Direct link for photo no longer through my own domain

24

Comments

  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited May 5, 2016
    All links visible to a customer and in the address bar will always display your custom domain (meaning all A HREF). Only the IMG SRC tags will be switched.
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited May 5, 2016
    leftquark wrote: »
    All links visible to a customer and in the address bar will always display your custom domain (meaning all A HREF). Only the IMG SRC tags will be switched.

    I'm happy.

    I'd be happier if the get-a-link page went back to the custom domain also, but at least the above covers what I can't control manually.

    Thank you.clap.gif
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayRegistered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins
    edited May 5, 2016
    leftquark wrote: »
    All links visible to a customer and in the address bar will always display your custom domain (meaning all A HREF). Only the IMG SRC tags will be switched.

    You are right, and it does work as you describe. The other day when I noticed the change in the SRC tags I had the same knee jerk reaction that we were all promoting smugmug instead of our sites. Thankfully you answered my concerns very quickly and I became happy again thumb.gif

    I went around searching not only my site but plenty of others and as a visitor and there is no visible change. If someone wants to grab a link or hover over an image it shows a link to our site just as it should.

    I completely understand the logic of the changes, but I think that Smugmug could have told us about the change and explained it. This would have saved us from assuming the worst and worrying unnecessarily.
    Steve

    Website
  • Case1Case1 Big grins Czech RepublicRegistered Users Posts: 17 Big grins
    edited May 5, 2016
    Just came here with exactly the same thing to report a bug...only to find out it's actually intentional. Oh...

    This is kinda relevant if you want to share a single picture out of a private gallery with someone without giving him access to the whole gallery, which is something I do quite often. Previously, I'd get my custom URL to such photo, so it'd actually help me promote my site, even if just a tiny bit. Now I get a link to smugmug.com which doesn't really help me in any way. I guess as long as I can still manually rewrite the URL and get the same picture, it's more or less fine, you can still get the same result, even if it takes you longer...but it would still be more user friendly if there perhaps was at least an option as to which URL you get in the Share window by default... :/

    This is in part the reason I thought custom domain support was so great on SmugMug, and now it was changed...
  • Erick LErick L Major grins Montreal, Quebec, CanadaRegistered Users Posts: 355 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2016
    leftquark wrote: »
    Great question Lille and you'll be pleased to know it's actually the opposite: since Google doesn't increase page rank for links from your site to your site, having the link between SmugMug's high rank and your custom domain will increase your rank.

    Explain to me how having a smugmug.com photo posted on dgrin.com helps my rank. It helps Smugmug's and that's about it. With this change, I might as well host my photos on Flickr and embed them in Blogger. for zero dollar.
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2016
    Erick L wrote: »
    Explain to me how having a smugmug.com photo posted on dgrin.com helps my rank. It helps Smugmug's and that's about it. With this change, I might as well host my photos on Flickr and embed them in Blogger. for zero dollar.

    I am not sure I agree with SM, but I think their argument is that neither one is aided by such links, as they are not significant in the ranking algorithms. The problem is that, due to the purposely opaque nature of search engines, this devolves into a fact free debate.

    I wish there was some way to do a carefully controlled experiment. But everything I think of is plagued with issues, not the least of which that custom domain links, under the DNS (not web) covers, are visibly from smugmug anyway. An equally fact-free speculation is that Google might treat real links (i.e. to "A" records) differently than CNAME related ones.

    And finally, one place I primarily post, has shifted to caching the images and applying THEIR domain to them even when posted with mine, so the argument gets more confusing still.
  • Erick LErick L Major grins Montreal, Quebec, CanadaRegistered Users Posts: 355 Major grins
    edited June 12, 2016
    Ferguson wrote: »
    I am not sure I agree with SM, but I think their argument is that neither one is aided by such links, as they are not significant in the ranking algorithms. The problem is that, due to the purposely opaque nature of search engines, this devolves into a fact free debate.

