questionsdo you think the deal "photo finder" needs someā€¦


(cont) There are also alternatives to improving the photo-finder code/software/whatever:

-Deals could just keep "stock" images of major stores (Amazon, Walmart), common items (an Xbox 360), and/or brands (Nintendo) and could search the text of your OP to find something appropriate.
-Better, Deals could let YOU search through those images and pick an appropriate one.
-Better yet, Deals could let you find and upload your own image.
-Best: All the above together.



I've thought this in the past also. There's definitely a risk involved letting people link or upload the image themselves. I always assumed that's why we weren't allowed to do so.

I think at least 95% of the time the image finder finds something good for me. When it hasn't, staff has been really quick about responding to a self-tattle requesting an image.


@perkalicious11: Really? This issue has been happening to me a lot lately. What I WILL say is that 95% of the time, staff responds to my self-tattle and takes care of it pretty quickly (they just did it again with the Sam's Club membership deal I just posted).


I'm sure Shawn will pop in to give the full explanation but I do know that sites that use a Flash (or similar) plug-in for their product pictures cause a problem. You can tell these if you can just scroll over the item to zoom. Sears is a good example.

Staff is pretty good at watching for items missing pics and you can always tattle on yourself. I try to watch during the late evenings when I have time. I grab a screen shot using SnagIt and upload that.

I hate to think of pictures that might be uploaded if that feature was added for the community at large. =\

PS: I'm not on the Deals team. I just help out in the late evenings.


@gwintner: sometimes if you tattle nicely staff will go find a better image for you.


@hobbit: I DO tattle nicely ... I think I do, anyway ... I just hate to be so needy/such a nudge. I don't want to end up getting hate mail from the staff.


@gwintner: staff never send hate mail - well not to me anyway that I know of.


The thumbnail selection is actually something we put a tremendous amount of effort into. The thumbnails are magically sorted using an algorithm that tries to find the largest and "squarest" image it can find on the page. It also tries to eliminate any out of proportion images that are most likely used for header/footer graphics as well as commonly named images used in web development (spacer.gif, sprite.png, etc).

Before we launched Deals.Woot, we maintained a large spreadsheet of hundreds of URLs from stores we thought would be the most common. Our exit criteria for this feature was to ensure the correct thumbnail was selected by default in greater than 90% of our test cases.

There's a lot of stores out there, plenty with semantically weak code. We're not able to pull images in a handful of cases (site displaying images with Flash, dynamically loaded images with JavaScript, PDFs, etc).

If you're having trouble with a certain URL, we'd love to hear about it so we can improve.