Unexplained increase in Flickr visitors
December 16, 2010 12:59 AM   Subscribe

My Flickr account is totally not popular, and for good reason. It's mostly just a bunch of photos for my parents to look at and I average about 1 visit per day at best.. I looked at my stats recently and, for some reason, 522 people looked at photos, mostly referred from Flickr. WTF? How do I figure out what happened?
posted by Foam Pants to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you enabled Flickr stats?
posted by kaszeta at 1:41 AM on December 16, 2010

Were any pictures more viewed than any others? Have you added any pictures recently and, if so, could any of the tags be something that other users were searching for? If squinted at, do any of your thumbnails look like nudity?
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:45 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Could something like this have happened?
posted by foursentences at 1:50 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you see flickr.com under the Domains heading on your stats page, click it and it will take you to a list called Linked From. Sometimes this will give a hint -- for example, if you added any of your photos to any Flickr groups -- or it will also say flickr.com. You can then click flickr.com again and it will expand a list of referrals. There you can see if someone clicked on your photo after searching for a term, or if someone clicked your photo in the "This photo also appears in" list of a Flickr group.

I know I sometimes get random hits from flickr.com/photos, which shows recently uploaded photos from everyone. I also sometimes get random hits if I tag a photo with something really generic, like "cat". This tends to happen very shortly after I upload a photo of my cat, so I think it's probably a person searching with their results sorted by "recent".
posted by neushoorn at 1:57 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Corroborating what foursentences said, I posted some pictures on my blog of the senior streak day at my college, and one day those pictures suddenly got a shitton of hits from a website for fetishists who were aroused by the idea naked men with small penises being observed by clothed women. Yes, the theme of the website was that specific. Rule 34.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:45 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

In a non-porn example, do you have a picture of a pet? a cat? I have a really crummy picture of my cat sitting on a table I refinished in my flickr that inexplicably gets 80% of my traffic. There are much better pictures of my cat on the site, but it's that one that gets all the attention. Who knows?
posted by Caravantea at 3:00 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Try updating your photo description to ask someone to explain where they found the link. I had a similar weird situation and had been linked from someone's popular blog.
posted by handful of rain at 3:24 AM on December 16, 2010

Perhaps one of your images shows up prominently high on a Google Image Search for a common set of keywods? It can snowball from there.
posted by elgilito at 4:42 AM on December 16, 2010

In the comment of mine that foursentences linked to, I forgot to mention that it was Flickr that I posted my photos to. I tracked down the huge spike in hits on my cast photos via Flickr's stats.

Same thing happened with another photo of mine, which was featured in the "Hot Pockets" section of passiveaggressivenotes.com. And here I just thought I was showing a "DON'T STEAL MY HOT POCKETS" office fridge sign to a few friends.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 5:01 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hmm. You have pictures of your dog, books, fungi, berries, graphic designs you've done, and your kids, among other things. I could see all of those being potential draws to various audiences.
posted by limeonaire at 5:49 AM on December 16, 2010

If it is not one photo that has all the hits but it is spread over most of them for one day it might be that someone you knew happened across your flickr account and decided to look at all your photos. I've had this happen where I see a big spike and think maybe some blog linked to a picture, but instead it is a lot of pictures with just one view. In this case the common referrer is flickr.com because they are going from one picture to another using the thumbnails.

I'm was disappointed with the stats when I signed up for flickr pro. Too often I do have a picture that gets a spike in hits but the referrer report simply says "Unknown Source" so I am none the wiser.
posted by mikepop at 5:59 AM on December 16, 2010

Best answer: If people hotlink to your images [tougher with the redesign but not impossible] it can be hard to figure this sort of thing out. If you really want to mess with it, you can get the URL for the actual photo itself which will have a URL something like this


and type that into Google. This rarely works but if it's a big uptick in hits, it might. I've found when this sort of thing happens, it's for weird and random reasons. Usually because I'm on some odd fetish site or group or something, usually for feet/socks. As an example, this photo recently got favorited and when I looked at the guy's other favorites.... [only sort of safe for work]

If people are favoriting, they're usually coming to the photo from Flickr. If not, it may be that someone used your image someplace else. Sometimes really popular tags, especially around holidaytime, get a bunch of views, so people might be checking out last year's christmas tree or christmas cookies because they found them via tags [and are looking at thousands at a time] and not normal clicking around. YOu can also use this tool to see if maybe one of your photos was featured in Explore or check out the blog to see if a photo got featured there.
posted by jessamyn at 7:57 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is there a hot girl in one? I once posted a picture of my hot friend and over the course of a week, it generated hundreds of hits.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:08 AM on December 16, 2010

Response by poster: I recently added two images of a desk I am giving away on my local freecycle. There are about 20-30 active members. Using neushoorn's directions, I was able to track down that about 27 of the hits came in from my posting and several more from various email clients. Those people then stuck around for a while and looked at more images. This probably explains the hits. I have to say that the sheer numbers are crazy. Who knew there were people who like photos of odd fungi?
posted by Foam Pants at 3:33 PM on December 16, 2010

I think there's something wacky going on with the way Flickr counts views. I recently had a photo I'd set to friends and family only get 88 views, when my photos usually get one or two views. I've been trying to get Flickr to find out what happened -- it's not a photo I want circulated, so I'm concerned -- and they're not at all helpful.

(41% of the hits come from "unknown source" in my case, and another chunk comes -- according to Flickr -- from someone who I've never met, who isn't one of my contacts, and who shouldn't be seeing a "friends and family" photo.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:48 PM on December 17, 2010

corpse: This may have changed, but if you have a photo that is freinds/family that is also posted to ... a group I think? then the photo is also viewable to the group, it gives the group access to photos that wouldn't otherwise be accessible to them. Not sure if this is true about badges or galleries. So a friend or family member could still get the photo's URL and send it around and people would be able to view just the bare photo without the protective Flickr shield around it that restricts it to friends/family. These views would count and you'd see them in your stats. If you post these photos to a blog or facebook a similar thing happens.
posted by jessamyn at 1:23 PM on December 17, 2010

Not to hijack, but I don't think that's what happened in my case. It wasn't an interesting photo -- just one of my kids, doing nothing remarkable.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:59 PM on December 17, 2010

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