    SEO is not rocket science. You need relevant text at the right place (tags, description, keywords, title, etc) and incoming links. If I embed a picture on dgrin with my domain, I get an incoming links. If I post using the smugmug domain, smugmug gets a links. It's that simple. Every little bit counts. img src certainly do help. I've been hotlinking my own images for 15 years and they're the ones showing up on SERPs (don't forget the alt tag!). What I'm afraid of is finding my photos on Google Images showing under the smugmug domain.
  • photoclickphotoclick Major grins Registered Users Posts: 278 Major grins
    edited June 13, 2016
    Ferguson wrote: »
    I am not sure I agree with SM, but I think their argument is that neither one is aided by such links, as they are not significant in the ranking algorithms.

    I beg to differ. ONE (smugmug) is more than certainly aided by such links. Read this post (http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=258208), or simply look below at how, and why, rating skyrocketed for smugmug after the change:

    i-s5LHXfG.jpg

    P.S. I am not discussing here whether or not it was snumgmug's intention. I am simply stating the facts.
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited June 13, 2016
    photoclick wrote: »
    I beg to differ. ONE (smugmug) is more than certainly aided by such links. Read this post (http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=258208), or simply look below at how, and why, rating skyrocketed for smugmug after the change:
    ..
    P.S. I am not discussing here whether or not it was snumgmug's intention. I am simply stating the facts.

    I'm not SM, and actually tend to agree with the idea these help somewhat, so I will let SM defend their position if indeed that is it.

    However, I will say that while I am sure these 2nd guessing firms know a lot more about it than I do, Google is opaque for a purpose. Once there's a commonly held idea that "do this and get better ratings" you can bet Google is working to mitigate that aspect in favor of something new. The only results that actually matter are where you land on Google, not where these SEO related sites think you should land. The ratings Leftquark mentioned for example seemed quite at odds to some real world searches I did.

    My own opinion is that Google long ago recognized that photo sharing sites are rich in keywords and images, and sparse in content that interests anyone other than the authors, and ranks them much, much lower than static content elsewhere. A static page with my image and name on even a fairly obscure web site shows up nearly immediately; the same content (even aided with keywords and other "help") in a gallery on Smugmug will be very slow to show up, if it ever does. I hear the same for Zenfolio and other sites, the "SEO" arguments are not unique to Smugmug.

    I'm convinced if I really, really wanted to work this, I would need to build a custom web site and be pushing it (lots of back links to it), and use it as a gateway into Smugmug.
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited June 13, 2016
    photoclick wrote: »
    I am simply stating the facts.

    It's very easy to look at data and make claims about causation, without actually knowing or the full set of data needed to turn a conjecture into fact. This is one of those cases -- there's one data point that can point to one possible cause, but there are in fact many other things that could cause the rise in Alexa rank. Shifting the % of hits around does not necessarily increase ones ranking. A number of other factors could be the cause of the increase in Alexa rank: the new SmugMug homepages, a few big SmugMug customers installing the Alexa plugin, etc. Search traffic is up 7%, which could account for a large increase in Alexa ranking, made in part by some changes we made to how search engines see SmugMug sites. It's also possible that switching it over is the reason - we just don't know

    I want to caution you into making other people on the forum believe things that simply may not be true.

    It's unclear if search engines look at the the SRC of an IMG when generating page-rank (most indicate that the LINK is the important factor, the "A HREF"), so the SEO gain by embedding an IMG using your custom domain is questionable.

    The real question here is would SmugMug customers, on a whole, prefer:
    a) that their embedded images load slower (move back to custom domain links in the share panel) but have a potential, but not guaranteed or even proven increase in SEO, while also having a very negligible branding boost (most people are not looking at the code for where your image was embedded; they're coming from a link, which we generate to your custom domain), and potentially don't work if the site you're embedding them on starts requiring everything to be SSL (which many sites are starting to do).
    b) that their embedded images load faster (continue with photos.smugmug.com in the share panel), have the same SEO, are guaranteed to work on both non-SSL and SSL sites, and don't mind the negligible branding impact if someone looks at the code.

