Let me tell you a story.
500px. Have you heard of it ? Maybe you have maybe you haven’t. It is in a nutshell a community for photographers. They describe it as a way to share your passion with the world from mobile photographers to professionals, 500px has the products and features to take your photography to the next level.
Yes it does sound great.
I’m going to start my story by saying I have enjoyed 500px for what it once was and still enjoy posting photos to the website and getting feedback from other photographers. This is the fun part and I still enjoy it. The other “business” side of 500px – SUCKS.
2 years ago I decided to upgrade my membership to their Pro offering. I was a bit tired of running my own site and wanted an easy way to have my site out there and filled with photos. So I paid my upgrade fee and set up my custom domain to have 500px Pro as my main site. I loved it for about 2 weeks when all of a sudden I got an email stating what I had just paid for which would still be good for a year would be going away. What ? They came to an agreement with Format.com to offer a full blown website but at double the price. The good news is I had my site for a whole 2 weeks and could keep it for a year but then I would have to upgrade to a more expensive plan. I emailed with support and they agreed to provide a refund and I was back into hosting my own website.
Not a horrible thing but most of my good photos I was posting on 500px and also they had a way to sell my photos so it was a pain to post in two places but I just accepted it.
After about a year I decided to try and again and I went all out and bought there highest plan which included a website with a store fully integrated with 500px with the website Format.com. Cool.
I liked Format for what it gave you. It was bit limited in how you could build your site and also a little bit small it what you could actually sell but overall I enjoyed working with the site and formatting my portfolio. It did very well in allowing me to pull my photos from 500px. That is what I wanted a single place to load my photos (500px) and a way to integrate into my website (format.com). Overall I was happy.
Then about a month or so into my membership I read an article about 500px being sold. Uh oh. Then I notice that the premium plans were being eliminated and changed over to Adobe. Well that seems cool but what about my premium plan I paid for. Nothing until I began to notice something odd. All of a sudden and without warning the integration to 500px disappeared. The store for 500px also was going away to another vendor. So now after only about a month I paid a premium price for now a service I didn’t even want. The whole point was to have that integration to my website.
So I emailed 500px support. I didn’t want my money back I just wanted to be switched to the other premium plan (I’d pay the difference if I had to but it looked like I paid more anyway) as now I basically had a stand alone site on Format which didn’t give me anything more than if I hosted my own site.
This is the kicker. 500px sent me back a response saying they could not do that because I was on a different plan. Basically a form email that didn’t address anything I stated in my email. I was not trying to get anything but a fair transfer to the current premium plan. Their response told me everything I needed to know. They could care less about me and my business. So I responded to the email stating that they did not even address my issue. Do you think I ever heard from them again ? Nope. They truly don’t give a crap about their customers.
So I paid $249 to have their premium plan which there are some cool benefits like stats and stuff but by no means is it worth that money without the hosting piece.
I’m done with 500px and their premium plans. I’ll maintain my pro membership until next year and I will downgrade to the free plan. Why waste my money and they probably will change it again so why waste my time.
The good news is that after all that I finally found a way to do what I’ve always wanted to do and that is build up my own store. A bit of a stock photography store where I keep all the profits and can do whatever I want with my photos. So thank you 500px for giving me the inspiration to start something new. I will continue to post photos because as I’ve said I really do like the feedback I get and seeing the photos of people I follow. Other than that 500px really is a disappointing business.
You can follow me at https://500px.com/trifatletebut to be honest I will probably not be posting as much there anymore.