SAN DIEGO, CA 92109-2802
I have been a stock photographer for over 30 years. I am a member of ViewBug and enjoy it. I both enter and create challenges and enter the bigger contests. If you look at it as a way to learn and update your skills it is a great site. It can be fun for beginners and pros alike. The bulk of the 'winners' don't get more than a pat on the head type award so you aren't going to get famous.
I have been a PRO level member for 2 years and won over 6K "awards", ALL being from other members, except for only 14 chosen as either challenge winner or "finalist", nothing more. My images are without question better than most of the "winners" I've seen in the challenges and the Viewbug contests, yet it seems the images are not even seen by the public. I believe Viewbug hides certain peoples images from the public while allowing their buddies to win all the "prizes", which are nearly ALL USED ITEMS that their staff wants to get rid of. The "prizes", if you are lucky enough to ever even have a chance at winning against literally THOUSANDS of other people from around the world, are so cheap that it is criminal that Viewbug even can call them a legitimate prize at all. Like I said, they are used items, mostly, and if they are new, and actually worth anything over $100 (very rarely), they reserved for their staff who enters the contests also with fake profiles they create it appears. I have noticed strange things going on the more I began to investigate "winners" that just seem to keep "winning" quite often with images that are quite literally less than mediocre at best. They are not just winning once, they have won multiple times these contests, and some of the challenges. It is quite odd to see the same person, that is supposedly not a staff member, winning on a regular basis. I also notice my images have hardly ANY "views",. even though I enter 98% of all the challenges. The "contests" tend to be a deliberate tenancy for their staff to be able to win by using certain selected themes that they just so happen to have images for that 80% of the members would not have taken such pictures.
I for one find this site to me much more of a bait and switch, as I have contacted them many times about things that they either do not bother to respond, or give such a vague response to that it is not even worthy of them responding at all anyhow. It isn't until sites like this one, where people can openly say the truth about Viewbug in public, that suddenly Viewbug acts so polite and interested in helping you with your problem, but only in words for the public to see, not what they actually do once you return to their site.
I have had problems on several occasions with my challenges not being visible, and I contacted them each time that happened. They say "they will look into it", and nothing happens. This last time it happened, a strange thing happened that I cannot explain. I had just posted my challenge that said it "waiting for approval", but already two photographers had immediately posted photos to it, and it wasn't even approved to be public yet! That got me very suspicious, so I began to snoop into their profiles, and sure enough, they were both top "winners" of multiple contests, and not just a few, it was a LOT of contests and challenges they "won".
My challenge is still not viewable to the public when you search for it in the Challenges, yet a tiny handful of people are able to post pictures into it, strange, huh? It certainly is, considering ALL of them are past winners and suspiciously seem to have images that I've seen under different names as well as used in their "contests" that are not supposed to be staff members.
Sorry, there needs to be an investigation into Viewbug for FRAUD, because it appears more and more that this site is created to take your money, while the photographer staff and "judges" tend to make a living off all the Prime and PRO members. I'm about ready to pull the plug on them and see what is left after a real investigation is done.
I just started taking photos not too long ago when I found this site. I love the page, I really do. I also like that contests are for everybody, so I can join them. It makes me happy to know people are actually looking at my photos and LIKING them! So yeah, no complaints there. However, I was wondering why that Viewbug doesn't keep you up to date on where you are rated until the contest's over. I get these random emails, occasionally, about how I'm in the running to be crowned, but I'm not sure where that puts me in the running for top few pictures.
And the fact that you don't get your exact rating also bothers me. My contests simply say that I was in the top... Let's say eighty, fifty, or thirty, like three of mine, for my photo. It bothers me that I don't know who the others participating are, or what rank I am. I'd like to see that, so I can see who I lost to, and who I beat. If only to improve myself for the next contest. I really want to know what my ratings were, or currently ARE for the contests I'm in. Any chance you can tell me why you don't tell me that information?