    I'm happy to do either but I'm reluctant to make a widespread change that makes images load slower, without really understanding the benefits of that change. I'll also throw in the fact that a number of you are trying out Google's new Mobile Friendly Test and how quickly your images load is one of the factors in the test.
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • Case1Case1 Big grins Czech RepublicRegistered Users Posts: 17 Big grins
    edited June 14, 2016
    leftquark wrote: »
    while also having a very negligible branding boost (most people are not looking at the code for where your image was embedded; they're coming from a link, which we generate to your custom domain)

    If you use the direct image link for sharing a single image on Facebook (which covers about two thirds of how I use them), they don't need to look at the code - the domain the image is linked from is shown as an overlay on the thumbnail in large white letters, making it quite visible to to viewer and also, due to the high contrast of the letters, making it the most visible thing on the thumbnail quite often. So even without clicking on the thumbnail, anyone who sees that post also sees the domain it's located on, which helps me passively promote my site. Before the change it used to show my custom domain, now it just shows "photos.smugmug.com". That is of course unless I change the URL of the photo manually back to my own domain before sharing it - which is fine as long as it still works, but kinda annoying to do. Like I said before, having the option of choosing which link format I'd like as default or even giving me both at the same time in the sharing box would be really nice.
  • photoclickphotoclick Major grins Registered Users Posts: 278 Major grins
    edited June 14, 2016
    leftquark wrote: »
    I want to caution you into making other people on the forum believe things that simply may not be true.


    Aaron, it is absolutely ok to boost your rating and searchability. You are a privately held entity and need not to defend nor explain how and why you do so!

    Being just a human with five senses and a brain to analyzes the data coming from them, I reserve the right to draw my own conclusion and, if I want, to share it with others. It is then up to other people to believe in whatever they want. I am always eager to know more and you are making a good point that there might be more reasons behind the increase in ranking. There are, however, two undeniable facts: roughly 9% increase in hits to “photos.smugmug.com” and the change to SRC tag to point to “photos.smugmug.com”. But, as I mentioned above – it’s OK! Your company, your profit, your way of running business. I am not disputing or arguing about it. I also have never stated that custom domain owners sustained any decrease in ranking.

    You are asking to weigh speed vs. branding impact. Speed is important. Very. I never noticed the site was slow before the change. But if you are saying it is faster now – I believe you. So, I am for speed.

    Branding impact: important fact is you now admit there is a branding impact for custom domain owners. Negligible or not – you really cannot make a blanket statement and downplay it as “negligible” for everyone. Maybe not a big deal for you, but a huge issue for another guy. So, we want speed and do not want branding impact. You have the brightest minds in your team (including yours) – can you help us to find a way to combine these two, at first seemingly un-combinable, things?

    If pointing SRC tag to photos.smugmug.com is what actually increases the speed – I get it. If we want speed, then this is how it should work behind the scene. But why not to give us a little convenience, an option. of grabbing a direct link to an image (from the share panel, perhaps) that features custom domain? You are already piggybacking on custom domain owners and – intentionally or not – getting a boost on ranking. Why not give us, custom domain owners a bit of convenience in return?
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited June 14, 2016
    photoclick wrote: »
    Why not give us, custom domain owners a bit of convenience in return?

    I'm reluctant to clutter the interface and make it more confusing for a small subset of customers. Here at SmugMug we've always wanted to make sure we pleased every one of you, but in doing that, we've made SmugMug a lot harder to use for the masses. When we look at how customers use the Share Panel, the majority of them are not using it in ways that expose the photos.smugmug.com links -- they're linking to the lightbox or using embed code that opens the photo to the lightbox, both of which contain the custom domain. Adding a toggle that could confuse customers, without understanding the ramifications of flipping the switch, worries me.

    I'll also throw out the SSL issue (more and more sites are requiring SSL, which isn't as simple as we'd wish it could be for custom domains) -- and as much as you might understand SSL, most customers do not. They'll just get frustrated with us when their custom domain URL we gave them doesn't embed on the site they're trying to embed it on. They're going to blame us ("your code isn't working", "my images have disappeared", "you confused me by giving me an option that doesn't work") and I'd love to avoid this frustration.

