Photography, Fine Art, Wet Plate Collodion, Alternative photography

Digitalrailroad derailed?

with 9 comments

My goodness there are so many rumors that derailed. I have about 4000 public images on my drr archive and I just renewed the yearly subscription, so I hope however the things will turn, I will keep on using my on-line archive.

and their message to DRR members:
For the past few weeks, Digital Railroad (DRR) has been seeking additional funding required to sustain its current level of operations. To date, those efforts have been unsuccessful. As a result, effective October 15, 2008, the company has initiated a reduction in staff and expenses while it continues the funding effort. Nevertheless, Digital Railroad is committed to the continued support of its customers through this period and has retained adequate staff to support both member archives and image licensing sales through Marketplace.

Although it looks like I made a bet on a wrong horse, I claim I made a bet on the only horse that was outthere for my needs! HERE is my review of DRR after a year of usage.

PS: Photoshelter offers a shelter from DRR.


Written by Borut Peterlin

20 October, 2008 at 22:14

9 Responses

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  1. perhaps as an alternative?


    20 October, 2008 at 23:56

  2. My bet is that member archive will continue operating in one form or another. I think that business is basically sound, maybe just expenses have to be reduced and VCs will likely pull out.


    21 October, 2008 at 12:34

  3. One option to check is Photo Shelter. But they also closed their Virtual agency, so somehow I don’t think they are all too sound either. At least on long run.
    Realistically, I don’t see much of business logic behind all this anyway. I agree prices of bandwidth and hardware are going down with every new day (at least for now), but still running such huge thing is far from easy and cheap. And with prices per GB most of such hosting services have, I doubt they can really survive with that only.
    I would say only bet for quite near future will be your own server. Where it will be hosted is different question, but at least at the moment we don’t need to worry much about this, with prices of Internet access we currently have.


    21 October, 2008 at 16:51

  4. Well, i see the business logic in this and this kind of operation could be run profitably with just a few people and minimal expenses. I think their appetites and level of spending were just too big.

    And if you think of it – DRR Marketplace and PhotoShelter Collection weren’t all that different from existing agencies so there was/is no particular incentive for buyers to switch…


    22 October, 2008 at 09:13

  5. Ivan I have no idea about DRR Marketplace, but Photoshelter Collection was different from normal agencies in small, but I would say most important detail. Agencies I work with take 50% from profits my photos make. Photoshelter Collection on the other side took only 20%, if I remember right (I never saw enough business opportunities through them, so I didn’t even bother with it, therefore I don’t know exact percentage).
    It might not be much for one photo, but overall, there’s a lot less money for them. On the other side, expenses are not that different for running small or big agency. And nevertheless, in today’s times, it’s not so easy get new agency running, while expenses are still there from begining.
    But as you said, this difference was great from photographers point of view, for clients, it was pretty much same as any other agency, except this one didn’t have much of coverage… on begining at least.


    22 October, 2008 at 11:09

  6. For sure. Actually search engine of DRR was the biggest weakness and if photographers are submitting their images without rigid standards in quality, keywording and selection you soon have a chaos. And their images were not cheaper or somewhat different then in any other agency.

    Well, I didn’t sold any image via dr market place, but the site helps me with selling my images directly through my drr site + it offers me a flexibility that is definitely worth it’s money.


    Borut Peterlin

    22 October, 2008 at 11:14

  7. That’s what i meant – from buyers perspektive it was pretty much the same as other agencies.

    Regarding photographer percentages – that depends on agency performance. How’s 80% of nothing vs. 50% of something vs. 20% of REALLY A LOT?


    22 October, 2008 at 11:19

  8. In DRR search engine I typed Kosovo and I got 3081 hits:

    About 340th hit is even an image of McCain, and about 300th hit Bil Clinton in White house on his statement on kosovo.

    and then I typed Kosovo, Peterlin and I got my images:

    I wanted to check how relevant my images on Kosovo are and they were not among 600 hits and then I didn’t look anymore. You decide how relevant are my images comparing to McCain sitting behind a desk.

    Borut Peterlin

    22 October, 2008 at 11:32

  9. Calling all Digital Railroad Users! –
    Put yourself in control of your images with Lightbox Photo™

    In the light of the unfortunate demise of Digital Railroad, Canadian Based Lightbox Photo™ is stepping forward to offer it’s photo gallery software as the alternative solution – with a 15% discount on all purchases made during November. Photographers can create dynamic e-commerce enabled image websites empowering them to present their work how they want, where they want and when they want.

    Lightbox Photo™ allows users to create their own stock photo libraries or online proofing systems, meaning no more commissions to third party providers. The cross platform, server side software combines PHP and MySQL to produce an inherently fast and highly scalable solution. It is a feature packed online gallery maker and digital asset manager, that gives users the ability to auto generate thumbnails, watermark images, create private galleries, view slideshows, offer a variety of products including instant downloads and much more.

    Existing user and world renowned nature photographer Frans Lanting of Santa Cruz, California ( comments, ” Lightbox Photo™ has played a key role in making our collection accessible to a worldwide audience. We’ve had great support from Lightbox when we’ve needed to upgrade or add our own customization to the standard interface.”

    “Lightbox Photo™ has been a trusted supplier to the photographic industry for over five years,” comments Adrian Ellis co-founder of Lightbox Photo™. “Our solution has a raft of features specifically aimed at photographers wanting to display and sell their work online. This is where our software plays a key role; allowing the photographer greater flexibility in the products and services that they offer, while maintaining full control over their images. It also gives them direct access to the customer who may need additional image research or want to commission a photo shoot.”

    Lightbox Photo™ is available as a Standard, Professional or Enterprise Version priced from $399 (approx. £200). Any Digital Railroad customer making a purchase during November will receive a 15% discount. For further information please visit or email

    Adrian Ellis

    4 November, 2008 at 18:37

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