Hmmmm, I’m not going into full rant mode just yet, as I’m waiting for things to settle down a bit, questions to be answered, changes to be clarified and err, other things to happen.
I’ve been a happy user of 500px for the last five years or so, and despite its irritating name, I’ve been paying for the “Awesome” package, which has given me just what I want – the ability to upload far more images than I’m ever likely to, and an easy to customise portfolio which I can point a domain name at, which indeed I do at Les Bessant Photography. This has worked nicely for me – it’s a site where I post only the images that I’m particularly happy with, and it’s a convenient site to point people at without scaring them away with all the nonsense I post here.
Anyway, yesterday, I (and presumably lots of other people) got an email from 500px telling me how New Exciting Things are happening with membership levels, which is the kind of thing that usually raises a doubt or two in my nasty suspicious mind.
And sure enough, the main change is that in place of the current “Plus” ($25 a year) and “Awesome” ($75 a year), there will be a new “Awesome”, which looks much the same as “Plus” at a new price of $4.99 a month (presumably just under $60 a year) and a new “Pro” which adds some new features for professionals (which explains the name) at a rather more expensive $9.99 a month (presumably just under $120 a year). Hmmm, looking a bit more expensive. But there’s more. There’s a new membership tier called Pro+ at a definitely professionals only price of $19.99 a month ($240 a year).
And what does Pro+ get you? Oh. It offers a “Customizable website”, which Is what I thought I had already. These new sites will be offered through another service altogether rather than being built into 500px.
Existing users are being “upgraded” to the new packages, so I’ll get a Pro membership, and I took the opportunity to renew for an extra year at the current price. Users need to act quickly to take advantage of this, as the new plans take effect from next Monday.
A bit later in the day, 500px sent another email intended to clarify matters. The quick summary is that the current Portfolio feature, which as I mentioned, is something I use and am happy to pay for, will be going away. From Monday, users won’t be able to create new portfolios. Existing portfolios will still be available until some currently undefined point in the future when a migration plan is complete.
Users can migrate their current portfolios to the new Format site, but as I understand it, only if they subscribe to the Pro+ service.
I’ve emailed them to ask if my understanding is correct, and I’m sure other people will have done the same.
As it appears now, 500px seem to be wanting to charge more to take away a feature I actually use, while adding features that aren’t of any great use to me. Are they repositioning themselves to appeal more to the professional market and less to enthusiasts? It certainly looks that way to me, but let’s if further clarification follows.
 Isn’t that a brand of caffeine pills?
 And given the exchange rate these days, you might as well think of those $ signs being £ signs.