Exactly a month ago we made the switch and pulled Unsplash from Tumblr, putting it on its own private servers. Did you notice? Probably not — that’s what we were hoping.
Apart from a minor typeface change (Menlo to Courier), the addition of the grid view, and slightly faster page loads, nothing big had changed from the previous Tumblr version — until today.
Today, we release Unsplash profiles and stats.
After replicating the features of our previous system (Tumblr + Bitly + S3 + a hacked together backend for submission management), our team sat down and discussed priorities for Unsplash. Out of all the possible things to build, what to build first?
Search? Better photo discovery? More photos? An API?
I argued for search since it seemed the obvious next step. Mikael — at least I think it was Mikael — pointed out that it was hardly helpful to search for photos if there weren’t enough (or the right) photos to search and find. It would be better to have too many great photos that were harder to find, than having the ability to search a small number of photos.
So profiles became the first feature to be built.
They work pretty much the same as the rest of Unsplash. All of the photos published are CC0, all submissions have to be high-resolution, and only 10 photos can be uploaded every 10 days. They’re essentially each photographer’s own mini-Unsplash.
Currently, the profiles have been rolled out to photographers with at least one photo on the homepage. More profiles will be rolled out in the next few weeks and months.
In the old hacked-together submission manager, we’d built a makeshift screensaver that pulled in Unsplash photos and their Bitly downloads. It was behind a private Crew login, so no one outside of the company saw it, but we’d watch weekly as the total downloaded photos increased.
4 million total downloads. Then 7 million downloads.
It was exciting to watch. As an early Unsplash contributor, I was blown away seeing my own photos’ stats.
While everyone else worked on their respective #7Projects7Days at our annual company retreat, I worked on building a stats page similar to the old private version.
Search? Better photo discovery?
More photos? An API?