An update on 500px

Update on the drawing: LenScaper is the winner, congrats! 

Before I get started, I wanted to clear something up that I never knew.  I have always pronounced the site name “500 pics”, but when Andy called, he said “This is Andy from 500 pixels”.  I never said it that way, and never really thought to.  But, I can be slow.


Just wanted to share a quick follow up to my recent post about 500px and Flickr.  As you may know since I shared it on Facebook, I was contacted by 500px after my article came out, and they wanted to discuss with me.  My first impression when something like that happens is always good.  If I owned a business and someone said they weren’t getting much out of it, I would want to know about it.  So, 5 points for 500px.

I spoke with Andy there for about 45 minutes, and I found him extremely interested in the topics of discussion and the “complaints” that I had about the service.  He was well aware of them too, which is great.  That means Jim here isn’t way out of touch, but more importantly it means the company is getting similar feedback from other users (which itself is another sign that they are listening).  That’s all good.

Where are they headed?

Andy mentioned a few things that “they are working on” in general terms - general enough that I got the gist of where they are headed.  But, I was sworn to secrecy and cannot disclose them.  I hate to write that, because if I was reading this I would want to know - and like you, I hate having questions and knowing someone with an answer, and that person won’t tell me.

But I have to respect their request to not put things on my blog that they haven’t disclosed publicly, because their competitors can read this just as easily as you can.  Being a business person myself, and having to disclose things to customers at times, I completely respect that request and will honor it.

But, I was told I can allude to things as long as there are no details involved.  And truthfully, I am obviously not “in the know”.  I don’t have all the details, and I will learn about these things once they are announced.  So truthfully we are both in the dark until things are made public.

So, here are some things we covered, and all of which are being addressed:

  • 500px is understaffed (keep in mind this is a small independent company), but growing in popularity and trying to get things done with the staff they have to best serve their core customers - photographers like me, and presumably you
  • they totally sympathize with my complaint that the comments like “V+F, please see my work” are completely meaningless and not helpful - and they want to find a way to reduce that (and they have some ideas how)

  • they are working on partnerships to help their user base further monetize their photography (I told them that $3 for a digital download was a waste and a piracy concern for me) - they are looking way past that and have some cool things they are planning, and this sounds like a big focus for them, which is great news

Summary thoughts

All in all, I was very impressed with the fact that they reached out to me in the first place, and that they take an active interest in making sure that their core user base of photographers is well served.  They realize there are some things that can be improved, and they are working hard to do just that.  I really feel like they care about us, and that’s a big deal.  They really want to help photographers sell their work, and gain recognition.  That’s another big deal.  They said all the right things, and it sounds like they are in the process of doing the right things.

Will I use the site more?

That’s a question I have been asking myself a lot since that call.  Truthfully, I am not sure.  The things I think need fixing are being addressed, but they aren’t fixed yet.  I am not sure how good the SEO is, and that’s a big deal (though he gave me examples of other folks who find it to be great, so that’s unclear to me still).

I have limited time to devote to building awareness in the broader market of who I am, and I am still not sure that 500px is the site that I would use to broaden my reach, simply because it is an audience of photographers, and they will never buy from me.

I will say the conversation has made me log in there a couple of times since, and I noticed that they changed the way Flow works, and I like it.  It’s a lot easier, and that’s a good thing.  But, I haven’t uploaded another photo yet.

So, I guess I am on the fence.  I have more respect and admiration for 500px after all of this, but I am not sure if my usage will increase. Time will tell.

Who wants to get something for free?

Lastly, they were kind enough to offer me a free Awesome membership for a year, but I told them I could not accept it.  I said I would not feel good about it, because of the fact that it came up through me complaining here on the blog.  That just doesn't feel right to me.  Plus, I wouldn't use all the features, whereas someone else might benefit greatly from it.

However, he did say I could give it away to someone, and so I am doing exactly that.  If you are a current 500px customer, you can enter to win an upgrade to an Awesome membership for free for a year.  If you are a new customer to 500px, you can get a free year of Awesome.

How do you enter?

  • Leave a comment here on this blog post, letting me know you want to enter
  • That’s it, you’re entered!

I will leave this open through Halloween (Oct 31) and

draw the winner on Nov 1.

Thanks all!