Photo gear review and news website, Imaging Resource, has gone offline and may have been cut loose by its parent company’s new owners, jazz media company Bebop Channel.
Imagine Resource‘s website is currently down with a host server error. While unlikely, it’s possibly due to an extended server outage. What’s more plausible is it has been shut down by Bebop Channel, which acquired parent company, Madavor Media, in February 2023.
Bebop Channel acquired Madavor Media primarily for music magazine, JazzTimes, and other publications in the Madavor portfolio like Imaging Resource weren’t mentioned in the press release. Even if Bebop Channel has no interest in operating a popular photography website, mercilessly axing it without an announcement or statement is callous. Supremely uncool behaviour from the jazz heads.
This makes Imaging Resource yet another high-quality photo media website to shut down this year, with Amazon in the process of winding down DPReview.
Both Imaging Resource and DPReview were both established in 1998, and over many years solidified their positions as titans of online photo media. And according to Petapixel they are the only two US publications with dedicated image testing labs.
Imaging Resource came close to shutting down in 2019. Founder and editor, Dave Etchells, cited the contracting camera industry, and fewer photographers upgrading their gear, leaving a lack of advertising to support the business.
Here’s what Etchells wrote at the time:
‘That’s proven to be a significant challenge for review sites like IR, because it takes a lot of manpower and a spectacular amount of time to perform all of the lab work and real-world shooting — not to mention all of the writing — for the sort of in-depth reviews that we’ve published over the past two decades. And even though we’ve worked to streamline the process, the money just isn’t there to support a team of our size any more.
Imaging Resource was later saved by an acquisition from Madavor Media, owner of photography publications such as Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photo Pro, Digital Photo and HDVideoPro.
Etchells hung around for a while, but eventually left his role at Imaging Resource during Madavor’s ownership but continued contributing articles. While Imaging Resource remained active until a few days ago, it didn’t quite hit the high water mark of former years. Although Etchells states that just prior to Bebop Channel’s acquisition, Madavor was on the verge of a re-design and launch.
‘The new site would have operated under a subscription model, with some number of daily, weekly or monthly pages free, after which you’d be asked to subscribe for ad-free access,’ he wrote in an article on Petapixel. ‘In the current climate, I think this could have worked. Subscription models have always been a tough sell on the internet, but when DPReview announced it was closing down, a lot of people commented on the realization that the community had to support resources like it and IR if they wanted them to stick around.’
He speculates that Imaging Resource was not profitably under Madavor’s ownership, and Bebop Channel wasted no time to cut it.
‘I suppose if IR [Imaging Resource] and the other publications were churning out buckets of positive cash flow they would have been happy to keep them on; but if that had been the case, Madavor probably wouldn’t have been interested in selling in the first place. The condition of IR and some of the other publications couldn’t have been a surprise, though, so it seems we were likely doomed from the start.
Two other photography publications, Digital Photo Pro and Digital Photo, acquired by Bebop Channel through the acquisition, temporarily went offline but are now back up. The Imaging Resource website now redirects to Outdoor Photographer.