500px shuts down marketplace

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 2, 2018

Grim news for photographers who used the marketplace of the 500px photo community website for direct sales of photos or the publication of photos under a Creative Common license; the company announced the shut down of the marketplace recently.

Visual China Group acquired 500px in early 2018 and promised that things would remain as is (as is the case often when services get acquired). Instead of operating a marketplace that it controls directly, 500px will make available member photos through Getty Images (worldwide except China), and Visual China Group (China).

500px reveals the motivation behind the move on a marketplace transition FAQ page. The marketplace did not perform as well as the new owners had hoped and the company decided to switch to a distribution-only model instead of investing in the native marketplace.

The company closed the 500px marketplace on June 30, 2018 and started to transition 500px images that can be licensed to Getty Images and Visual China Group.

500px was a very active Creative Commons community. Jason Scott, who works with the Internet Archive, reported on the change on Twitter estimates that 500px hosts more than 1 million Creative Commons licensed photos and that all of these photos are now lost. He published an update later stating that more than 3 Terabytes of Creative Commons photos that were hosted on 500px were being archived by The Wayback Machine.

Users can download different parts of the entire archive already from Archive.org.

The FAQ highlights that 500px wants to disable search and download options for Creative Commons images on the site, and that users won't be able anymore to upload images under a Creative Commons license. Migration or export options won't be provided and it is unclear at this point in time whether photos remain available in user galleries and other places on the site.

The only licensing option that 500px offers for users who want to distribute photos free of charge is the 500px License but that distributes through Getty Images or Visual China Group exclusively.

500px alternatives

Here are some alternatives for 500px users who want to distribute their photos through a Creative Commons license:

  • Flickr -- acquired recently by SmugMug, Flickr supports Creative Common licenses. While not as active anymore as it was years ago, it is still a popular destination for photographers.
  • Pexels -- A photo communicate aimed specifically at providing stock photos released under a Creative Commons license.
  • Plixls -- Similar to Pexels in that all uploaded photos are licensed under a Creative Commons license.
  • SmugMug -- a paid service. You can license photos that you upload to the service with a Creative Commons license.

Now You: Are you affected by the shutdown?

500px shuts down marketplace
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500px shuts down marketplace
The company that operates the photo community website 500px announced recently that it would shut down the marketplace on July 1, 2018.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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