500px used to be a great site. Many pros and good hobbyists displayed their work. A good place to get ideas, exchange opinions and improve one’s work. I joined recently, a little too late I am afraid.
Yesterday they changed their voting system without warning and included social media sharing in the recipe. Very soon people found a way to exploit the system and the quality of pictures displayed on the front pages – popular, upcoming – deteriorated rapidly.
Fortunately the community responded swiftly. Many good photographers deleted their accounts and many others posted requests to revert to the old system. The photo on top of this page was my humble contribution to the activism.
I came across this “installation” last year, on the way to the Viti crater, close to Myvatn (read here more about it). It was late August and snowing and the whole scene was absolutely surreal. Many times I asked myself how I could make any use of these pictures until 500px decided to change their voting system. Snap! I am not sure that the installation is still there, but I have to thank the artist for his contribution.
I asked people to vote, favorite and share it in order to make it appear on the top page and show that mediocre pictures can quickly climb the ranks. The response was overwhelming. The picture received a score of 99.4 and placed 3rd in the overall popularity rank. Thanks to this and lots of similar efforts and posts by the community members, the 500px team changed the system again. Unfortunately social sharing is still a factor and this reflects to the quality of the popular pictures. The worst part is that they did not make any statement on this issue. I hope they change their mind but I do not keep high hopes. Obviously it is part of their business strategy and want to sell the business to some social network.
So I think it might be time to leave. I am in search of other quality photo sharing sites, where I can post pictures and receive feedback with genuine artistic value and not in exchange for voting them.
Here is another picture of this installation, introducing the human factor, Vassili, trying to use the facility amidst a snow storm.