I have really enjoyed my experience with ViewBug. It even inspired me to take my hobby more seriously and now I have my own photography business. While I understand that adult content photographs have their place in the art world, I don't think ViewBug is the best venue to display this type of art. We have a lot of under aged patrons at ViewBug and I think there are a lot of other places these photographs could be displayed.
It seems recently there has been an increase in the number of adult content photos. I even tried to report one photo because of the nudity and the picture ended up on my Facebook page. As a result, I stopped reporting these images. While I will continue to support ViewBug at the Pro level, I wish more was being done to make this site a little less "sexual" and a little more artistic.
I also noticed that same shots for the same challenge appear on the voting page again and again, BUT.....yes, there's a but to it. Those are shots that I did NOT vote for, so to me it is absolutely logical that they reappear (just in case you change your mind)...after all, there are only so many entries in a challenge, even if they do run into thousands. I have learnt so much from other photographers on Viewbug and I can see the results in the quality of my photography. I won't be able to compete with the greats on Viewbug, even less with the world renowned ones like my absolute hero Art Wolfe, but that is not my aim. I do what I love, have fun....AND I receive reviews and advice to boot.
I have been a member for a little under 6 months. Before joining, I did my due diligence and did some research into the ViewBug site. I stumbled upon these reviews and a few Facebook pages directed at calling ViewBug a scam. I have to say it almost deterred me from joining. I noticed though that it was only a handful of people who were having issues. ViewBug has hundreds of thousands of members so the ratio wasn't worrisome to me. One of the main complaints was how they hound you about joining or raising your membership level at a cost.
I cannot tell you the amount of emails I get from other reputable companies that offer similar services doing the same thing. ViewBug's sales model is no different than that of other companies. To me, this doesn't make it a scam or a bad site. People fail to realize the cost associated with running a site like this. I also read there were issues receiving and/or winning prizes. For me, I was looking for a site that I could receive honest feedback about my photos and learn in the process. In the end, I decided to join.
I am truly happy I did. Not only have a met a TON of talented photographers who I learn so much from on a daily basis but I also have gained a great deal of confidence in my own ability. The networking opportunities are so worth what I pay each month to be a member. When it comes to entering contests, yes, it's a numbers game. If there are 60,000 photographs entered in one contest or challenge, what are the odds yours will get noticed. You do get weekly emails letting you know roughly where your photo ranks ahead of other entries but nothing specific. I'm ok with this. I'm very motivated when I get an email saying my photo is ahead of 52,000 other photos. The bottom line to recognition is you have to work at it. I spend the time going through photographs and commenting on them, liking them and giving peer awards. I spend the time voting in contests that I am in. I also follow photographers who have similar styles and interests as my own. As I do this, I grow the number of followers, I noticed my votes started to increase and my ranking progressively get better. I make a point of interacting this way at least once a day. Because of this, I started gaining more and more likes, more and more peer awards etc. This make sense. Just like Facebook, your main feed is made up of people you follow. The more people you follow and that follow you, the more your work gets noticed. People usually return the follow when you follow them too. Overall, this site is no different than other sites that offer the same type of service. Yes, there is a membership fee. The higher the membership, the more you pay but the more you get. Of course I would like to win a contest but that's not my main goal. I would rather have my work noticed by like photographers and grow my name as a photographer than win a prize. I really like ViewBug, it's really done wonders for my confidence, my photography knowledge and inspires me daily.
I've been a member of ViewBug (pro level, though I'm not a pro photographer). I used to have great fun with it and have uploaded a great many photos to the site. Recently, I created a challenge and now they are refusing to post it among the available challenges. The only reason I can determine as to why they are doing this is because I don't have time to write everyone that follows me and ask they to enter. A pro photog who helps me from time to time says the banner photo for the challenge is excellent and the description for what should be entered is fine (you don't get much room to begin with). My photos receive a fair amount of likes and awards which is fun, and also the inspiration is good. My experience with the challenge has soured me a bit on the site, however. Maybe i just shouldn't have tried doing it, I put it off a long time, but wanted to be more involved. Also I think their judges need to be more open about entries. All photos don't have naked people, children or long-timed shots, yet they are still beautiful and well planned shots. I'm not saying don't try it, I'm just expressing my disappointment. I liked it better the way it was when I started.
