Today I removed all my photos from licensing at 500px. It has frankly become a scam that’s ripping off photographers worldwide. There used to be a time when 500px was all about doing what’s best for photographers, but ever since they sold out to a Chinese company called Visual China Group (VCG) and started sublicensing through Getty Images, licensing through 500px has become a major rip-off for photographers.
I used to earn a fair amount when licensing pictures through 500px back in the day when they were still new on the market (2014) and really cared about photographers:
Earlier today, 500px announced that it would be getting into the licensing game with a new commercial licensing site dubbed 500px Prime.
Announced on the image sharing site’s blog, 500px is painting Prime as a revolutionary commercial licensing marketplace that will “fundamentally change the way photos are licensed.” The company makes this claim for three reasons, at least one of which is nice to hear.
The site is promising not to join what they’re calling ‘the race to the bottom.’ Licensing fees start at $250 and go up from there.
But earnings started to go down gradually as they lowered the royalty rate paid to photographers and later completely sold out. I’ll give you one personal example.
In 2015 I earned $105 for the below image at a royalty rate of 70%.
In early 2017 my share of the licensing fee dropped as 500px changed their policies and cut the royalty rate for photographers from 70% to 30%. In hindsight I had to start lubing up my anus at this point.
Late 2017 they slammed their corporate cock balls-deep into my ass when they started licensing through VCG at fucking bargain bin prices.
In 2019 the licensing fees have literally been reduced to pennies. Here’s an example where 500px sold a license for one of my images through Getty Images in 2019.
Notice how the total amount earned is $0.60 for fucking New York when the lowest amount you can apparently license the image for through Getty Images is $50 according to their own website.
Where the fuck did the rest of the money (at least $49.40 USD) go? I assume in the pockets of the cock-sucking leeches over at Getty Images.
Any type of bullshit story about the photography market becoming more saturated resulting in lower earnings for photographers gets invalidated by the above case where we see that the problem appears to be the large licensing and distribution companies who are possessed by greed and want to live like parasites and get rich off the backs of photographers worldwide. Incredible how far we’ve come from the promise by 500px at the beginning “not to join what they’re calling ‘the race to the bottom’”. As another photographer said recently, they’ve now “fully transitioned to the Dark Side”.
I removed all my images from licensing on 500px earlier today, but instead of removing them immediately, 500px claims it takes 180 days for them to remove the images from their partner sites. So VCG and Getty Images can profit for another 180 days from my work while fucking me up the ass. And this is if I’m lucky, because they might decide to ‘forget’ removing my photos from their database and keep profiting from my work until my ass starts to leak and bleed uncontrollably.
In 180 days I’ll hopefully be able to fully close down and delete my account on 500px. If you’ve learned anything valuable from the above, I hope you will do the same in case you also have an account there.