BREAKING: Digital Railroad Shuts Down

Posted on 10/28/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (5)

Although Digital Railroad executives had hoped the company would be purchased by someone who will maintain its services, this is not to be. Photographers logging into their Digital Railroad archives today are being notified that the company has shut down, and that they have only 24 hours to access the archives hosted by the company.

Precisely when this notice was posted is not known; as such, it is difficult to predict the exact time of Digital Railroad's Web site take-down. It is also not clear if the company has notified its customers in a more active fashion than posting a notice that requires a visit to the Web site and access privileges to see. Telephone calls to Digital Railroad offices are being answered with a standardized message that advises that the phone number has been disconnected. Customers are directed to address questions pertaining to claims to Digital Railroad Inc., c/o Diablo Management Group 1452 N. Vasco Road, #301, Livermore, CA 94551.

Thousands of photographers use Digital Railroad archives. Backing up their images will undoubtedly take longer than usual as everyone rushes to the Web site at the same time.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


  • Lisa Posted Oct 28, 2008
    We have had no notifications from DRR directly as of yet (besides the post on their website).

  • Betsy Reid Posted Oct 28, 2008
    SAA recommends that any photographer with a DRR archive:

    Ensure that all of your files and data are backed up.
    Download all details of licenses made with outstanding royalties due.
    Download a list of all registered users who have accessed your Archive.
    Check that any monthly or annual fees do not continue to be billed to your credit card.

    SAA is greatly concerned about the status of outstanding royalties due to photographers from DRR's Marketplace stock portal, as well as the manner in which this closure has been handled, giving loyal customers no reasonable advance warning or support.

    Betsy Reid
    SAA executive director

  • Bill Bachmann Posted Oct 28, 2008
    I am one of the top stock photographers in the world. I value other photographers very much for their hard work & efforts, but I am constantly amazed how we photographers are screwed in good times and bad.

    Let me see if I have this right... When times are good, one of our agencies sells outright to a Getty (or some other vulture) and the owner of our old agency pockets millions of dollars. It should be mentioned that without the loyal photographer's pictures in the file, they would have NOTHING but empty computers to even attempt to sell. But, forget that, the old owner sells it outright and never thinks to share that profit with his only resource, his photographers. He/she pockets all the money and thinks he made a good decision for sure! We, the photographers, have to follow the new owner, usually at a lower percentage! (whether we like it or them at all)

    Then, when times are bad -- like now -- a Digital Railroad runs away in the middle of the night and pleads bankruptcy and AGAIN photographers have to hustle and try to even get any of their images returned and HOPE to get some money back from sales already done! Good luck...

    When are we going to see SOME agency--- big or small --- working FOR photographers and ABOUT photographers??

    I wonder why we are always last, yet without us they all would have absolutely nothing ever!

    What do others think of this story?

    Bill Bachmann
    Orlando, Florida

  • Nabila Posted Oct 29, 2008
    It is really shocking. They seemed to be doing pretty well in the beginning of the year. Plus the notice period is too short!

  • Mark & Audrey Gibson Posted Oct 29, 2008
    We have been with DRR for one year. We joined on the encouragement of two respected photographers, George Olson and Peter Bennett, who admittedly made a "commission" for photographers brought on board. I am appalled that in the last two weeks, DRR solicited our annual renewal fee ($480) with no hint of problems. Luckily, having read about some economic troubles, we changed our fee basis to monthly ($50). I find it disgusting that they took our $50 for service they knew they could not perform even for one month. Nor have we EVER received $$$ for sales through Marketplace or DRR which according to our account are a whopping $607.20. What we did learn is a lot of new technical delivery methods, invested in software and as a technical immigrant rather than native, spent lots of hours ramping up to speed to play in this arena. I agree with Bill, businesses built on our efforts without fair return for the providers of the product come and go regularly. Time to wise up.

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