Karma's a Bitch, JPG Magazine.

If there’s one thing I can say about myself it’s this: I am fiercely loyal. I have my weaknesses, for sure. I’m terrible at saying goodbye. I am terrible when it comes to emergencies. I don’t like to attend parties, large social outings, or public events. And I can be pretty lazy as well. If it’s not laziness that beats me down, I have some mental hurdles I struggle with, which means sometimes I say I’m going to be somewhere and then something happens inside of my head and I simply cannot go. I’m also not one for making large convictions because I find I’m easily swayed and sometimes standing by said convictions proves difficult. A gal can change her mind sometimes, right? (There are some exceptions to this, of course. Some convictions make up who I am.) Anyway, I do have my issues; I have my many, many, issues.

But I am fiercely loyal. So much so, sometimes I get into trouble because of it. I have no regrets for harboring such a trait. I stick with and by my friends no matter what. If they have been wronged, I too feel wronged. If they feel jilted by someone, I too feel jilted. If I need to stand up for them, I do so, even if I haven’t been asked to do so. I can’t say much positive about myself and actually mean it, but I can say all of that. I’m loyal. (It’s pretty easy when you keep so few friends.)

Now I’ll get to the point.

I first heard about JPG Magazine through Heather Champ back in 2004. She and Derek wanted to create a photography magazine run by its members. I bought the first issue, sent in my own contributions (via email) and did whatever I could to get the word out there. In September of 2006, I signed up for JPG 2.0 where members were given the ability to upload their pictures to a crisp new Web site. The community grew to mammoth-sized proportions. It was awesome to see both Heather and Derek’s dream come true. I could not have been happier for them.

Truthfully, I love what JPG Magazine set out to accomplish. But that goal runs secondary to my loyalty to both Heather and Derek especially since that goal was conceived by the two of them. They have been nothing but gracious and kind to both Tobyjoe and me over the years and have worked doubly hard for the Internet community. So it came as a huge surprise when I received Derek’s email yesterday letting us both know that both he and Heather would no longer be a part of JPG Magazine.

I won’t go into details about what happened on here. You may read about it in Derek’s own words and Heather’s as well. There’s even a discussion surrounding said events taking place over on Metafilter. I will say that I’m terribly sad for the both of them because they have done nothing but awesome things on and for the Internet. I wrote Derek personally letting him know my thoughts about the whole situation, but I feel compelled to write about it on here as well. After all, I wrote about how awesome it was last October. I feel that it’s equally as important to let people know that JPG Magazine is now without its original, two founders.

I don’t say much with conviction (see that first paragraph again) because I have been known to fail and absolutes scare the shit out of me. But when the two traits collide – the negative bit about me being flip-floppy with the loyalty I have for my friends – that fierce loyalty always seems to win.

All that said, I will not be taking part in JPG Magazine any longer. I’m not asking that others follow suit, that would just be silly. JPG is, after all, a pretty awesome resource. But I want people to know what has taken place and how I feel about it. I want people to know why I deleted my account. I want people to know that what 8020 Publishing did to both Heather and Derek is just not right.


  1. well said. i’m with you.


  2. I’ve already said thank you to Derek and Heather elsewhere for their efforts. The situation [as much of it is public] is crappy, but its not exactly new as far as growing companies go. Now I’m certainly not as close to the two of them as you are, and my own contributions consist of just half dozen or so photos added post “2.0”, none published so I haven’t taken it the events personally. I haven’t taken my account down or deleted my photos as it looks like has been many people’s reaction on mefi or flickr…

    But I am taking a wait and see approach before submitting anything else. Just want to make sure I know what it is that I’m contributing to.


  3. Like I said, and I really do mean it, I don’t think everyone should run out and cancel their account. Do whatever you feel is right. Plus, Derek still owns part of the company, so hopefully he’ll get some hard earned cash from it.


  4. good for you, i canceled mine this morning too. i can’t believe the groundswell of support that’s we’re seeing for Heather and Derek, and against 8020. the JPG Mag photos page has lost over 75 pages worth of photos in the past four hours alone—just from users canceling their accounts!


  5. When you do this to two people like Heather and Derek, it doesn’t surprise me. Although 75 pages worth of pictures! That’s amazing.

    I can’t imagine why they (8020) would make such a poor business decision. Tobyjoe and i brainstormed a bit about it yesterday and came up with nothing but shadiness. I think I wrote as much on your Flickr page. What is the point of their actions? What would their desired outcome be? Why kill the roots of such a site? Even Wal Mart, king of all evil, still flaunt their mom and pop, all-American beginning. The whole thing stinks of greed to me, just not sure what the dangling carrot might be yet.


  6. Wow. It’s as if you wrote what I’ve been thinking all day. All of it. Thank you for this.


  7. I’m still torn about what to do in this situation. Yes, Derek still owns part of the company, and because it was his (and Heather’s) brainchild, I think they’d both hate to see it fail. (Although they must feel proud to know that 75 pages worth of people are showing their strong support by deleting their accounts…) But I’m guessing D and H’s interest in JPG is not solely financial. They built JPG, I imagine, not as a moneymaking venture but as a community tool, and it somehow doesn’t seem right to me that just because the business end went sour (because some guy got drunk with power) that the community should dissolve in its wake. I know how I feel about the situation but, like I said, I’m still not sure what to do. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, though, so we can all take whatever actions we feel best making.


  8. that is just pathetic and sad. i cancelled my account.
    that’s how i feel about it…


  9. Well, this has become a very dramatic event it seems. Jason (the CTO) responded to what Derek wrote. And Paul responded as well.

    it sucks that friendships are ending because of this. I know that Derek would not have wanted such a thing. I can totally picture what everyone is feeling right now and how sticky things are going to be for a while. It sucks, plain and simple. The whole situation sucks. I only hope that it blows over quickly. JPG can go back to doing whatever it is they wish to do and Derek and Heather can move on to their next awesome project, because we all know they’ll have one.


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