What is 500px.com? 500px.com is a photo sharing site intended to be a Flickr alternative where photographers could showcase their best work without it getting lost in a bunch of fuzzy out of focus pictures of blank yards. However, like all things free there is no way to separate the "good" from the "bad" photos and the fuzzy out of focus photos and general photo sharing vs. portfolio ready photos are beginning to crop up more frequently on 500px which will reduce its appeal to professional photographers. While paid accounts have more options, the free accounts do have robust options including a storefront. I'd love to give 500px a much higher rating but the persistent glitches and lack of problem resolution from customer support leave me little choice but to assign it a lower rating.
What I Like About It
- Photographers Created It
Oleg Gutsal and Ian Sobolev started 500px and are photographers themselves. As such, 500px is much more attractive to photographers than other photo sharing sites where management may not understand that the rule should be "photos first."
- Limited Rights Required
Unlike so many "photo sharing" sites today, 500px doesn't require you give away your photos in order to upload them. They do require the right to use your photos for publicity purposes and the right to share your images with others for non-commercial purposes. PBase still wins in the category of photographer-friendly rights but 500px certainly isn't a poison pill.
- Photos are the Focus
There is no doubt photos are the focus of 500px. Large photos fill your screen just about wherever you go on 500px.
- Social Networking
500px isn't a vacuum of hosted photos sitting alone. Other 500px members vote and comment on photos as well as follow each other's work.
- Drop Ship Selling
500px includes the option of selling your prints through Fotomoto via a commission system.
- Free Accounts aren't Hobbled
Many sites with a paid option severely hobble the free versions. 500px free accounts are robust for free versions.
- Paid Options
For a reasonable yearly fee, paid accounts offer in-depth control of things like SEO and the ability to add Google Analytics along with more customization options.
What I Don't Like About It
- The Glitches
First the account activation email would not go through no matter how many times I tried. Then after 500px Support folks activated the account I still could not vote on photos. Instead a note to activate the account would pop up (even though the account was already active). When I contacted 500px Support about that issue I was sent a copy of a FAQ outlining that I needed a photo, first and last name filled in, and at least one contact filled in on my profile. All things that had already been done days earlier. Follow up emails over several weeks were required before the issue was resolved.
- Rating System is Convoluted
I don't completely dislike the rating system. The system is designed to give everyone a chance at front page time. However, the system (although it works) is very confusing for those who haven't taken the time to dig through 3 or 4 links of nearly hidden help pages to find the detailed explanation.
- Default to Show Nudes
Whether you like nudes or not, you have to question the logic of defaulting to showing nudes in this world where one honest mistake could get a person fired if they pulled up 500px at work to show a friend a photo and the into screen filled with nude photos.
- Nude filtering is User Dependent
Even once you find and deselect the "show nudes" check box, you are at the mercy of the poster of other photos. Unless the posters place their photos in the nude category, they will not be filtered.
- Lack of Clear Instructions
500px is very much a "trial and error" site. Instructions on how to organize photos are next to nonexistent and most help must be dug for if it exists at all. While this itself isn't that unusual, it is doubly frustrating with 500px because the site looks like it would be simple. The clean layout lulls you into a false sense of "this will be easy" so that when you realize it isn't always intuitive the frustration is increased.