The big picture: One of the Internet’s longest-operating review sites will soon go dormant. Digital Photography Review, or DPReview for short, was founded in 1998 by Phil Askey and quickly became a leading destination for digital camera and lens reviews, buying guides, sample galleries and more. The site was based out of London and had an active community forum, eventually attracting the attention of Amazon.
In mid-2007, the e-commerce giant acquired DPReview for an undisclosed sum. At the time, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the site was by far the most authoritative source for straight talk about new digital cameras. The site continued to operate independently despite the change in ownership.
In a surprise announcement on DPReview, general manager Scott Everett said the decision to shut down shop came as part of Amazon’s annual operating plan review earlier this year. Needless to say, DPReview community members are not happy with Amazon’s decision.
DPReview will remain active until April 10, at which time the site will be locked and be available only in read-only mode for a limited period afterwards. Those with content on the site can request a download of their material until April 6 – after that, requests will not be able to be completed. The DPReview TV YouTube channel will also be shut down.
News of the shutdown isn’t terribly surprising given Amazon’s recent layoffs and the shrinking standalone digital camera industry, but it is sad nevertheless. Sites like DPReview and others no doubt helped countless readers (myself included) learn more about digital photograph at a time when the art still had a bit magic to it (that is, before everyone had a smartphone in their pocket).
As for the long-term future of DPReview and its archive of years of content, well… it does not sound optimistic. It is entirely plausible that much of the site’s content will have to live on through legacy projects like the Wayback Machine.
Image credit: Camera by Gidon Wessner, Silhouette by Francois Olwage