PhotoShelter Survey Shows Photo Buyers See Keywording As Vital

A survey of 580 photo buyers - commercial and editorial - has found that keywording is vital for photo sellers' web sites.

The questionnaire, sent out by photo library web hosting company PhotoShelter, asked respondents how they felt about the value of keywording on a web site. Almost 90% said that keywording was either a requirement for using the site (45%), was very important (31%) or somewhat important (14%). Only 3% of respondents disliked keywording or thought it was unimportant.

Just as significantly, keywording ranked as the second most important feature overall for a photo web site, ahead of being able to buy images from the site, creating a lightbox or being able to email images. Only fast loading of images ranked more highly.

Photo buyers surveyed included big names such as Time magazine, USA Today, McGraw Hill, Penguin, Ogilvy and McCann Erickson. The survey was conducted in December last year.

As an overall observation, PhotoShelter noted that there were conflicting roles when running a photo web site: artistic and commercial. Sometimes the artistic impulses such as Flash animations (disliked by the vast majority of respondents) could get in the way of the commercial success of a site.

To view the full survey results, go to: