13 June 2008

Tastespotting is dead. RIP

thats it. the last year of my life living tastespotting. i read it from the time i send my kids off to school until i tuck them in at night. what am i supposed to do? this has ruined my life. i dont know what to do with myself now. someone needs to pick up the ashes. maybe i should. would anyone want to help? this HAS TO HAPPEN so many people relied on this for inspiration. this is... i dont even have words to describe how i feel right now.

I noticed that the Tastespotting food porn image aggregator had stopped updating in the last couple of days and had presumed that their server was struggling. Someone even joked to me that it was a Friday the thirteenth prank.

Then this evening when I checked my StatCounter results, I found that I had been inundated - with views by the hundreds via Google and forum posts. They were all reading my post on the Tastespotting Stalker.

On closer inspection it seems that the Tastespotting site was dead and thousands of fans appear to be pouring out their sorrow online. Two had even linked back to my Stalker post - about online harassment by a sick individual with multiple personality disorder who ritually posted inflammatory remarks on blogs appearing on Tastespotting - as a possible cause of the meltdown.

The most obvious conclusion people have been drawing is that NotCot have been threatened by litigation and shut down the Tastespotting site as a consequence.

By soliciting content, Tastespotting encouraged people browsing the web to steal appealing images to post on the Tastespotting site. Thereby attracting a huge audience and hence cashing in on sponsorship and advertising, leaving the door wide open for litigation.

What impact then does that have on NotCot's other sites, that do the same on topics of Design and Fashion? Are they to be spared? Or could it be that someone has become embroiled in the case of the Tastespotting Stalker - Charles Treuter - and has involved NotCot in their litigation? Perhaps none of these?

Could it be that resources were stretched or that like Scrabulous they have been threatened by a large corporation? Speculation I expect will be rife over the next fews days.

What is amazing however is the legions of fans who integrated the site into their daily routine.
Google search 'Tastespotting Gone' to see how it is reverberating around the Blogasphere. Like a strangulated gasp the lament is global from Estonia to Guam and Helsinki to Nicaragua. With the number of posts being made, I feel like hosting a Pot Luck wake on my blog for Tastespotting.

A quick Google search turns up discussions on forums including MetaFilter, The Nest and ChowHound, which then lead back to me. Perhaps they should now peruse Flickr where there are plenty of sumptuous spots.

I expect on a smaller scale this sense of loss also occurred when Food Porn Watch wound down. I know the number of hits on my blog dropped significantly when they packed up recently. No doubt sites that relied on Tastespotting to supply traffic will suffer in the same way.

As Bloggers become more the focus of Marketers and Advertisers via approaches with lashings of flattery to promote products for free, they are becoming more savvy to the economic opportunities opening up to them online. Sure, the scraping of your intellectual property will bring traffic to your blog, but why would you line the pockets of another person's website with advertising revenue, when you should be getting a cut? Is this where the seeds of litigation lie?

What will spring up in it's place? There is quite clearly a demand for this kind of thing. Google was successful in winning the legal right to display thumbnails from other sites on Google Image Search, so what is the correct way to go about delivering a food image aggregator?

Recipes2share has stated at Serious Eats that
they'll be working on building their own version...here
(I'll update the comments section with any others that spring up)

What are your thoughts?


Ashley said...

It was my daily dose of "food porn" I checked it religiously throughout the day to see of there was anything new that I wanted to cook or try out.. I'm so crushed and I would love to see it revived.

Anonymous said...

This is a sad day for food bloggers world wide.

Ed Charles said...

Damn, just as I had some food porny posts and traffic was dipping a bit. I didn't even notice that it died. Maybe a flickr group and slideshow could replace it?

grocer said...

Good spot sticky... (whoops, no pun intended)

I have slowly grown weary of tastespotting - becoming bored of the pictures of mac cheese and peanut butter cookies that dominate, depsite some other fabulous pictures on there, and knowing of some of the pictures (not just mine) that get knocked back.

