As I mentioned in this post I did get seduced into seeking obscure Internet fame by uploading 136 of photos I had to tie to locations on Google Maps. And I obsessed about this a while trying to understand why some get lots of views and others don’t.
The most views of a recent picture, under map search term “Sunken Gardens, Lincoln, NE” has 2655 views in just over three days of being online. It’s weird too because this location has a ton of other photos, some almost the same as mine, so why all the views?
And then another, initially off to a slow start, under search term “Wabash Trace Nature Trail, Iowa” has 1681, but three others under same location have: 62, 102, 91, 236. The photos are all about the same so why is one getting so many more views? And there are a lot of photos here.
Right after my first set of about 30 photos uploaded, two jumped up quickly: under search “Honky Tonk Central, Nashville” on a Friday night it was collecting views like crazy, which I eventually decided was just a night time crowd searching for a bar to go to and stumbling on my photo, but then under search term “Great Wall of China” four of my photos collected almost a thousand hits in two days and almost no more since then. And, duh, Great Wall of China has a ton of photos uploaded, so why do mine get noticed (my hypothesis is maybe Google randomizes which photos it shows where there are a lot and it’s easy to imagine such a well known site as the Great Wall gets a ton of traffic, so even just a tiny portion is flowing to me.
But, I learned that my long-time photo with the most views, 237,205 owes that to a simple thing. This is under “Del’s Garden Center, Spencer Iowa” and there are very few photos so my photo was the first, and now appears on the initial search result page (you don’t even have to look at photos to see it). So, really I’m guessing that’s about 40,000 people/year just searching for nearby garden centers and all of them see my photo (it’s quite ordinary, just a shot of the front of the building).
So I developed two assumptions: 1) upload photos to popular location where lots of people will be searching and you’ll get some fraction of that traffic, or, 2) upload to some location where there are few, or even better, no photos, and then your photo will become the one for that location.
So I searched around and found such a location, search term “Cowboy Pass Wabash Trace Iowa”. I’ve walked on that rails-to-trail conversion (popular with lots of people) and stopped at a new bench with a view of the Keg Creek valley and had a photo (the bench is just before going through Cowboy Pass, a deep cut for the old-timer train that went through there). So if you try, the search result will show my photo (blah, but nicer IRL) or clicking on photos will, so even though this is a obscure place, I “own” it and now, in just three days has 49 views (hard to imagine what people are searching for that this is one of the results). I have the same photo under the Wabash Trace Nature Trail (uploaded about a week earlier) and that photo has 62 views (the least of the five photos I put there, remember the most viewed has 1681).
And so as yesterday we headed off to get a dashpoint (our adventure described in this post) the dashpoint was located in a relatively unknown Nebraska State Recreation Area, so search term “Stagecoach Lake Nebraska” (Nebraska is needed as a similarly named lake in Colorado comes up first in search results). I uploaded two photos (note, the second one, not the first one that I wanted, became the photo for the location), so again you get my (blah, again) photo and now I’ve gotten 233 (for one returned in search) and 212 (for one you’d have to click photos to see). That’s fairly amazing, for such an obscure location, in just two days (maybe people are searching for “fishing near Lincoln” which produces a lot more hits than searching for this particular lake).
So, I’d suggest there is a new fun thing you could try. There are a lot of POIs (points of interest, named locations) you can find on Google Maps (just look anywhere and zoom in and lots will show up) and I found a lot of these don’t have any photos at all. So therefore take a photo (like while doing something silly looking for random GPS locations, otherwise known as geodashing) and take some quick photos and upload them on Google Maps. It appears even highly unknown locations get views (and the unknown ones you’ll get to “claim” with your photos if it’s first).
In trying to figure out how all this works I read a story that popped up in my searches, that someone in South Korea got the first photo posted for a popular amusement park and so had gotten 33,000,000 views! How many centuries of blogging would that take.
And while it’s a pain to get the data (have to get counts for every photos individually, my recent uploads, and sum the counts) my estimate is that I somewhere in the range of 6-8000 in just the 8 days since I discovered this little time-waster.
So I’ll show you one of my favorites, which has 862 views at Google and you can try to guess where you might find it (hint, somewhere in North Dakota)