Off The Cliff We Go…

- - Just Plain Dumb

Digital Rail Road completely collapses and gives it’s contributors 24 hours to remove material before shutting off the servers. Vincent gives them a good thrashing here. I guess we now know that photoshelter made the right move to abandon the stock sales and keep the personal archive servers alive. It seems somewhat criminal what they’re doing, but in the current business environment they can get in line with all the other aholes.

Time Inc. begins the holiday bloodletting with a 600 job cut. I agree with Lee Crane and wonder if they will fire any of the decision makers who drove them here.

Corbis needs more of your royalty. After 15 years of trying to reach profitability this is your solution? Melcher has the straight dope as usual.

You can read about all the latest magazine failures and job cuts over at  Magazine Death Pool. Will they become the f*cked company of the media world as advertising takes a nose dive?

UPDATE: DRR appears to have an extension of the shutdown to 11:59PM, PST, on Friday October 31. (via, photoshelter)

There Are 19 Comments On This Article.

  1. Debra Weiss

    DRR has disabled FTP transfers out of their system to any destination. Photoshelter is working with their management to restore access. For those who had imagery with DRR, I sincerely hope it was backed up.

  2. The obvious lesson learned though these recent experiences is that online is not a substitute for having a reliable archive system of your own. Luckily I have heard of very few photographers who only had photos stored on DRR or PS. I just hope that those DRR customers who were owed $$ from sales are able to collect…

  3. I don’t understand how DRR can get away with it all. Can people go after them legally?

    What sort of people make a decision like this is what I’d love to know… Appalling.

  4. Jamie Klingler

    Just wondering what will happen with the accounts. I’ve got outstanding invoices to pay DRR but would struggle time wise to locate and contact each photographer and pay them directly, but don’t want to pay DRR if the photographer’s won’t see the funds.

    Is it worth paying the invoice, or shall I try to go direct?

    Jamie

  5. DRR tanking is no surprise to me. I said goodbye to them this summer. While I liked the idea of the service it never really worked well. The interface was quirky and difficult for clients to use. In the end having photos there did not save me any time or add any income. In 3 years I successfully delivered a image to a paying client exactly once.

    I feel for people who are now trying to get their images back, but doesn’t everyone have a back up system?

  6. Jamie- I wouldn’t pay any invoices to DRR, that money will certainly not go to any photographer’s work you have licensed. Diablo Management now handles DRR and you can be sure the least of their concerns is paying photographers. Check out Diablo Management’s website and their compelling executive portraits, they look like they’d be loads of fun to hang out with.

    Pay the photographers direct if you can, they would certainly appreciate it. Or, if it makes you feel any better you can send me a check. DRR owes me a tidy little sum from licensed images that they have been paid for.

    The way this shutdown was handled was just plain wrong. I think also that PhotoShelter should be given some credit for really helping the DRR Archive photographers out in many ways.

  7. I’ve also put in my two cents about this train wreck on my own weblog.

    Worst for me is that I was seeing some very decent potential from the Marketplace, but the DRR software was one of several achilles heels.

    Worst for everyone is that the combination of archive and active marketplace had great potential for individual image makers, and to have screwed up that potential with 20M in VC funding underlies that there were some very serious flaws at the root operating level.

    For 20M, this should have been a world class operation; but businesses that live by the VC funds die by the VC axe. The blood that gets spilled is ours.

    Give me 6 million, and I’ll rebuild it, make it better than it was before; stronger, faster. (old TV reference)

    PS: Jamie; pay direct. Why dump money into a black hole?

  8. Anyone else been drinking more than usual lately? I’ll be @ the Gate on 5th ave in Brooklyn tonight. Beers on me.

  9. A company like VII did rely on the ‘backbone’ of a company like DDR ??? … *loooooooool (sorry). Hard to believe.

    There are 50 (or maybe 100) photographers in the world who get the red carpet rolled out, the rest is treated like monkeys.

    Inapprehensible, but many even seem to enjoy it, running after each new ‘webservice’ that promises ‘em to make some cents on their pics. Even when the ‘subscription fees’ are higher than the amount most contributors ever could make there. And each week 1000′s do upload again and again … hoping, praying, begging …

    Especially the ‘internet companies’ have no real relationship to the people they make a living from. They let you down in a snap. No honor, no sense of responsibility… just crap.

    The future is found in the past. Back in late 40′s the industry did like to squeeze the photographers too. And Capa, Bresson (among others) did react …

    And always keep in mind: ‘they’ need YOU, ‘they’ can’t do it by themselves. Yes, ‘they’ can buy a point-and-shoot and go out and take some pics. But ‘pics’ aren’t photographs. And when ‘they’ think ‘pics’ are just enough , when ‘they’ believe all the people out there (clients, magazine readers, …) are stupid, not able to see the difference between a pic and a photograph, then ‘they’ dig one’s own grave.

    So be proud to be a photographer. Don’t let you down -heads up. Be free and independent – just like an (independent) trucker. Don’t sign weird contracts. Don’t rely on sneaky internet companies again. Live and learn.

    Face the upcoming stormy conditions (assuming you didn’t buy one of these crappy cams without weathertight seals :-) )

    First there is nothing – then there is a photograph. How many can really do this ?

    Anyway …

    Best, Reini

  10. I know this is little solace to my fellow DRR members, but… I was auto-billed in august for another full year DRR membership renewal. I just got off the phone with my credit card company. They were able to issue an immediate credit for the entire membership billing to DRR.

    It’s worth a try….

  11. Jamie Klingler

    Just a little update, spent a good part of the day, but managed to track down any photographers on my latest invoice from DRR and will be paying them directly.