This may already be (secretly) implemented, but if not, I thought it might be a good policy to partially favor artists in search results that have a better sales-to-inventory ratio.
What I mean is this: Comparing two hypothetical Pond5 artists: artist 'A' has 10,000 clips and 700 sales. Artist 'B' has 2,000 clips and 1,800 sales. Obviously, artist 'B' has a better "grasp" as to what is "good" and what is "wanted" by customers, as seen by his higher sales-to-inventory ratio.
Now, say both artists have a very similar "person using iPad" shot. A customer searches for "person using iPad," and in the seemingly endless search results, the relevant clip(s) from artist 'B' would be more likely to appear before artist 'A's clips.
This would help customers since it would show in search results those clips from artists who tend to sell more, since artists who tend to sell more arguably have more diverse and desirable portfolios. It would also reward those artists who do not practice "inventory flooding" (i.e., uploading gobs and gobs of clips that probably won't sell).
Maybe this should even be a public stat in producer profiles. Perhaps some sort of "badge" or "reward" icon? Maybe those producers with better sales-to-inventory ratios could appear more often in the "featured artist" section on the homepage? (It seems now, that section is 100% random, which is therefore, basically worthless.)
Now, I'm NOT saying this sales-to-inventory ratio should be the ONLY parameter in search results weighting, but perhaps it should be a PART of it. Thoughts?
If it's determined that this is "too unfair," then at the very least, may I suggest this sales-to-inventory ratio be added to producer portfolios, even it it has no bearing on search results otherwise? Maybe labeling it something like: "Sales Success: 85%" or something. I don't know exactly how to reach that value, perhaps it's as easy as dividing a producer's sales by his total number of clips?
I suppose you'd have to throw some sort of time calculations into this equation, since artists who no longer actively submit could potentially throw off this ratio, since their portfolios no longer grow but continue to sell.
But I'll leave all this up to your programmers should this idea be pursued.