Powering up Viewbug
Some of my fellow students at the Arcanum started talking about ViewBug.com this week. It’s a site that competes with the likes of flickr and 500px for the hearts and minds of photographers. I thought I’d write up a quick first impressions/review of the site.
First and foremost, ViewBug’s terms of service state that “Viewbug does not claim ownership of Content” … “ownership is retained by User at all times”. I encourage you to read the whole terms page, it’s not very long and clearly states the content rights and responsibilities of the site’s users. This does not mean that someone can not download your photos and use them for their own purposes, the only way to avoid that is to never publish anything ever.
OK – on to the site. As with the other sites mentioned above, there is a social sharing aspect to ViewBug. You upload and share your photos, you can follow other photographers and hand out likes to give peer feedback. As with all social sites, there is the gratification of the feedback you get to give and receive.
ViewBug goes beyond the basic follows, likes and faves though. The main focus of this community entering contests to collect awards and contests/challenge wins. Depending on the contest, some winners are selected by members’ votes and others are judged by ViewBug’s staff and/or a judging panel made of industry experts.
There is the ability to critique other photographer’s work, but, I have not seen one yet. It seems that most users are content with the like and fave system of feedback. I think I may try out doing some critiques, just for practice and to become a better photographer.
ViewBug offers a shopping/sales component as well, where you can offer your art for print. You get to select what photos you wish to offer for sale from your account. I have not purchased one, so I don’t know the the quality of their process. I think I will order one and see what shows up. I’m hoping the quality is better than Costco level, but you never know until you get one. The ViewBug support FAQ has this to say about the process –
“All you need to do is choose the photo that you wish to sell, add it to the store and make it available as a print. You will be able to choose a markup for your photos.
We process the payment, print and ship the photo, you do not need to worry about anything!”
Now onto the annoyances. There are free and paid account levels. I have a free account so that I can explore and find out if the site is worth paying for. Under the free account, your ability to upload images and enter contests is limited. Additionally, the site tries to upsell you at every opportunity.
Overall the site navigation is poor. I find it nearly impossible to find the list of photographers I’m following and to keep up with their current work and what photos they’ve posted.
That’s it for now, I’ll come back and update this post as my grow to love or hate the ViewBug experience, but for now, I’m giving it a guarded thumbs-up.
Update – I’ve upgraded to the Pro version now. Their marketing and special offers finally wore me down…