UPDATE: My pal and occasional Photofocus co-host Scott Kelby has also weighed in on 500px. See his thoughts at ScottKelby.com.
This week I finally got a chance to look it over and play with it for a minute and I must say, so far I am mostly impressed.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. The Terms of Service at 500px check out just fine for me personally. The company is based in Canada so they are bound by Canadian Copyright law which is very close to US Copyright law. I can’t give you legal advice, but suffice it to say you wouldn’t see one single photo on the site from me if I thought there was any reason to be concerned about the 500px TOS. For me, it’s one of the cleanest in the industry.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s look at what you get. You get the opportunity to post up to 20 photos a week free of charge. The system is easy to use and works well, so long as you have a supported Web browser. Note that Camino is NOT supported which is a shame because that is my personal favorite browser, but Safari works fine.
The system is sometimes slow to update but other than that I have zero complaints about its performance. The images look great, the rating system is there for those who want to use it, and the price is right – free.
You can upgrade to many more services including unlimited everything, personal domains, etc. for a mere $50 per year. I won’t be doing that right now because the only option for upgrade is PayPal. On the list of 200,000 things that might happen to me today, using PayPal is not on the list. I quit them when they froze $20,000 of my account in 2007.”
The social nature of 500px will attract many people. I think that’s something to be cautiously optimistic about. The images posted on 500px are available for rating and comment. I’ll be interested to see how the system handles trolls. They do have a code of conduct that would appear to put the trolls on notice, but whether or not they enforce it only time will tell. Depending on how 500px manages its community, the social nature of the site could be anything from amazing to a curse. From what I have seen some of the social stuff could be better. The rating system could be better in that you should be able to see who rated your images. You should also be able to disable ratings or block people that you don’t want to interact with. Maybe I missed it and these features exist, but if they do I can’t find them.
The 500px search feature is weak in my opinion. I searched for both photos and users that I know are on the system and was told that they didn’t exist. You have to get the searches exactly right to get any option. This could be improved simply enough.
The various pre-made themes are very nice and are one of the site’s strong points, along with the ability to easily organize images.
Essentially this site reminds me of Flickr only the images appear to be of higher quality (They do after all ask you to upload only your BEST shots.) I think that 500px could be real competition to sites like Flickr. It certainly doesn’t have the speed, power and flexibility of a site like SmugMug, but it does have value nonetheless because for one thing it’s free.
Give it a try and let me know on Twitter what you think. You can see my first few test images at http://500px.com/scottbourne.
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