To LuckyOliver With Love
I’m very excited about 2008. I know our relationship is new, but we’re going to have a great time this year, I can already tell. I am really glad to have found you, especially since my bastard of an ex-boyfriend, iStock, has raised prices for the new year. (The cycle of abuse just never ends over there, I’m telling you.) I am so done with that, and so ready for a new gig with you.
Before we get too deeply involved however, we need to talk. Undoubtedly you are gorgeous and funny and I really dig you, but there are some issues that make me concerned about our longterm prospects. Normally I charge by the hour for what I’m happy to do for you for free, so I hope you’ll recognise how invested I am in our relationship and listen to what I have to say with an open mind.
For a start, I am concerned that your keyword morals are rather loose. I want to let you know that clean keywords are totally sexy and really put me in the mood to buy from you. In fact, polluted keywords are the single most frustrating barrier for a buyer searching for images. Clean keywords are potentially your greatest market differentiator, and now that you have a competitively large pool of images, potentially one of your greatest strength. For example, I found today’s black and white header image using the keyword letter. It is gorgeous. It is, however, clearly neither brown nor retro. Those keywords do not belong in the tags for that image.
In the same vein, I would also beg you to reserve the words isolated and object to images that are, in fact, isolated objects. This is a routine search most designers run 20,000 times a year (each), and your results are becoming worryingly muddy. This sunflower for example is beautifully isolated. These roses, while also beautiful, are in no way isolated but still come up in the search results.
The word object is of course more debatable, but in practical terms, everything on the planet is an object. If every image at Lucky Oliver is tagged as object, a critical search becomes meaningless. You and I both know that when designers use this term in a search, we are looking for isolated objects. This is a daily frustration in our relationship, and something I’d like you to work on. I’d be happy to help by flagging incorrect keywords, by the way, but you don’t let me do that.
Which brings me to my next point: sometimes you don’t seem to treat me with very much respect. As a buyer I’m not empowered to do very much in our relationship. When you and I go out on dates, I pay for the cinema tickets, the popcorn and the sodas, and yet you don’t allow me to give any feedback on the stuff I’m purchasing. I’m a buyer. Your artists are uploading stuff for me, not you. I can provide valuable information (honest!) that will help your photographers and illustrators learn more about the market – and ultimately get me better images and both of you more money. Get out of the way already.
Speaking of getting out of the way, I have one major criticism of you, and I really urge you to spend some time thinking about changing your behaviour around this issue. When I purchase an image and go to my Downloads History page, it takes me way too many awkward clicks to get back to the portfolio of a particular image’s creator. We could make this far less painful for both of us:
It probably doesn’t seem that important to you. Like the toilet seat issue, it’s a small thing, and just not something that bothers you. But I fantasize every day about breaking up with you over this. It is that frustrating to me. Just make the photographer’s name link to his or her portfolio so I can easily find and buy more of his or her stuff. I don’t care if you don’t understand why it’s important: just do it. For me, and for our relationship. Thank you.
Finally, we need to talk about your communication skills. It’s cool that you’re blogging. Except you’re doing it all wrong. I suspect you have no clearly thought out blog strategy, but if you do – and I’m just going to be honest here, because we’re both adults – it sucks. You’re not addressing your whole audience, you’re not leveraging your natural assets, you’re not telling a story, and you’re not participating in the larger conversation the blogsphere was made for. For all your strengths, you are really failing in this one arena. Which I find sad – not because I’m a blog purist, but because it could work so much better for your company, your artists and your potential customers if you learned to do it better.
I love you, LuckyOliver, and I really do want to see you succeed, so if you want someone to talk to about this, please call me. We’ll go out for coffee or something and try to work it out.
01 Jan 2008 | In: Boot Camp + Design |