Having had ongoing dialogue with Jean Aw over email some of the issues you touch upon here had been discussed - she was very confident however it wouldn't impact on her but I suspect this was a case of wishful thinking.

And finally, as with any site with moderation there comes a point where the moderator becomes too egocentric and starts losing the interest of some of the contributors that made their site great. Scrabulous also suffers from this.

In the meantime, I envisage blog rolls where the owner of the blog nominates there posts will become the answer as technically it's not stealing. HOWEVER, as you point out, it is still a case of someone making money through freebie contributions of others...

Lucy said...

Ah, I'm glad you posted this, Sticky. I wonder what will replace it? Hope you get some interesting responses here. Flickr's good, but will it be as useful, I wonder?

Must go back and read about your awful stalker...perhaps that was a contributing factor.

stickyfingers said...

Thanks everyone for your comments.

I noticed on Left Over Queen's Foodie BlogRoll forum that Recipes2share has launched a gallery on their site. On closer inspection it contains images but misses the point as is doesn't seem to link back to any blogs or recipes. It's early days yet and perhaps greater functionality will be built in.

I still wonder though, if it was unlawful for Tastespotting to host and own submitted images without the owners consent, why would it be any different for anyone else?

Ed - I like your Flickr idea. We should do it.

Amazingly, so far I have had about about 3000 hits here on the subject of Tastespotting since it went down.

stickyfingers said...

In response to the demise of Tastespotting, Food Porn Daily has been set up

They state:
"If you want to be added to my reader for consideration, please send me a message using the form below or email and I’d be jazzed to have a look! Also, please send me a message or email if you don’t want to be included—if you know, having your name associated with food porn gives you the creeps, or you’re otherwise fuggedty about things. And finally, if you have spotted food porn on someone else’s site, send me an email with the link—not just the photo—so I can check it out and make sure to give proper credit. Thanks!"

email: foodporndaily [at] gmail [dot]

stickyfingers said...

Another Tastespotting 'copycat' has emerged - Food Gawker. You have to register with Food Gawker before submitting your photo.


From their site...

"This is our homage to Tastespotting. We hope you return, but until then we built a clone to satisfy people’s need to gawk at food porn. The rules are simple…

1. Attribution is MANDATORY! Do not steal other site’s pictures!
2. Do not violate anyone’s copyrights! Any post with violations will be removed immediately.
3. Registration is required to post pictures.
4. Post beautiful, well-balanced, food related photos.
5. Photos are cropped to 250 px by 250 px.
6. Submissions are moderated.

The site is a work in progress. We know we need to do the following…

1. Display a preview of a post before submission.
2. Improve the registration process.
3. Add a user page with your submitted posts.
4. Add a contact form.
5. And the list goes on…

Drop us a comment with your thoughts, ideas, recommendations. Thanks!"

Anonymous said...


I'm running the recipes2share gallery, and it does in fact link back to blog sites. There are 2 galleries, one being the original in-site gallery and teh new members gallery where all submissions are validated. Please feel free to ask any questions or comments directly to teh site.

Anonymous said...

Please allow me to add to this debate. I have been using Recipes2 hare for quite some time now as it offers tried and tested recipes and some really interesting foodie articles – obviously written by someone with a real passion. Additionally, Recipes2Share has had a photo gallery for some months now and they have simply extended this to allow their members to publish their own photos.

I notice that they take care to make sure the photos are good quality and are careful about infringing copyright and also their gallery DOES link back to food blogs (see earlier comment). In addition it offers the ability to display (enlarge) each photo in a lightbox.

In fact, there are two galleries on Recipes2Share – one for their own photos which actually link to their own recipes, and the other gallery for their members which as I said links back to members’ blogs and websites.

As for the foodgawker site – great idea but a straight copy of tastespotting and just page afrer page of photos. Great if you just want to look at photos, but at the end of the day Recipes2Share is an online food magazine with an included gallery. I guess it depends upon what you want to do.

stickyfingers said...

You just keep 'em down, here's another Tastespotting clone for you...


stickyfingers said...

But wait! There's more...!