The future of 500px

Well, well, this is mildly interesting.

Most of you have heard of Flickr. 500px is its main competitor; its original intent was to cater to a slightly more advanced crowd of photographers, the type of photographers who knew the advantages to shooting in RAW, and used Photoshop or an advanced editing software to tweak their pictures.

Less for the casual green-mode Photographer type, more for Manual-Mode photographer, if you need further distinction.

At least that was the original design nearly 10 years ago. 500px now has 13 million users, and the original whiff of elitism has long since been eradicated.

Way back when 500px started up, I checked it out but decided it wasn’t for me. While the photographs were nicer to ogle, and less snapshotty,¬† it still leaned heavily on gaming to build up a fan base. Successful users not only had to pay for a pro membership, they had to game the system by spending hours liking/hearting/whatever and commenting on other pictures. This — or getting lucky and having a 500px staff randomly promote your picture — was the only way to ensure your pictures were seen on the front page.

In short, 500px was not that different from Flickr, Instagram, etc., despite the 500px team claiming otherwise.

Anyway. Visual China Group (VSG), the Chinese version of Getty Images, bought out 500px.

What does that mean for 500px?

It’s too early to really tell. No doubt, it’ll become the premier photo-sharing service in China. VSG also owns Corbis, a photo stock agency, and I’m sure that VSG will leverage¬† elements of 500px to improve Corbis, and vice versa.

An additional thought: IF you are a 500px member, think long and hard about pulling your photographs and closing your account. China isn’t exactly known for robust copyright protection laws.




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