Google Hand Tweaking Istockphoto Search Results?


Not sure what happens that makes Google decide to remind people of their own website when people search for other brands, but when I search for Istockphoto the top of Google's SERPs say "Tip: Looking for pictures? Try Google Images".

What next? Search for eBay and get "Looking for auctions? Try Google Base."
Search for Amazon and get "Looking for online shopping? Try Froogle."

Istockphoto Google Search Results.

Pretty sleezy tips Google, IMHO.


Of course, you've made a screenshot.

I hope.

screenshot added

thanks Wit... I added a screenshot to the post

It makes perfect sense

Of course, if I'm looking for images for a new website, I'd sooner get them off Google images than having a nice, licensed, copyright violation free image from somewhere like iStockPhotos.


i think it's an automated

i think it's an automated thing, search queries for photo, picture, royaltyfreephoto, stockphoto all generated the same thing. search queries for flickr, veer, and shutterstock did not.

Smile for the camera


...of course it's automated:

A person tweaks the script - and the script tweaks the serps. My handcoded sites work in a similar way :-)

I bet we're gonna see more and more of this tpye of "targetting" shortly. It'll take a while before Google is an Answer Engine rather than a Search Engine, but we're getting there....

PS: it still doesn't show for me. Must be the cookie I ate (or didn't eat)

It is not really being

It is not really being gullible

They probalby have a pretty good idea of which trademark names are in the top 400 sites on Alexa.

This stuff is just like the bait and switch Google AdLinks

I realize to Google it is all just math, numbers, money-in-the-bank, yada, yada, but if it is wrong for competitors to use trademark terms in ad copy how wrong (and perhaps even a bit unethical really - since search engines want to push the bullshit ethics angle) is it for Google to create adlink searches using trademarked terms to drive them and potentially not list the trademark sites or any editorial search results on the other end of that lovely trademark link?

Separate the Words Please

this sucks photo

hdsfjksdjklf photo

Now knowing that the word [photo] combined with any other descriptor represents a large body searches and doing something about it is whole 'nother matter.

Woohoo! It's a bait Matt

Woohoo! It's a bait Matt Saturday! [mattcuttsphoto] (all one word) brings up the same tip, so it's just looking for the substring photo in the query. [mattcuttsimage] and [mattcuttspicture] work too.

So the answer to the question in your headline, "Google Hand Tweaking Istockphoto Search Results?" is no. IIRC, we've been doing this for a long time, because many people don't realize (or they forget) that we have a delightful image search as well.

What's really great, Matt... how cooperative you are. ;-)

So that makes the

So that makes the competitive encroachment all better? So it's not news that Google is using the SERPs to compete directly with the commercial web sites indexed? This is not news because it's not just istockphoto, but all photo sites and photo searches?

Last I checked there was some debate about Google image caching images and presenting them... but maybe I'm just remember the old way of the world. Maybe I'm confusing Google with Yahoo!, an affiliatein travel, real estate, movies, etc. My bad (?)

Now I really wonder how Jill's site

made it to #5 for black hat spammer photo? :)

As for Google stealing other people's business, isn't that what's happening big time in the AdWords field as well? As in: trying to clamp down on PPC consultants' clientele and funneling away client budgets under their ass?

So who's surprised?

I'd sooner get them off

I'd sooner get them off Google images than having a nice, licensed, copyright violation free image from somewhere like iStockPhotos

He, he, he. This is the only problem I have with it. After all, SEs have been inserting links to their own properties at the top of the SERPs since, well, I really can't remember when it started. (Extra credit to whomever can come up with the first to do so.)

If it were disclaimed, "By the way, we really don't know why we have this function here as you probably can't really use any of these photos because somebody else holds the copyright. But we think it shows something neat we can do, so we're keeping it," ehh, then maybe I'd be fine with it.

Do your research

It does this on anything with 'photo' in the search, such as photographer, photography or even 'aaron can't take a photo to save his life'.

Search on 'pages'...

Search on pages and what do you see?

Do a URL reference search for "" and you see about 6 million results.

Do a similar search for "" and you see about 84,000 results.

I'm impressed.

I removed Google's own references to its pages sub-domain and got the number down to about 82,000.

The same trick for SuperPages got their number of references down to about 2.8 million.

All I can say is that it's good to be the Google.

Curiously, you get a similar fantastic placement for labs. Woohoo! Well, they have about 183,000 inbound URL references and Adobe only has about 87,000 references.

But wait, campers. Number 3 for 'labs' is with 220,000 URL references.

Reuters only has 947 URL references. Is that why the SERP breaks off to talk about Labrador Retrievers before showing us Reuters' listing?

But that's not all! Bell Labs shows 1.6 million inbound URL references.

Who says you MUST rank on links alone?

No screens were captured in the production of this message. Labrador retrievers may bite the hand that feeds them if they are playing rough. Bell Labs is no longer the mighty powerhouse of innovation it once was. Your mileage may vary. Tax, tags, and title not included. Offer void where prohibited by law, cookies, or Mom's stern rules.


Another good one, Michael. Keep 'em coming! :)

Michael, are you asserting

Michael, are you asserting that Google somehow gave or a boost in our rankings? Is that a serious claim?

it's just the same old

it's just the same old subdomain trick... etc. ;-)

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