading images individually. They can just write a bit of code to download whatever they need.'

I particularly loved the last part ...unsplash.com have a free api that allows people to automatically 'download' photos from the website without the 'tedium' of having to browse the website and press the download button. Fantastic. So all those 'meaningful' 'downloads' are effectively being done by BOTs!!

To me the author is really just being taken advantage of. He believes in the 'value' of 'views' and 'downloads' from social media and the website is giving him some huge numbers (best upon a very liberal interpretation of what constitutes a view) and its own 'free api' that lets you 'automatically' download his 'high res' images without even looking at them.

The author ends his piece by saying 'I feel like Unsplash is just the beginning of a new era of photography.' I think not so much....

As an aside I am not sure why dpreview.com is so keen to promote this website (it is the second article in less than 6 months...)

https://www.dpreview.com/opinion/0639527189/opinion-the-future-of-photography-and-the-value-of-a-free-photo

...to me, it is of little interest and....

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