When I first made the switch to digital back in 2002 with a pair of Nikon D100 bodies, there were three sites that I’d visit regularly. One of those three was DPReview, and it’s remained a constant source of information and entertainment for me ever since. When the news broke in March that DPReview would be shutting down forever and that 25 years’ worth of great content was going to disappear forever, I was more than a little shocked.
Last month, it was revealed that DPreview was figuring out a way to archive all that content so that it would be available forever, even after new content ceased to be added. In the meantime, they’d still post while the archive process was ongoing. Now, another month later, the notice that DPReview would be shutting down appears to have disappeared from the site’s homepage, although there has been another update.
The new statement by DPReview General Manager Scott Everett doesn’t actually refer to the aforementioned archival plans at all. In fact, it doesn’t really say much at all of anything. There’s no update on the situation with DPReview’s eventual demise, and everything appears to be business as usual.
While the statement doesn’t actually say much, it’s what it doesn’t say that gives me some hope for the future of DPReview. The initial announcement from the company, alongside Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s announcement, essentially said that it was a done deal, it was over. As of April 10th, the site would be read-only and only for a short time before it disappeared forever. But then a second announcement came stating that content would continue to be posted.
And now, we have another update telling us that content will continue to be posted. There’s also the fact that the title of the latest update changed from the previous post’s “DPReview Closure: an update” to simply “DPReview: an update”. What happened to the closure?
We’re coming up on about a month since our last update here and wanted to thank our community for continuing to support us.
We know you have questions about the status of DPReview since our last communication, and while there is nothing to share right now, we will continue to keep you informed as there are updates to share. In the meantime, we continue to publish news and features (some of my recent favorites have been a three part deep dive into understanding the science of dynamic range from May 2 and learning about the dream cameras our readers most want from May 8). Our forums also remain open and continue to be supported.
Thanks again to our faithful readers. You are what makes DPReview special.
General Manager – DPReview.com
While things may not be coming through as thick and fast as they had in the past, content is still being posted. And it’s not just generic content, either. It’s time-sensitive content, such as new product announcements like the Canon PowerShot V10 (buy here) and evergreen content with the latest tech reviews, like the Nikon Z8 (buy here). So, DPReview staff are clearly still in the loop with the latest product announcements but are also receiving gear early from manufacturers.
And this is what gives me hope. They say that “no news is good news” and the latest update does amount to “no news”. Has DPReview managed to find a way to stay online and keep updating us despite Amazon cutbacks? Has Amazon realised that DPReview is too important to lose? Even if DPReview referrals to Amazon aren’t a massive chunk of their sales, Amazon must realise that killing DPReview is going to piss off a lot of potential customers, causing them to look elsewhere in the future. And not just for camera gear, either.
Is Amazon in talks to sell off DPReview to somebody else who can continue it? This is, of course, entirely speculation – just like the rest of the post. But, the fact that DPReview still seems to be mostly alive and well, more than a month after it was supposed to shut down, suggests that there might be something else going on behind the scenes besides converting it to a simple read-only archive. Else why keep posting at all? Even with as much content as DPReview has amassed over the years, turning it into a read-only archive shouldn’t be all that difficult – at least, not from a technical standpoint.
While I’m choosing to remain optimistic and hope that DPReview has found a way to remain in our lives for many years to come, it’s also entirely possible that I’m deluding myself, and it’s all false hope. It could be that licensing issues are stalling the transition to an archive and that’s why there’s nothing new to share. After all, Amazon pretty much owns all the content. What happens to it is up to them. And as Amazon has already proven, DPReview isn’t (or at least wasn’t) on their list of priorities.
Even if somebody other than Amazon is willing to foot the bill for a server to keep DPReview up and running – even if in a read-only archived state – Amazon might just be kicking their heels in figuring out how that will all work.
This post may just be wishful thinking and overanalysing between the lines. But a month and a half after the initial announcement, I still don’t think I’m ready to see it disappear.