500 Firepaper breaks up with 500px
I've just uploaded v2.70 to the Play Store, which removes the 500px-supported upgrade to allow pinning for 7 days.
500 Firepaper to me has been one of those apps that was fun to build and I actually used daily myself. Every Android device I use runs it as its background.
It used to be optionally-donate, as in, all features were free and you could buy Pro to buy me a beer. About 1.5 years ago, the guys at 500px let me know they wanted half the 'revenue'. In exchange, they would allow paying users to keep images cached (and pinned) for 7 days instead of 24 hours. Fair enough, they're providing the bandwidth, after all.
About half a year ago, 500px started to watermark 'their' images. According to their own documents, you can get a watermark-free stream of images for a fee. Of course, I immediately started lobbying to have those watermarks removed for images shown in 500 Firepaper - if not for all users, then at least for paying users.
I'll be the first to admit that earlier this year, some of my payments to 500px were late and batched together - my bad. They made some comments about that, so I started making sure the payment were done within the terms of the contract. Terms that were negotiated at length when it was signed, and now apparently forgotten.
They have become first unreasonable (and they're Canadian...) then completely unresponsive. After months of this, it is clear to me that they have no intention to either work anything out, or remove the watermarks, even for users they have received revenue shares from.
To me this is completely unacceptable. I cannot justify taking user's money and giving it to 500px, while at the same time 500px presents those same users with watermarked images that go a long way to ruin the experience.
As such, I am no longer making payments to 500px, and have removed the paid functionalities from the app. It is now once again an optionally-donate app, with all features available for free.
Pinning for 7 days will still be available for users who purchased when that feature was offered, for anyone else it will be limited to 24 hour cache time limit.
Note that I fully expect this is the beginning of the end for 500 Firepaper. It wouldn't surprise me if they just disabled the app's API key out of spite. I'm sure they don't agree with me keeping the 7-days-pinning feature available for those who have paid in the past either.
Last but not least, it has happened several times in the lifetime of 500 Firepaper that the app's API key was disabled by a photographer's request. Photographs uploaded to 500px are spread through the API for public consumption (with cache time limits). It seems a large number of photographers aren't aware of this happening, and just see their photos appearing somewhere - to their logic without their permission. Of course, they have granted 500px permission to do this when they signed up, but not realising this, they file complaints. If that happens again, I fear the API key will never be reinstated.
That's it, enjoy it while it lasts.