One of the largest and longest running photography forum communities is shutting down by the end of 2023. Photography-on-the-net has decided to shut down by the end of 2023. The industry has definitely changed, and every time we see one of these long-running web sites ceasing operations it’s sad, but outside factors have definitely made the financial commitment difficult to recoup.
From Pekka (Admin of POTN)
POTN forum was started 2001 when digital photography was in its infancy- We have seen the great digital camera shooting boom, gear wars, rise or RAW, chimping frenzy, sensors getting better and better, faster AF and failed AF, new lens types, mirrorless cameras and eventually a steady decline of major camera manufacturers, sales dropping every year. There is no one reason for the decline of digital camera, there are several. Better mobile cameras killing people’s interest to heavy and expensive systems like SLR with lots of lenses. Photojournalists use iPhones, photographers get less hiring opportunities , families and friends use mobile devices. Some special interest shooters like bird and wedding photographers, sports and action shooters can not really work with phones, but they are a minority. Image quality does not matter much to 99% of people, when viewed on mobile all is sufficient.
Gear has lost its appeal, but what about forums?
Facebook was founded 2004, three years after POTN. Twitter was started 2006. Instagram was founded 2010. Snapchat 2011. Discord 2015, Tik Tok 2016. All those multi-billion dollar companies have conquered the market, created the social media as we know it, intentionally aiming to addict by algorithms, put people into own bubbles, track you to target ads, lose content validity in short time so that new content gets created constantly. Some of them reduce message lengths thus directing young people to short attention span and think less about complete sentences. Photos are shared via social media apps, Whatsapp and cloud services. This trend has sped up in last few years, and AI will change it all again. Soon people won’t have to write or create anything – it’s all done for them.
Sad truth is that there is no place for conventional forums any more with the recent generations. Traffic is down. Enthusiasm is down. Mood is down. Discussion is down.
There are many old timer members who keep posting, but that does not sustain the site. New members appear, but they do not post much, just browse and like here and there. That is the reality. When everyone had only computers (PC or Mac), writing was much faster and easier – now tapping seems to be the main communication method.
Google delivers fewer and fewer ads in forums (most ad slots are empty, meaning we don’t have even a chance to get anything), so for a long time I’ve had to pay most of the server costs from my own pocket, even with some occasional donations which I appreciate.
Even if financially this wasn’t a burden, I do not have time or interest to code by request or set up servers (I’ve put thousands of hours for POTN during the years). Members can get vey demanding, there’s no real joy in this “service” for me any more.
I do not really shoot photos any more, I have other interests and a profession in music.
I’m not getting any younger, health issues due to stress have happened.
What does all this mean?
I have decided to do the only logical option: close down POTN by the end of this year, exact date is to be determined.
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