Photo Sharing Websites Don't Get It

There are very few photo web sharing sites that understand why we use their sites, but one or two do.  There are predominately two types of photographers using these sites. 

1.  Those who are looking for a home for all their photographs to act as a portfolio.

2.  Those who are looking for social exposure to their photographs.

Now some of us may not be in either camp, but most of us fall more into one than the other.

So where am I going with all this?

I am going to postulate that there is a general flaw with sites like Flickr, View Bug, 500px and so forth.  That is they are free to use for basic uploading, but have some serious limitations on social exposure and make you pay for maximum social exposure.

I will further postulate that most serious photographers are looking predominantly for social exposure, and more than just a home for their portfolio. Therein lies the rub as they say.  If all they want is a home for their photography, they would just rent a site at Square Space and be done.  To further complicate the issue, having all your images on just one social media outlet doesn't give one the exposure he may need.  

So, the photo sharing site is hoping to make money because servers are expensive. I totally get that proposition, but at the same time, they have to realize that we would be paying for several of these sites to get maximum exposure and that is a drag economically to an already expensive career or hobby that isn't as lucrative as it was in the late 1990s.  

Sure, there are always going to be people willing to pay, but these sites were designed for the masses and I think the pay to play model is woefully lacking.  Not only that, but you pay and they make no promises as to what kind of exposure you are going to receive.  Is this a fair model for both?  I don't know and I don't really have the answer to the problem, but I know this isn't it.

ViewBug has perhaps the most interesting model of them all.  Paying to play here puts you into various competitions with the off chance to win a camera or some such thing.  I have to say as of late the prizes are getting pretty weak, but the concept is interesting to say the least.

So, if I were to add up the sites I would like to pay to play on, the cost would currently break down like this.

ViewBug - 6.99 per month

500px - 5.99 per month
Flickr - 5.99 per month

Personal Website - 10.00 per month on average

That totals to 28.97 per month.  This doesn't include rental of domains, email and so forth. And don't even get me started on Facebook and Instagram.  They are charging 5 to 10 dollars a pop for boosting posts. On top of that we spend thousands on equipment just to get into photography.  

So let me leave you with this.  If you are doing this, do you feel like you have been rewarded?  If you are not doing it but are thinking about it, can you recoup the money paid out to these companies?


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