It is the first time I have joined a photo contesting site in weeks back, as an amateur photographer it is pleasing to see my photos receiving likes, peer awards or viewed by professional photographers in the globe, It is really incouraging me to take up photography very serious and try to improves further. I have no experience to critisize but I give thub up to viewbug by giving amateurs and professional photographers opportunity to showcase their photos
Thank you viewbug.
After just being on the site for a few weeks, I concur with most. Too much emphasis on going Pro. Why bother? Just use the site for inspiration. You should have to PAY to enter a contest.
At first I really liked the page its an amazing place to get inspiration and see photos from all around the globe. So many talented photographers to learn from and get in contact with there. I used to be a paying pro member but one thing bugged me to the point where I just had enough and stopped enjoying it . When i discovered that multiple times photos kept showing up over and over under one contest so you could vote for the same photo over and over under the voting time and when I reached out to view bug about it they said NO thats not possible the system makes it that the photo will only show up one time, so i made shore to check the photos and ad the likes to them to see if i was wrong and NO it was the same photo taken by the same photographer and the same profile it hapend so many times that I just saied nope if viewbug dont even want to check in to the fact that there system have a problem or even say hey that should not happen lets see what glitch we might have and fix it instead of nope thats not possible then why should I pay for a membership so I closed my account and have not been back even do I miss looking at all the photos it was a fun site I just refuse to be a part of something that just want to take your money and not correct something that is clearly wrong. Would I recommend the site maby to get inspiration thats it BUT NEVER becoming a paying member dont waste you money
Tip for consumers: Dont pay for membership only use the page for inspiration
Outstanding international photo contest site. It is also a useful social network for photographers, both amateurs and pro. This is one of the best sites you can find of photography contest, and for validating and evaluating the quality of your photos among peers and learn from them. Of course there are some improvements that I would suggest to Viewbug, like the voting system within the contests, that is not very agile. But regardless the number of votes a photo receives during the contest's voting period, at the end the contest awards are always granted by a professional photographer or by a jury.
I am a member of Viewbug since 2014 and I am writing this review in March 2017. In these three years very few of my photos were selected as finalists in the hundreds of contests that I participated. The photographic level of the contenders is so high that winning a contest seems impossible for me, as I just have the level of an enthusiast photograper. But you can find inspiration and learn a lot from other Viewbug members, especially from the winners and finalist of each contest.
Beyond the contests, thanks to Viewbug's Peer Awards system, the site is a powerful tool for knowing the evaluation of your art by other passionate photographers (not by the general public). After having reviewed hundreds of winners and finalists and compare their statistics among them and with others (and also with my own statistics), my conclusion is that if around 20% or more of the visitors of a photo by members of Viewbug community give a Peer Award to it (after some contests and/or some weeks or months of exposure), probably you can say that the photo is a good one (that is, if at least 1/5 of the visitors give it a "Peer Award"). If a photo receives less that 15% Peer Awards from the Viewbug community visitors, its artistic appealing probably is more questionale. With the "Likes" the threashold for knowing if a photo is popular is around 33% (1/3 of viewers give it a Like). Although you always have to bear in mind that "popularity" is not all what matters in art (even Van Gogh was not "popular" at his time).
I am not a newcomer to the site and have a well-formed opinion about it compared to other sites. I am also a subscriber of several international photo contests sites, like Gurushots and Pixoto (and Flickr, Smugmug, Photoshelter, Alamy and Kizoa for other purposes). In my opinion they have worse functionalities than Viewbug. Here you can find my most-viewed photos at Viewbug: https://www.viewbug.com/member/GEFAELL#/GEFAELL/photos?sort=mostview
I had a profile on there for 6 months. My pictures were tasteful and professional. Someone must have had a vendetta against me and started tagging my pictures for inappropriate. Many had already won awards. Viewbug removed them and when i contacted them they were rude and instead of addressimg the attacks against me cancelled my account. One of the pictures in question was ranked top 10 by week 3 of contest and they pulled it right before the contest was up. They are a con job to just get money and not give out prizes.
