Amazon to shutter Digital Photography Review
Respected hands-on outlet tossed under the layoff bus
Photography community website DPReview will shut down on April 10, 2023, in conjunction with layoffs announced by parent company Amazon.com in January.
"After nearly 25 years of operation, DPReview will be closing in the near future," said general manager Scott Everett in a blog post on Tuesday. "This difficult decision is part of the annual operating plan review that our parent company shared earlier this year."
At the start of the year, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy revised layoff figures announced in November 2022 from 10,000 to 18,000, citing economic uncertainty and excessive hiring. On Monday, the number of employees let go expanded by another 9,000, part of an ongoing wave of job cuts buffeting the tech sector.
This year alone, according to Layoffs.fyi, more than 150,000 people have lost their jobs at tech firms. The latest corp to trim its headcount is tech job firm Indeed, which on Wednesday announced plans to oust about 2,200 people.
DPReview (Digital Photography Review) was founded in 1998 and bought by Amazon in 2007.
"DPReview.com is by far the most authoritative source anywhere for straight talk about new digital cameras," said Jeff Bezos, founder and then CEO of Amazon.com, in his acquisition announcement. "We at Amazon.com have been their fans for a long time, and we extend a big welcome to the DPReview.com team."
It's unclear when Amazon's appreciation of the review site ended – a company spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the rationale for the decision.
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Amazon has struggled with fake reviews on its website, which makes the closure of DPReview, lauded by Bezos for its authoritative product assessments, difficult to explain.
Fans of the site were more forthcoming than Amazon about their thoughts on the matter.
"This is a Grade-A bozo move from Amazon," said Miguel de Icaza, founder of the GNOME and Mono open source projects, in a Twitter post. "I struggle to think of a move more stupid than this." (He subsequently allowed that buying Twitter was more stupid).
"This is a sad day and goes to show that you [can't] trust big corps to retain public access to useful information," said Brian McClendon, SVP of engineering at Niantic, via Twitter. "Both the DPReview articles and their community BBS were quite valuable."
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on employee workplace expectations may have played some role in Amazon's decision to abandon the site. According to photography site PetaPixel, DPReview had struggled to retain the staff necessary to run its review lab, particularly in light of its requirement that relevant employees work in-person out of the company's Seattle office.
A Gallup poll last year found that 60 percent of employees said they'd be extremely likely to look for work elsewhere if a potential employer failed to offer a remote work option at least some of the time.
DPReview's two-and-a-half decades of content will not be kept around, at least on the DPReview website. According to Everett, the site will be locked, with no further updates after April 10, 2023, and "will be available in read-only mode for a limited period afterwards."
How long that limited period will be is unclear. But the site's millions of articles and posts are being archived and are expected to be available eventually on the Internet Archive. ®