Profile: Celebrity Flicker

Company: Celebrity Flicker

Launched: May 2005

What is it?

Celebrity Flicker is a website that posts pictures of celebrities and related images (movie art, etc.). The site isn’t very deep and appears to focus on less-than-fully-dressed women, so it isn’t exactly an replacement. However, it has a single interesting feature that makes it web 2.0 relevant – anonymous tagging by users.

When you view a particular picture, tags that users have added appear next to the picture, along with an “Add Tag!” button:


This is meaningful because it is one of the first experiments in anonymous user tagging of content on a site in order to relate one piece of content to other pieces. In the above screen shots, the user-generated tags next to the Trainspotting picture are:

* heroin
* life
* choose
* actress
* macdonald
* kelly
* trainspotting

Each of these tags link to other pictures that have been tagged identically by other users. This means that the site is using its users to make its content more easily findable. For instance, if you click on the “trainspotting” link, you get this page:


Most results aren’t as relevant as this one though. A big issue with user tagging is generating real v. useless results. We’ll write more on this later in a post we are writing about the recently released Feedster anonymous tagging feature.

With Delicious, users have a real incentive to tag properly – so that they can find the content again later via searching or browsing of their tags. With celebrity flicker that incentive is significantly less powerful and so the results are significantly less significant.

What does this prove?

It means that if a web 2.0 service is going to add user tagging, especially anonymous user tagging, they better provide one heck of a good incentive for users to do it (see Delicious, Furl, etc.) or else they will get bad data.

What about publisher tagging?

Publisher tagging is a different animal. As an example of publisher tagging, see the tags we’ve added to this post at the very end. This helps real-time search engines like technorati, pubub, feedster and others quickly index posts in a contextual way and relate it to similar content (which publishers want and so they have an incentive to do it and do it properly). Further, the links below allow readers of this post to click (in our case to technorati) to see similarly tagged content if they are interested in the subject.

There is also an incentive by publishers to “spam”, however, which is a problem with publisher tagging.


Scott Rafer
bbc experiment with anonymous user tagging

Tags: , , , , ,