I reworded my review a bit for more details and added below after viewbugs generic reponse.
They truly do have no concern for their members. I had an account for 6 months. I do boudoir and pin up photography. My photos have some tasteful nudity (which is allowed). I had a photo shoot on a beach in Aruba and one of my photos was very popular, it had 1500 view had many rankings in photo trifecas. Viewbug even gave it the summer selection award for the photo in question. Then one day it just disappeared off the site. When I contacted them about it numerous times, they ignored me or just gave back generic they were looking into it notes back. I eventually gave up and stayed off the site a couple months. (I am a paying pro member as well). Last week I went on and they had a female form contest. I submitted some black and whites. They were in no way explicit. You could see a breast in 3 of them thats all. Within two hours they disappeared. I had them marked as adult. So I contacted them, they insulted my creative works by telling me nudity for the sake of nudity was not allowed. My photos are tasteful. I took screen shots of other peoples work which showed open vagina, and masturbation and asked how my picture with just a breast was more offensive than those. They refused to answer how explicit photos were allowed but my tasteful photos were not. They appear to pull pictures based on complaints without looking at actual picture. Maybe it was because my picture was ranking high. They refused to even look at what I sent, but cancelled my account on me. My pictures have been used by artists to paint and are sold as prints. They are in no way pornographic and I am disgusted by how viewbug has different standards for different members. One of the pictures they pulled of mine was in week 3 of being top 10 trifecta, if given awards one week how is it offensive the next week? Do yourself a favor and don't support viewbug as they are unprofessional and a joke in the photography world.
When I first joined the site, I was surprised and encouraged by the attention my material was receiving. In fact, I almost purchased a monthly membership based on that. Then, I received a "very special" invitation to be a "curator" and "welcome new members" (only offered to 15%!) by liking and awarding their uploads! This site clearly feeds and financially exploits creative insecurity and social media's dopamine effect and has probably lured countless memberships from people who turned out to be highly disappointed once the little welcoming committee has moved on to fresher meat.
I joined this site 2 years ago when I first got into that art and I would like to say nowhere have I seen photographers that get on so well together. If you were a member of my facebook group you would know this is not the norm. I have also pushed myself as a result of the site directly and I have done well. I would def recommend to others.
I have so much to learn and only making slow progress am always surprised, delighted and encouraged by ViewBug members awarding my images. This is awesome! Can't tell you what a lift this gives when most of the time I even struggle to decide what is good and what isn't. This site is amazing, it not only encourages its members but provides every opportunity to learn from others images it also inspires us to try out so many options. I enter contests and challenges for wider exposure and points, never thinking I would come close to achieving more than that. Thank you ViewBug. Cheers Linda49
Documentation needs a lot of work...I don't understand how most of the site works or what the heck "you're almost there" means! I also have trouble voting, because the voting menu does not offer an "are you sure?" Option to confirm a choice...I have given so many people a "peer award" when they deserved so much more, because the button is so sensitive. Also, I only vote one per four or not at all because the next four come up right after the second vote, and I have often gone on, so that leaves me with a skipped set not voting at all when I should, so I feel like a terrible judge! Quality of photography is great, and would SO love to win a better camera. Appreciate the decent prizes. Also appreciate the articles to improve technique.
It seems my problem has been resolved.
They have put up a photo in my name, and it is NOT my photo. It is sexual of nature and I can't find a way to cancel it or to let them know. I'm very upset!...
I was attracted to Viewbug by their long list of expert judges. There was virtually nothing to tell me about how the site operates, but I expected it to be similar to other sites that offer juried competition for a gallery exhibition or other prices.
