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. Marc said on September 21, 2018 at 6:24 am

    I don’t get it … how i am able to get the backed up images?? and if not when are they going to be available??

  2. Weilan said on July 2, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Never heard of it until now, is this a good thing?

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