    Obviously I want to do what makes the most number of customers happy (ideally I'd make all of you happy), so if the usage of this changes, I'm more than happy to switch to custom domains. For now, it's fairly simple to change "http://photos.smugmug.com/*" to "http://mydomain.com/*".
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited June 14, 2016
    leftquark wrote: »
    When we look at how customers use the Share Panel, the majority of them are not using it in ways that expose the photos.smugmug.com links -- they're linking to the lightbox or using embed code that opens the photo to the lightbox, both of which contain the custom domain. Adding a toggle that could confuse customers, without understanding the ramifications of flipping the switch, worries me..

    First, I believe you and am not surprised, but I am curious.

    How do you know that?
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited June 15, 2016
    Ferguson wrote: »
    First, I believe you and am not surprised, but I am curious.

    How do you know that?

    We collect feedback from a number of sources: tickets to the Help Desk, trade studies, user studies, User Testing, witnessing customer behavior at tradeshows, discussions here on dgrin, and from logging information as permitted in the Privacy Policy.
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited June 15, 2016
    leftquark wrote: »
    We collect feedback from a number of sources: tickets to the Help Desk, trade studies, user studies, User Testing, witnessing customer behavior at tradeshows, discussions here on dgrin, and from logging information as permitted in the Privacy Policy.

    It wasn't a trick question, I assume you collect a lot of information, and frankly wish you made more visible in the statistics. How I use SM is certainly SM's business, IMO.

    I was really curious though if you collected data that could isolate what kind of structure inbound image requests originated from. For example, I don't think you can tell (can you?) if they are inside of a surrounding A tag, where the A tag could lead to the custom domain, and the embedded IMG tag could be to the SM domain?

    Most of my postings go into forums, and there they do not generally allow a surrounding A tag; if I could, I would, as I think that actually is a better solution - the image could lead to the gallery for example.

    But if I had a blog, that's how I would post, and the whole issue would be different there.

    But I'd be curious, if you could share, pure inbound IMG tag requests changed since your change. What percentage were custom domains before, what percentage are custom domains now.

    My GUESS is it was a small number before, but I'm curious how many of those are taking the time to change the links now, after. That actually may tell you how many you are annoying with this, as all the ones NOT using them before (when it was auto-magic) are not using custom domains ANYWAY and so are pretty moot to the discussion. SO if it went from 4% to 3%, it means three quarters of your custom domain users are being inconvenienced to change the tags back (well, +/- old links, but it has been a while and links age quickly).

    I do get the confusion factor of yet another option, especially one that is fairly complicated to understand.
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandAdministrators Posts: 12,993 moderator
    edited June 18, 2016
    Ferguson wrote: »
    ...
    My GUESS is it was a small number before, but I'm curious how many of those are taking the time to change the links now, after. That actually may tell you how many you are annoying with this, as all the ones NOT using them before (when it was auto-magic) are not using custom domains ANYWAY and so are pretty moot to the discussion. SO if it went from 4% to 3%, it means three quarters of your custom domain users are being inconvenienced to change the tags back (well, +/- old links, but it has been a while and links age quickly).
    ...

    I, for one, have recently been replacing the photos.smugmug with mycustomdomain.smugmug when posting photos in all the forums I participate in. I have no idea if it will help my rank even a thousandths of a percent, but I figure that if I've gone to the cost and trouble of having set up my own domain, I am certainly going to promote it. Just a little cut and paste of the links fixes it up for me.
    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited June 18, 2016
    David_S85 wrote: »
    I, for one, have recently been replacing the photos.smugmug with mycustomdomain.smugmug when posting photos in all the forums I participate in.

    Just in case someone is doing it, to clarify, it is:
    https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Miracle/Daytona060416/i-986m2tm/0/L/Miracle%20v%20Daytona%2006-04-2016%20-%20DD5_8000_73834-L.jpg
    
    becomes: 
    
    http://www.captivephotons.com/Events/Miracle/Daytona060416/i-986m2tm/0/L/Miracle%20v%20Daytona%2006-04-2016%20-%20DD5_8000_73834-L.jpg
    

    Note both the HTTPS has to become HTTP, and the whole host/domain portion gets replaced.

