Today I am very excited to announce a project that I have been working on for the past few weeks, which will be one of the new pillars of Photography Life. Welcome to our brand-new forum! Yes, the timing of this announcement is not a coincidence – I know that many other forums have been popping up lately in response to DPReview’s sudden closure. But this is also an idea I have been planning for years – a better, faster, more positive, and more sustainable forum for photographers of all levels.
You can check it out and sign up by clicking on the above image, or through the following link:
Our forum is not meant to replace the DPReview forum, but rather to be built around the positive and knowledgeable photographers who read Photography Life. Many of the existing DPR forum members have already scattered to various sites ranging from Facebook groups to Reddit, new forums like DPRevived and DPRForum, to existing forums like BCG, Photo.net, UglyHedgehog and FredMiranda, and that is not likely going to change.
Why am I linking to those forums if we are launching a forum of our own? Simply put, I consider them not to be competitors, but other members of the photography community. It has always been my philosophy that the online photography world is big enough for people to share, not to compete over a small slice of the pie – I felt this way about DPReview, and I feel the same about these photography forums and other photography websites. We will be linking to these other forums many times in the future and collaborating with them whenever possible.
With that said, here is why I believe in the Photography Life Forum so strongly:
- I will never sell Photography Life, and this is my promise to this community. Spencer and I solely own Photography Life, and we are committed to not only keep it running, but to always keep it free and away from outside commercial hands. That has been the model of the site since 2007 when I wrote my first blog post, and I promise to keep it this way. Other forums could get abandoned and destroyed like in the case of DPR if the head company goes under, while this one will not.
- Compared to almost all other photography websites, we have low operating costs and run everything ourselves. It is not a problem maintaining the Photography Life Forum (and Photography Life in general) even during the tough economic times that we are facing today and may face in the future.
- Spencer and I are photographers first and foremost. We have already made all of our commercial videos free to the community, and we will always give back to other photographers. If I ever cannot retain this forum for any reason, I promise to work with other community members to fully migrate and transition the forum, so that a DPR-like situation does not happen again. Any personal information would obviously be scraped before any transition, as we take your personal data very seriously.
- Since I have previously run a massive forum with hundreds of thousands of posts and millions of views, I know what it takes on the admin, business, and maintenance sides to run a large forum. Photography Life itself reaches over 2 million hits a month, roughly 30 million total requests monthly, so we have the architecture and the skillset to scale a busy forum.
- Finally, I think the only sustainable model of running a niche forum is through an existing website that is already busy and profitable. That’s how DPR had it for decades, and it’s the only way to do it. Once tens of thousands of people start posting lots of photos and increasing the website’s hosting costs, the only choice is to make people pay a subscription price (and kill the forum in the process) or have it tied to an already successful business.
Advertising is currently turned off on the Photography Life Forum, but if things start getting out of hand, I can add advertising as needed to immediately cover admin and hosting costs. If the forum pays for itself and potentially a moderator or two in the future, that would be a good outcome.
Because Spencer and I are always reachable, we are very responsive to requests for new features and forum improvements. In the early days, you may notice some bugs or things we should do differently, so please let us know in the Site Feedback & Help section. You can also ask me in the comments section below if you have any questions about things like web hosting, caching, anti-spam policies, etc., as I don’t want to clutter this announcement with technical details.
Thank you to our loyal Photography Life readers, and welcome to the Photography Life Forum.
P.S. Please don’t forget to read our Forum Community Guidelines!