Lately there’s been a lot of brouhaha on the airliners.net forums over decreasing hit numbers on photos uploaded to the site. I’ve noticed that most of my images uploaded over the past month have had less than a thousand hits. Only two images have had more than a thousand, in fact. It’s shocking – usually “ordinary” photos of blue sky airplanes would have several hundred hits in the first day or so. Nowadays… it seems to be a pretty recent phenomenon. Why’s it happening now? The queue moved a lot faster the other week, mainly to reduce the length from over 7,000 down to under 5,000. With a flood of photos, stuff in the “newest in the last 24 hrs” became too crowded… but weeks later, it still seems to be slow even though the queue seems to be moving at a more normal pace.
Are people content to just scroll through lists of thumbnails? Has the audience moved on to other sites? I’m not quite sure. My opinion is that the site doesn’t do much to encourage people to actually click images and look. I don’t think people have lost their wonderment, nor has the site’s audience really shrunk – the homepage images certainly get lots of hits. Unfortunately, the site feels like it’s stuck in the early 00s – there’s no slideshows or aggregations, even though the RSS mechanism they have should allow it.
The question also comes down to what you want from airliners. I make sure to keep tabs on my home airports (BOS and BDL and other New England airports) but there’s a lot of content that can be lost amongst all of the worldwide contributors. Perhaps a few database editors, screeners, or site mods could write up articles highlighting photographers or locations? There’s a vast amount of photographs on the website. Get people to look at them! Since more views means more ad revenue, it’s in their best interests to do so.