There’s not exactly a shortage of stock image libraries online, but Pixoto is looking to stand out from the crowd by focusing on discovery.

Selecting stock imagery is traditionally a hit-and-miss affair, with the best pictures hidden amongst a sea of average-to-poor results.  To help users find the best imagery, Pixoto uses a community ranking system.

A proprietary voting algorithm called ‘ImageDuel’ is used to find the best photos. As the name suggests, it’s essentially a Facemash-style system, whereby users pick their favorite from two randomly selected photos. Do this repeatedly with enough users and the community favorites start to emerge.

Pixoto1 730x482 Pixoto helps you find the best stock images with a Facemash style ranking system

There are plenty of images to sift through, too. Pixoto says that thousands of images are submitted each day from more than 100,000 members worldwide. We’re told that over 1.5 million photos have already been ranked, and 75 million votes cast. To ensure uploaders also vote, users have to earn credits from voting in order to add an image to the site.

The result, in theory, is that the best images rise to the top of search results. Pixoto says that freshly uploaded images can rise to the top of results quickly if they prove popular, helping photographers see results from the service quickly, too.

When we tried the site, good quality images certainly seemed to come out on top, with a useful set of filters, particularly for searches involving people, where age, gender, ethnicity and  number of people can be selected. There’s also a filter for embeddable images. Bloggers and others can use these embeds free of charge.

Pixoto2 730x482 Pixoto helps you find the best stock images with a Facemash style ranking system

Pixoto counts TechStars CEO David Cohen amongst its investors and is based in TechStars’ home town of Boulder, Colorado.

➤ Pixoto 

Image credit: James Whitaker / Thinkstock