    Note you can NOT do this if the site you are posting to requires HTTPS, as custom domains cannot support it, so you must use the smugmug version in that case.
  • Erick LErick L Major grins Montreal, Quebec, CanadaRegistered Users Posts: 355 Major grins
    edited June 19, 2016
    leftquark wrote: »

    It's unclear if search engines look at the the SRC of an IMG when generating page-rank (most indicate that the LINK is the important factor, the "A HREF"), so the SEO gain by embedding an IMG using your custom domain is questionable.

    Oh it's very clear. While it might not affect "page rank", it affects "website rank". I've been doing this since 2001. I had my domain long before SM and could push a particular picture at the top of Google Images within 2-3 weeks using nothing but hotlinks. But hey, I'm not a SEO "experts" so what do I know? It's really not that mysterious. The ones who have a hard time are the Search Engine themselves. They have to bring relevent SERPs while keeping spammers out. That's where the mystery comes from. Spammers are the reason description full of repeated keywords don't work anymore, but the description is still relevant. It describes your site to the Search Engine and that's what people see when your site shows up on SERPs.

    The tweaking on our side means making sure all the text fields are filled properly. One difficulty with sites like SM is that we have to know what field does what. Which one is image title? which is alt tag? and so on. Then you need links. How? First are directories. Fill the easy ones, don't bother with the others. Then leave a trail of links wherever you pass (without spamming). Since most of us won't get a link from the Nat Geo's first page, every little link counts.
    The real question here is would SmugMug customers, on a whole, prefer:
    a) that their embedded images load slower (move back to custom domain links in the share panel) but have a potential, but not guaranteed or even proven increase in SEO, while also having a very negligible branding boost (most people are not looking at the code for where your image was embedded; they're coming from a link, which we generate to your custom domain), and potentially don't work if the site you're embedding them on starts requiring everything to be SSL (which many sites are starting to do).
    b) that their embedded images load faster (continue with photos.smugmug.com in the share panel), have the same SEO, are guaranteed to work on both non-SSL and SSL sites, and don't mind the negligible branding impact if someone looks at the code.


    Speed hasn't been a factor in years. It's not the same SEO. I'll take the link to my domain, thank you. You know what's slow? Embedding a photo with a link to the full gallery. That is incredibly slow, not to mention spammy.
  • bfleurbfleur Beginner grinner New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited July 12, 2016
    @leftquark I'm glad to have found this thread after fruitlessly trying to raise this issue with SM tech support. It seems that no one in tech support is aware of (or willing to acknowledge) that the share panel Embed feature now generates smugmug.com links rather than custom domain links.
    We're also in the process of switching CDN's, the servers that deliver your photos at lightning speed, and when we make that change, we'll also be moving your galleries over to using photos.smugmug.com too (not just the share panel links).

    Now it seems our gallery image URLs will change too. When is that scheduled to happen?

    Also, if we rewrite our share panel image URLs (photos.smugmug to custom domain) will they continue to work indefinitely? I would hate to end up with a bunch of broken links.

    It's frustrating to not be informed of this sort of change. This may not be a big issue to many of your customers, but it is to some of us. Actually, it's the reason I switched from PhotoShelter to SmugMug. I wanted my content indexed under my own domain.
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited July 13, 2016
    bfleur wrote: »
    Now it seems our gallery image URLs will change too. When is that scheduled to happen?
    This has already happened, at the same time as the share panel URL's changed. The CDN switch shouldn't have any impact. Keep in mind that the actual links in your site will always point to your custom domain, so your visitors, unless they're deeply inspecting the source code, will always see your custom domain links.
    bfleur wrote: »
    Also, if we rewrite our share panel image URLs (photos.smugmug to custom domain) will they continue to work indefinitely? I would hate to end up with a bunch of broken links.
    It's possible that one day I'll end up having to take this back, but unlike our competitors, our loyal customers are always the most important thing to us and we try our hardest to ensure we won't break your links. It's our intent to ensure your custom domain URL's will always point to your images and have no intention of changing that. The photos.smugmug.com URL's will use the CDN while your custom domain will bypass the CDN and continue to work.

