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Pixoto – A Year Later

A little over a year ago, I blogged about my first experience with the photo contest site Pixoto, and during that time, my logs suggest that this was an interesting topic, so I thought I would follow it up.

As mentioned, I have been on Pixoto for over a year now, and I have done essentially the following:

  • Uploaded over 100 images (88 currently online)
  • Received 115 Awards
  • 477,033 Points

Your mileage many vary…


After a Player/User uploads a file, and submits it to a Category, the fun begins.

Your image is now presented to the world, side by side, with another image, and from there, it is either a “Choose” or not… The ImageDuel™…

Sounds pretty straight forward.

If you start to win, your Image Score goes up and vice versa…

In the background, from what I have read, Pixoto has developed an algorithm that analyses the Rank of each Image, as they are presented, and scored accordingly.

So if a New “Image A” (0-0) [Win-Loss], which goes again “Image B” (5-10), and “A” “Wins”, “Image A” gets more points, than a Win against a (4-10) or less image… Simple.

It’s all about the algorithm…

and over the course of time, the Awards, hopefully, start to appear on your profile!


The Awards are broken up into the following basic groups, based on Time –

  • Day Number (Top 10 Only)
  • Day Top (5%, 10%, 20%)
  • Week Top (5%, 10%, 20%)
  • Month Top (5%, 10%, 20%)
  • Year Top (5%, 10%, 20%)

Each Time and Percent Level increases your Image Point score, as well as the Category it is entered in.

What this means, is that I can have several different images that are in the Top 5% for the Week, but because they are in different Categories, they will score differently.

In playing Pixoto for a year, it appears to me, that the Landscaping category is the hardest to score in, but can bring big rewards because of its popularity.

It is also very important to choose your Categories correctly.

Gaming the System

As with any system, folks are going to look for ways to use that system for their personal benefit.

Similar Images

One of the easiest and most common for a Newbie, is to submit their image into the wrong Category to begin with, and then switch it later.

Thankfully, Pixoto ‘zeros’ out the Image Score when switched, but that does not stop one from submitting several similar images across several categories.

Is this Cheating?

According to Officials at Pixoto, they monitor the ImageDuel™s, and deal with them accordingly.

But with a little effort, it can be easy to find “Top Players” that have numerous ‘similar’ images adding to their high scores.

Example #1 – Similar Images (#15 & #30)

Which was ruled “Okay”, because the background was changed, i.e. a Photoshop 101 Tutorial change or edit…

Example #2 – Similar Images

In several cases, it looks like the Photographer just walked around the object taking pictures. No real difference between the images.

I have also seen cases of several images submitted from a single modeling photo session – no change in clothing, makeup, etc…

Example #3 – Similar Images

Someone who clearly seems to have Mastered basic Photoshop layers…

Additionally, there are countless Threads on the Pixoto Help Forum that strongly suggest that the Points System is Broken or out right cheating.

To be fair, Pixoto does seem to take time to investigate Reports, and seems to have gotten better, but there seems to be a need to improve.

The bottom line, Pixoto’s lack of enforcement hurts the credibility of the site.


Now, I have to be legal, and disclose that I have apparently made money with Pixoto over the last year.

About 8 months ago, Pixoto started an Affiliate Program, and I immediately signed-up, and implemented the code into my website.

I did not see much activity at first, and I did seem to have found an early ‘bug’ at one point (see the Comments section [“Oh S*%#!” error]), but…

Since then, I am happy to report, as of this posting, my “Lifetime earnings” are $12.81 USD, which I have not claimed, yet…

and well over 2500 personal credits


From a monetary standpoint, I am not quitting my day job any time soon.

As an exercise to see how my images compare to others, this is definitely one of the many that now are available, and I will continue to use it.

It would be kind of cool, if they could connect Google Analytics for the data nerds…

Is this a site for Artistry?

I have seen many beautiful images over the year, and some real junk, but that is to be expected.

My main complaint still being the liberal use of similar images.

What is also different, to me, is the general un-natural feeling to the top images.

One does have to remember that Pixoto allows and encourages the User to sell their images as Stock, which might account for exaggerated vibrancy, saturation and starkness, that can also be found on other, more well-known Stock agencies.

If you shoot a lot of Stock based photography, you will probably do well, but don’t be surprised, when an image, that might have been well received elsewhere (Facebook, Flickr, G+, etc), may not do well at all on Pixoto.

By Andrew

A Father, Photographer and Computer Geek living in Chester County (PA).

My Photo Journal of images taken in Chester and Lancaster Counties, including Covered Bridges, Barns, Nature, Fine Art and Events. Images can also be found on and