This site is different. Most winners are decided members votes. Members range widely in skill level and experience. Look at the work posted on Flickr and similar sites to get an idea. If you are an advanced photographer, these competitions are not very useful and similar to the ones you can get for free elsewhere online. The juried competitions involve members narrowing the selection down to about 50 images (from thousands) and a more experienced juror (a website staff or other) just looks at top 50 images.
I found the nondisclosure of that up front together with listing of great many expert judges creating an impression that the competitions are juried by experts. Even when you do become a member, it is difficult to find out how the competitions are organised. By that time it is too late and 3 weeks after I signed up for a year, I was offered only about 1/4 of what I paid back. I found this deceptive. I hope that you didi better research of this site than I did and that you learn from the experience.
I have been a member of Viewbug since August 2016. I have been very pleased with the site, aside from a few issues I've brought up before, and clarifications that still haven't been made to my satisfaction, and from reading here, other people's satisfaction as well. One thing that really "bugs" me is the lack of definition for awards we can give to others. What is the meaning and difference between giving someone a "top choice" award versus "all star", for example? Those definitions and differences continue to be unclear to me! Another experience I've had, which someone else here complained about, is that I, too have had the same photos pop up in different trifectas when voting in a contest. What is happening with that? Why are one or two photos in a contest continuing to be repeated in different trifectas I'm being shown? Also, Viewbug needs to add a "clear" button. I agree with another reviewer on here that the buttons are sensitive - I too have accidentally given a peer award when I wanted to give more! Can a clear button be added to erase this sort of mistake and give a person the higher award they deserve? Other than that, I am overall very pleased with Viewbug. Once some of these issues are answered and resolved, I think I will be happy to give Viewbug 5 stars!
I just joined about 2 weeks ago and I guess before I joined I should have checked it out first but I did not . I have had no problem so far and I am enjoying myself so I am going with the flow .In life you have to take chances and that is what I am doing .
Only been a member for a month or so, at this stage I don't pay a subscription so have limited number of uploads. I appreciate the opinion of other members but don't shed any tears. A lot of the entries are, in my opinion, over processed but, each to his own.
It looks to me like just another phony site to get people to join and then requires monthly payments to enter most contests. I won an award of some kind but there is no explanation of what it means. It all looks like a useless exercise. Who are these people with their mysterious algorithm. How about some explanation of what your site really does. I would think time would be better spent on flickr or 500px
My passion for photography went up the moment I joined Viewbug! The encouragement, the support, the motivation, the inspiration that I have gained since becoming part of this web site is amazing. One can view incredible art from experienced professionals all the way to impassioned novices like me. The great thing is the variety of connections on this site: LIKES, VIEWS, PEER AWARDS, CONTESTS. You can be as "meek" and quiet on the site, or give awards, follow others, communicate privately (IE like FB or LinkedIn). Your own site has a moving slideshow. It is an impressive interface. Any questions that I have had are answered by VB staff to my e-mail. It's as much fun as the social media sites that get all the attention. Only it is geared completely to photography. I'd spend hours on this per day if I had time!
Viewbug is a lot of fun and provides inspiration and education. This site exhibits amazing talent, and I enjoy getting ideas from the other amazing photographers on this site. Every week, I look forward to seeing how my photos are doing in the contests. Great fun while learning how to improve my photography. Great combination!
Customer Questions & Answers
Hello Rebecca, Thank you for your follow up message! We do not charge additional fees for exposure or any other features. Our members have the option to keep their account as a Free Lite account if they prefer or pay for Monthly or Yearly Premium or Pro membership. If you have any additional questions, please kindly contact our member support team at email@example.com as we are required to provide support and/or answer questions via our own support portal to maintain an archive of the communication. Have a good day!
I received a Summer Award, but that is not the point. These awards are virtual, the same as winning Challenges. What they really amount to, is a virtual pat on the back to encourage you to continue and to improve. The difference comes in with the Contests. There you can win a tangible prize like a camera, a tripod, etc. To me all of this is no issue. I love photography, although I'm still in the learning phase, I enjoy posting my photos and appreciate it if I receive likes and really love it when I receive peer awards. By the way, the various awards, from "peer" through "virtuoso" have no tangible effect in the sense of prize money or objects, it only makes a difference in the satisfaction the receiver might feel.....oh yes and they add up points that make both the awarder and the receiver climb up the virtual ladder of progress from "Bronze" to "Ambassador".
