Retiring Cumulative Likes & Views from Profiles

Back in 2013-14 when ArtStation was first being built, we sketched out what the profiles looked like and on that sketch were two innocuous numbers for Cumulative Likes and Views that a user got from artworks on the site. Not a whole lot of thought went into those numbers. Over time, these numbers have caused us a lot more grief and issues than it’s worth. It’s time to retire them for good.

Cumulative Likes and Views are being retired.

The Cumulative Likes and Views counters are the sums of all Likes and Views on artworks for an artist and are visible on an artist’s profile. While they started off innocently, they have ended up becoming a scorecard for artists. It has created a toxic environment where artists are chasing after these Likes and Views and comparing themselves with each other. It’s become a distraction for us and the community. ArtStation is dedicated to the advancement of artists and empowering artists to thrive. These counters have become counter-productive to that mission, even causing artists to leave in frustration.

What we did not realize at the time is that the Cumulative Likes and Views are flawed.  They are the sum of all current likes and views on artworks only for a user’s profile. When a user un-publishes an artwork to clean up their portfolio, they lose those likes and views. We constantly get support requests from artists who are disappointed and angry when they clean up their portfolio, only to find that these numbers have decreased. We also get requests from artists determined to inflate those numbers and want us to include blog posts, challenge posts and other content that support Likes/Views in those counters. The counters themselves do nothing functionally. They have no impact on search ranking, trending, visibility of your work, etc. They are just numbers that display on profiles.

In the past, we have tried to relocate and eventually retire those counters, only to have users complain about it and want it to be back and prominent on a user’s profile. They’re not supposed to be a scorecard, but they have become one. Now, it’s clear that they need to be removed for good.

Over the last several months, we have met with dozens of industry professionals from Art Directors to Freelancers, Recruiters, and Senior Artists. Overwhelmingly, the feedback was that these numbers should be removed for the long term health of the community. These seemingly innocuous counters have impacted our industry, community and business negatively.

For the long term benefit of the community and the business, we’ve made a decision to remove these counters entirely from the platform.

While speaking with industry colleagues and friends, this decision has mostly been welcomed. However, we’ve already met resistance from a few artists over this decision. I am aware that some of you will disagree with this decision and it might even become a controversial topic on social media. For those of you who feel that it impacts your standing negatively, we are sorry. Please know that this decision was not taken lightly. In fact, part of the reason it has taken so long is that we have been hesitant about in the past and it has caused much more trouble than it’s worth. This time, the decision really is final.

As a platform focusing on the benefit of the industry, we need to foster a spirit of empowerment and positivity. Sometimes we have to make these kinds of changes to get things on the right path for the greater good of the community.

Thanks for your understanding and patience.

Leonard Teo
CEO, ArtStation

What’s changing?

  • Cumulative Likes and Views counters will be removed from all profiles in the next few weeks. We want to make it clear that these counters have no impact on trending, visibility of your profile, search results, etc. They really are just numbers on your profile.

What’s not changing?

  • Likes and View counts on artworks themselves. These will remain visible on your artworks (publicly) and are visible on your Manage Portfolio page where you can see them all at a glance (private to you). Note that we are also keeping a close eye on how Instagram handles public facing likes counts.
  • For Pro members, you can also track your engagement over time on your Analytics page (private to you). Please note that these states are not the same as the total Cumulative Likes/Views that we are removing.

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About the author

Leo is the CEO of ArtStation.