Amazon closing DPReview – Is 25 years of camera knowledge in the bin?

Dear Amazon.

DPReview is not a pair of underpants a customer sent back that you will now toss into the mountain of unwanted products at the back of the warehouse soon to be taken to landfill on a dying planet. DPReview belongs back in the community. This site belongs with *us* the camera community and I don’t care at all that Amazon paid a nominal sum for the website in the heyday of the DSLR revolution, it is pocket change for them, genuinely valuable for us, and besides OUR culture is not yours to vandalise or chuck in the trash.

These were the primary thoughts I had upon hearing the news that DPReview will be closed by Amazon. Not sold. Not rebranded. Closed.

Will a suitable buyer step forward? One that understands the importance of objective, factual, written tech journalism?

Perhaps Roger will give it a go at LensRentals?

It surprises me a lot, and somewhat angers me to say the least, that nobody has tried to sell the site before they just trash the place.

For 25 years every camera release was recorded, tracked and in most cases written about in-depth on DPReview starting as far back as the late 1990s with the site’s founders in London. At one point I myself worked for DPReview and contributed at the height of the DSLR video movement in the mid 2010s to reviews for such cameras as the Canon 5D Mark III and Panasonic GH4.

For 25 years thousands upon thousands of camera nerds contributed to DPReview with billions of man-hours worth of knowledge on the forums. There is a real risk all of that will now go on the trash.

Whenever you need the quick facts and specs sheet of a camera a quick Google of the model name of the camera and DPReview was all that you needed and it is shocking that this staple of online camera information is at risk of vanishing from Google’s index, to be replaced by endless clickbait and YouTube videos instead which take forever to get to the point.

Obviously a great loss to the camera industry

If DPReview is going to be deleted off the face of the earth, the camera industry will be a huge loser in this. See, this is what happens when you take journalists for granted, attempt to puppeteer them like shills and basically just abuse the entire internet like it is the unpaid PR division of your camera company. It is not surprising that DPReview didn’t seem profitable enough for Amazon to bother to maintain.

But things must be A LOT worse in the tech sector than people think. All the years of investment, hiring and acquisitions (especially during covid) were funded on cheap handouts and a form of corporate communism – at very low interest rates and now it’s not quite so economically viable is it?

DPReview have a tiny small team of staff, and some Canadian freelancers on YouTube. The fact that Amazon felt the need to make a cost saving here is just absolutely mind-blowing. It’s like a crack addict knee deep in $100,000 gambling debt plumbing the depths of his sofa for 50 cent pieces. It’s also incredibly short sighted. Those at DPReview on the payroll of Amazon were simply lumped in together with 18,000 other dispensable worker-drones – coincidentally this is likely how Amazon view all of their staff not named “Jeff Bezos”.

So it is with a very heavy heart I hear the news and I really do hope the site can find a way to continue under new ownership. I actually have doubts they really intend to close. Surely the intent is to find a buyer?

It would be an incredible act of cultural vandalism not to at least try to save it – the current management, hands tied maybe – need to try a bit fucking harder and save the site they are custodians of, rather than immediately JUMP SHIP like two Canadian YouTubers did. Maybe it’s not in any of their hands. Amazon could be the only voice in the room with any say, with full control to simply bin it. Maybe they’d like a clean break and a cost effective, uncomplicated one at that. The cheapest way to do this is to simply close the site and burn the forums to the ground.

It is no secret that I haven’t seen eye to eye with the current management of DPReview on many issues, especially Mr Britton and that other one who got himself arrested. I don’t see eye to eye with Chris Nichols either who I find to be thoroughly up his own arse. However with new people, DPReview could have a chance to absolutely thrive.

Transferred out to a new domain name, perhaps “EOSHD.COM” and continued, with a focus less on clickbait and trying to justify their existence to Amazon, more focus on what the site is REALLY known for – proper in-depth lab testing of new cameras and WRITTEN reviews over several indexed pages. I would love to see that.

The new owners could actually care about preserving not just the original essence of the original British site (one of the classic internet’s original jewels in the crown) but all of our contribution as well (the forum). All those forum posts surely don’t deserve to be tossed away. Well, some of them anyway!

What will happen next?

The timeline to total closure is almost as short as the time it took Chris and Jordan to get a new job. Their massive grin stretches from the start of the DPReview TV is Closing video to the end of the we’re joining Petapixel video. They are the happiest sacked Amazon workers in the world today.

So it looks like DPReview’s YouTube presence has fled and so that side of the site (quite important in 2023 as nobody reads a damned fucking things) won’t be coming back.

The actual website will cease to be updated on April 10th 2023. After that the servers are to be switched off.

I can scarcely believe there is nobody interested in buying the site? Amazon made the decision 3 months back in January, but it might only be now that DPReview are allowed to go public on it.

Just 3 weeks to find a buyer before Amazon pulls the rug is a tall order, but the site could appeal to any number of camera industry presences. Sigma do an absolutely superb in-house blog and magazine. They’d take great care of DPReview. It’s part of digital camera heritage. Perhaps another manufacturer could choose to provide funding and sponsorship, like Panasonic. Certainly a great way to make sure that L-mount cameras get a higher priority above Sony on the biggest camera review site in the world isn’t it!!

Perhaps a large retailer like B&H or WEX could be interested in it. If it were WEX and a return to running DPReview in the UK I would be chomping at the bit to join as a reviewer if that were to happen, especially if the previous management were no longer there to frustrate my work.

The best outcome I think is for DPReview to come home. To cut ties with the absurd corporate giant might actually improve the editorial, returning DPReview to the respected website we all knew them as being until the clickbait era.

Any new owner would have to, in my opinion, understand the value in objective, factual journalism and the strength of the written word, that it can coexist perfectly well with YouTube and social media.

If you don’t value something you will lose it.