I have been a member since 2013. I have made Finalist on numerous contests and won 2 contests. I was a paid member for one year but did not renew. I have decided to delete my account as Viewbug has become pretty much a scam to attract paid members.
I have a fundamental problem with their marketing to new and non-paid members. Their tactic is that they use other members for free by making them Curators. Viewbug then uses these Curators to like and comment on new users giving them a sense of community and to give them a sense that their photos are really popular even in cases where their photos are quite frankly horrible and have no chance of ever winning contests which encourages people to buy memberships. They also use Curators to send private messages and comment on peoples photos who have not posted for awhile. Again, this gives people the false sense that their photos are really popular. Even today I received a private message from a Viewbug Pro+ member "Jimboz" who follows 1,489,288 people! I haven't posted in a while and he messages me "You have creative photos. Looking forward to seeing new photos in your profile." This guy has never once liked or commented on any of my photos and has one primary purpose: solicit business for Viewbug.
Prizes on this site have been getting really bad even for contests that you have to be a paid member to submit photos. As of this posting, Many of Viewbug prizes are worth literally nothing. They love to have Social Media Exposure prizes which basically means they feature you on the Viewbug website. I won a contest once where that was the prize and I still have no idea what I actually won or where/when they promoted me. For contests with bigger prizes, they love to give away old stock product and smaller, cheap items like crappy tripods. Even as of today, they are still giving away cameras like the 5D MKIII with went on the market in 2012 and was replaced by the MK IV in 2016. Figure it this way; A paid membership is about $100 per year. The likelihood of winning a contest with a big prize is EXTREMELY slim even for the best photographers. Your chance of even recovering your membership is almost zero.
JUDGING: This is where the contests really suffer. There are some technically flawed photos making it through to the finals of contests. We are talking pictures that are not even in focus (and I'm not talking intentional/artistic depth of field). There are photos making it through with poor contrast, colour saturation and lacking sharpness. The other major issue is that many contests, the topic is vague in explanation and entries that meet the criteria could be people or wildlife. However, many of these contests are often judged by people who work in the portrait industry and their selections are heavily weighted to their own photography style.
SPAM: Once they have your email address, prepare to get spammed about paying for membership. Under my account manger, I have only one box checked under communication preferences which allows them to notify me if I win a contest. I continue to get emails with offers to get a paid membership. I contacted customer support and asked them why I keep getting emails and this was their response:
VB Customer Care (ViewBug)
Feb 6,19:44 PST
Thank you for your participation in the ViewBug community.
We apologize for the inconvenience. Our editors are currently set to send offers like this to all of our members. Unfortunately, no mailing lists exists where an email address can be removed. However, we've forwarded your email to our tech and management team for review and consideration when implementing future updates.
Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.
Thank you and have a great day!
Your friends at ViewBug"
I am not the only one to complain about this issue. I also live in Canada where it is actually illegal to send unsolicited emails to people and you must have an opt out option.