What is Flickr Scout?
To understand Flickr Scout, you most first understand what Flickr Explore is. Everyday Flickr chooses 500 images from its database that it deems to be the most interesting. These images are selected by a computer using a secret algorithm called Interestingness. This algorithm is updated frequently to keep variety in the images.
Flickr Explore is designed to benefit viewers instead of creators. It's designed so that a user on the site can instantly view what has been deemed as interesting, high quality material at anytime they want. The selection of the photos is meant to be as diverse as possible so that it can appeal to a large audience. It's designed as a sampling of the material of the site.
The Interestingness algorithm is not a random formula. There are a number of factors that go into what makes a photo interesting including, the number of tags it has, the number of groups it belongs to, how many people have viewed the image, and how many people have favorited it. The algorithm is changed frequently for two reasons: to get the best photos possible and to keep the author's fresh and diverse.
Since Explore is updated on a daily basis, a photo that you've had a lot of success with may not make Explore while something you uploaded a month later that was not as successful may get selected. That's because photos are selected by how well they do daily and their success over a long period of time is not a factor to interestingness.
Please note that the Explore page is constantly changing. An image may be on the page in the morning and then lose it's ranking in the afternoon. Explore's 500 images are not official until the end of the day at mid night so it is possible that an image you uploaded was briefly on Explore, but did not make the official 500 list.
Because Explore is designed to benefit viewers over creators you may be unaware that your photo was selected. In fact, the only clue you may have is a spike in comments. This is where Scout comes in. Flickr Scout will scan the explore database for your images.
Beginning with yesterday's images Scout can access the Explore database and find out what the official 500 images where up to August 2004. Scout can then tell you which of your images where in Explore on what days.
Please note that the only people who fully understand how Explore works is the Flickr staff. That being said, Scout is accurate but not perfect. There are a few factors that go into linking your photographs to Explore from Scout and if something is a little off errors can happen.