    For those technically minded, most CDN's don't offer the ability to point thousands of domains to it and handle the redirection.
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • 94lincoln94lincoln Big grins Registered Users Posts: 12 Big grins
    edited July 14, 2016
    Very Dissapointed in switching all photos to smugmug.com rather that linking from my custom domain. Any photo shared gives smugmug.com the seo benefit rather than my custom domain. Any, I have noticed a significant lag in loading time of photos from smugmug.com than from other sites where I have posted pictures and then linked back to my smugmug site. Very Dissapointed.
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited July 14, 2016
    94lincoln wrote: »
    Any photo shared gives smugmug.com the seo benefit rather than my custom domain.
    Search engines ignore IMG SRC when calculating rank, so we get no SEO benefit from having the images served from photos.smugmug.com. They're looking at the links (A HREF=) which are always your custom domains.
    94lincoln wrote: »
    I have noticed a significant lag in loading time of photos from smugmug.com than from other sites where I have posted pictures and then linked back to my smugmug site.
    Linking to your SmugMug photos should always be extremely fast -- it's part of the reason why we use a CDN. We haven't actually switched CDN's (we're very close), so there should have been no time difference to date. It's possible that when we do switch CDN's, you'll actually notice better speeds, thanks to the better CDN. If you have some examples of images that were loading slowly, and can provide us with a general location (State and Country) of where you were when you noticed the slow load times, we can check with our CDN to ensure there are no routing issues in your area.
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • Case1Case1 Big grins Czech RepublicRegistered Users Posts: 17 Big grins
    edited August 25, 2016
    So, just found out that custom domain functionality has been further limited. I can now no longer embed/direct link images with my own custom domain - even if I replace the https://photos.smugmug.com part of the URL with my own domain, which until recently worked, it now gets auto-resolved back to photos.smugmug.com before the image itself is shown.

    This means that I can no longer direct link a single photo from my gallery for example on Facebook with the link showing up as my domain - it just says it's pointing to photos.smugmug.com now.

    This is really unfortunate. What does the Smugmug custom domain support actually offer me now that couldn't be done with a simple redirect I could just put on my domain?
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited August 25, 2016
    Case1 wrote: »
    So, just found out that custom domain funcionality has been further limited. I can now no longer embed/direct link images with my own custom domain - even if I replace the https://photos.smugmug.com part of the URL with my own domain, which until recently worked, it now gets auto-resolved back to photos.smugmug.com before the image itself is shown.

    Interesting. In case anyone want's to see, here's a test (I actually don't know how the test will come out).

    Miracle%20v%20Jupiter%2008-20-16%20-%20DD5_5134_74814-S.jpg

    Postscript: After posting the above, I went back in and looked in debug, and the actual code is still present. Here's the actual code I see when I look at this page:

    i-PpnN3Pb.jpg

    As you can see it has a custom domain, no smugmug in sight.

    Now... the actual reference, if you put it in a browser bar, is redirected.

    And that raises an interesting question -- what "counts" in terms of reference links, the IMG SRC tag, or any redirect it generates?

    Postscript #2: I looked at a Chrome Network timeline of the loads, and I don't see the actual redirect (I'm not sure if I should). It just shows up as http (yes, non-SSL) to smugmug. After breakfast I'll get a network trace but I suspect it does what you suggested -- instead of loading from your domain, it loads from smugmug to get the CDN. Smugmug of course says these links are irrelevant to SEO, so the would think this is fine. I'm at least half happy as the link itself, should anyone look, is my domain. But I still wonder how this "counts" to any search engines that are counting it.
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited August 25, 2016
    Ferguson wrote: »
    After breakfast I'll get a network trace but I suspect it does what you suggested -- instead of loading from your domain, it loads from smugmug to get the CDN.

    Anyone curious of how it is implemented, here is SM's response to a direct request against your custom domain:

    i-PC9V6Jp.jpg

    I am posting it just as info. I Honestly have no idea whether this kind of redirect has an impact on SEO or not. As mentioned, I'm halfway happy that all the visible links are my domain, the other half is just a complete lack of certainty as to what helps, and what hurts, and whether this policy plays a role. I know Smugmug says it absolutely does not matter, and I respect that -- but I also know that Google plays these cards very close to their vest, and I do not know that anyone truly knows what matters.