Hello Tony, Congratulations on your Member Selection Award. :-) All members received this award for their most viewed photo on their profile, this year! This award is not connected to any contests, prizes, or special features. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our member support team at firstname.lastname@example.org Have a good day! Your friends at ViewBug
Hello Janet, Thanks for your question! We have a peer award system where members are able to give/receive awards to one another. This is a great way to show recognition for photos that you truly enjoy. Our staff and judges also have awards that they give to photos whose photos stood out. This is often based on criteria such as creativity, composition, perspective, etc. We have a helpful FAQ center here: http://help.viewbug.com/ and you're always welcome to contact our Member Support Team with any questions or concerns. Here's a quick link to contact the support team: http://help.viewbug.com/customer/portal/emails/new
: Hello Derick, Thank you for your message. When members reach Ambassador level, they are eligible to receive a ViewBug swag bag. Unfortunately, we don't release the contents of the swag bag as it's supposed to be a surprise for eligible members. We also do not publish the total number of members who reached the Ambassador level at this time. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our member support team at email@example.com and they'll be more than happy to assist you. :) Have a great day! Your friends at ViewBug ------------------------------------------------------------------ Hello Mike M., We are sorry to hear that you didn't receive your Swag. We send out a notification email to members who reach 500k Points requesting their shipping address. It's possible that our email went to your Spam / Junk folder. No need to worry. Simply contact our member support team at firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll be more than happy to assist you. :) Have a great day! Your friends at ViewBug
Hi Jim, Thank you for your message! You can see all your awards by clicking on 'Awards' tab within your ViewBug profile. If you have any further questions or need assistance, please contact our member support team at email@example.com Have a lovely day! The ViewBug Team ------------------------------------------------------------------ Hi Janet, Thank you for your message! We have many members that won prizes from all over the world. You are welcome to reach out to contest winners and confirm with them. All contest winners are announced in our Blog at http://www.viewbug.com/blog/winners. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our member support team at firstname.lastname@example.org Have a nice day! The ViewBug Team
I have been asking a similar question, but regarding contests and challenges. It came to mind while voting on a contest that I couldn't POSSIBLY look at and vote on all the entries. It's simply too taxing. So what happens to those whose work never gets seen, let alone voted on in a contest? It seems the answer ought to be some sort of scrambling process whereby every time someone goes in to vote, the order of the photos is automatically scrambled to provide a different lineup and at least even the odds of your photo(s) being seen and voted on. With some contests getting 20,000 or more entries, how can we be assured our work even gets SEEN?
That's an excellent question. And while Viewbug does take steps to make copyright violation harder, I still wonder if some of my images are out there, floating around and being used without my permission anyway. One thing you might try is to type a search such as "photos of red roses" or whatever subject you've done, and see what pops up. Bing often displays results of hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of photo and graphic images of all sorts.
I agree with Vash, the first time you log in, you'll open to the homepage. There is a go pro tap click on that and you can see the 3 different membership options. I actually got an advertisement for a trial membership that was for 15 days. I'm not sure if you can get that offer when you log on the first time. But try it. Viewbug is very easy to use, and if you need help they are always willing to give it to you. Stef
I wouldn't exactly call it a scam because they do publish your picture. However, the prices are outrageous, and the size of the photo is very small. They print 4 photos per page so it's hard to see the real impact of the photograph. In my case it wasn't Viewbug that sent me a similar email; it was another photography competition. I don't remember their name. I fell for it and paid the $49 plus shipping (around $12 I think). I did receive the book and my photograph was in it. So now I can say that my photo was published :) I wouldn't pay that kind of money again to get my photograph published. Once was enough They are definitely making a lot of money by making these offers. Nothing illegal about it, but I do feel it's way overpriced.