I've been creating at DDG for just over a year now, and have never seen so few images being made public as I did yesterday. I was doing my regular rounds at the site when I noticed that at the bottom of the front page that the new designs had only 50-60 likes each!
Back in the day, with the old algorithm, it was possible to get a design onto the front page with a similar amount of likes, but it had to be doing eXceptionally well in getting them and be only a couple hours old to get that kind of eXposure. This is NOT what was happening yesterday.
The reason there were designs on the front page with so few likes was because of a lack of pictures with more likes that should have been there instead. So, WHERE DID EVERYBODY GO?!
'TIS THE SEASON~
To be fair, it IS summer, at least up here in the northern hemisphere. People are probably doing a lot of other things right now and aren't spending as much time online. Of course an argument against this is there is an entire southern hemisphere where it isn't summer right now, so there's that! But maybe there are many more of us that use DDG from the northern regions and summer is having an impact on the site's traffic.
THE NEW ❤'S ALGORITHM~
Maybe the new likes algorithm has turned some people off? The previous algorithm was, (in my opinion), far superior. Designs would only stay in 'trending' for 24 hours, (the most popular designs a few hours longer), and, as I mentioned above, if a design was doing really well it could climb the charts quite quickly. It was based only on the artwork and how many likes it was getting, (and how quickly it was getting them).
The new algorithm leaves artwork in trending for 30 hours, (all artwork, I think), and also takes into consideration how many people use the TRY IT button, so it's not just based on the artwork alone anymore.
30 hours is just too long, and it interferes with being able to release another picture publicly at the same time every day, as then you are trying to publish another picture and get it into trending while you already have one there, (which we all know doesn't work). Many people have daily routines and time schedules, where they do things like being online at certain times of the day, and this interferes with that.
Instead of publishing a new picture every day, I now find myself only publishing a new picture every 2 days because of having to wait for my old picture to come down off of trending, and I imagine a lot of other people might be doing the same thing. That's a 50% decline in public publishing for anyone who is doing this!
That being said, I don't think the new algorithm is the sole reason for the decline in numbers. My theory has always been that the new algorithm was designed to give the impression that there are still a lot of creators at DDG. The top designs can still get hundreds of likes because they are in the top positions for several hours longer than before.
But those of us who have been on the site for a while know that back in the day it wasn't unusual to see a top rated design get 400 or sometimes even 500 likes while it was in the trending pages. That was with the old algorithm that displayed them for shorter periods of time, so the numbers of people at DDG have seriously declined since then.
THE BIG PUSH TO "TRY IT"~
If you've read my previous other blog posts, you know I've had my ups and downs with the big push to TRY IT. I understand the reasoning behind it from DDG's point of view, but I also understand why some people actually left the site because of it.
I know that AI art is all about the prompt, but I also remember how I felt when people would use my prompt word-for-word, and all my modifiers, and not give me any credit for it. To add insult to injury, other people would then use the prompt from them and give them the credit for it, even though they got it from me originally! Sometimes these other people would even get more likes on their work than I did, the writer of the original prompt!
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for sharing prompts and helping others learn to create from them, (it's how I learned too), but as a creator I know how deflating it can be to see your work taken for granted by others. It can certainly turn people off.
DDG's big push to TRY IT moves the site further away from the artistic aspect, and closer towards game status.
A SATURATED MARKET~
Of course another reason for declining numbers at DDG could be because of the competition. There are a lot of places one can go to to keep creating AI artwork, and these other places might be more to someone's liking than DDG is.
Some places allow you to make THOUSANDS of free images a day, while others allow you to make AI images that can be far superior to the Deep Dream Generator's. Many AI art sites have a lot more options to use when creating as well.
If DDG does something that turns a person off, they have plenty of other places to choose from that can be less eXpensive, have more tools, and a more advanced AI to create their images with.
PEOPLE ARE CREATING BUT NOT MAKING THEIR WORK PUBLIC~
I suspect there are a lot of people who are still creating artwork at DDG, but are keeping it to themselves and not publishing publicly anymore. The continuous theft of artwork at DDG plays a big role in this, but there are many other reasons these people have for doing so as well.
ALL OF THE ABOVE~
It's difficult to pinpoint an eXact reason for declining numbers at DDG. It could be any of the reasons mentioned above, or a combination of some or all of them, (and other reasons I haven't mentioned here). I'm sure the reasons are as varied as the people who create(d) there are.
Hopefully, as time progresses, we'll see the numbers start coming back up again, and this current decline is due mainly to seasonal traffic issues.
REASONS TO STAY~
For me, there are a few things I really like about Deep Dreams that have kept me from moving on elsewhere.
Firstly, I really like the look and 'feel' of the artwork I make there. I have trained myself to make images that reflect ME, and it is an ever evolving process. I'm sure I could do this on another site as well, but I would have to start all over again, training myself how to use a new system to get my images just so!
Secondly, it is refreshing to see DDG's admins have such a hands on approach with the site. If you write to them, they write back, and they are always working on improving the site by introducing new things to it. I may not always be in love with the new things they do, but I always appreciate their efforts.
And thirdly, (and most importantly to me), I really like the community of artists at Deep Dreams. Yes it's true, people come and go, but the hardcore diehards of the community are, (for the most part), very likable, kind people, and they're oh-sooooo-creative! I think it's the best thing that Deep Dreams has going for itself, and I am proud to count myself as one of these regular 'dreamers'.
I know there are a lot of new things on the horizon for DDG, and I'm looking forward to them arriving. Hopefully they will help the community to grow and will bring new regular users to the site.
August 20th, 2023