    I do find it interesting that they fill part of this with a "hiring" message. I guess one way to really reach geeks is bury it deep in the packets. And Smugmug, my resume may (or may not) be embedded invisibly somewhere in the images above. deal.gif
  • Case1Case1 Big grins Czech RepublicRegistered Users Posts: 17 Big grins
    edited August 25, 2016
    Well, sure, it might not matter from the strict SEO point of view...but it absolutely does matter when it comes to "word of mouth". I was able to passively promote my custom domain just by using it in the URL of the photo - it would show on Facebook (and elsewhere) as something that is on my domain and if anyone took the image URL and shared it, they would still share my custom domain - the image URL was always pointing to my domain, not to smugmug.com, and just by looking at the URL, people could still see it's my image and could easily go visit my domain to see more if they felt so inclined.

    Now this "passive promotion" is no longer possible - even if I specifically link the image on Facebook with my custom domain, Facebook now translates it to photos.smugmug.com before publishing (which is the URL it shows in big letters on the image thumbnail where it previously showed my domain) and there's now no way to change that. And as soon as anyone links that image without actually resharing my post as a whole, the information about my domain is lost - nobody will ever know it's my image unless I add a watermark to it (and I absolutely hate watermarks). They'll just see a generic photos.smugmug.com image without any visible link back to me.

    So again, really unfortunate change from my point of view.
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited August 25, 2016
    Ah, I'm not a social media user, so no comment on facebook.

    In most forums that show a link or embed a link to the image (i.e. create an IMG tag), it shows the custom domain.

    Facebook and other sites that do a lot of processing of images... no idea. Maybe someone who knows will jump in.

    Does the same sort of thing happen on twitter, instagram, etc? Are there facilities for a regular text link to show up?

    I'm guessing SM has built a ... wall of sorts, so you cannot hit their server for images, at all, ever; only the CDN.
  • Case1Case1 Big grins Czech RepublicRegistered Users Posts: 17 Big grins
    edited August 25, 2016
    Ferguson wrote: »
    In most forums that show a link or embed a link to the image (i.e. create an IMG tag), it shows the custom domain.

    Well, it doesn insert your custom domain into the IMG tag, yes. But as soon as someone opens the image externally, say by right-clicking on it and selecting "open image in new tab", the image URL is shown as smugmug.com, not as your custom domain. For example, if I look at the source of this page, I can see you inserted your image from your custom domain, yes - but if I try to open the actual image, the "link" to your domain is lost and I just see an image from photos.smugmug.com. If I went and posted that somewhere, people would have no idea the image actually originates on your domain.

    That's also the reason why it is no longer possible to link the images on Facebook with your custom domain - FB tries to access the URL of the image to create the thumbnail for the image and check what's the source of the image and during that process, your custom domain is lost now, due to what I described above.
    Ferguson wrote: »
    Does the same sort of thing happen on twitter, instagram, etc? Are there facilities for a regular text link to show up?

    Well, Twitter AFAIK doesn't create thumbnails for external images, so it does show your custom URL in your tweet, but again, as soon as someone clicks on it and actually opens the image, he now gets the smugmug.com URL instead of the custom domain one. So if he then decides to tweet your image on his own instead of retweeting your tweet, your custom domain info is again lost forever there, which previously didn't happen.

    As for Instagram, I don't think you can actually post images hosted elsewhere there, you have to physically upload the images to Instagram to post them. You can mention a link in the description/comment, but in that case, it of course works just like Twitter - you see custom domain in the text, but as soon as someone clicks on it and opens it in their browser, he gets the smugmug.com URL.
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandAdministrators Posts: 12,993 moderator
    edited August 25, 2016
    Interesting read. Just out of curiosity, what do you all see in debug when you look at this single post of mine with a picture embedded from my site?

    http://dgrin.com/showpost.php?p=2041346&postcount=19224


    What I did was replace:
    [ img ]https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-T45q9PG/1/X3/i-T45q9PG-X3.jpg[ /img ]


    with:
    [ img ]https://davidwatts.smugmug.com/photos/i-T45q9PG/1/X3/i-T45q9PG-X3.jpg[ /img ]

    I kept the https in the link.

    When I edit my post I see the https in the link and not http. But what actually comes through when it is delivered to your browser?
    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
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