Photo licensing service ImageBrief, which was founded in 2011, is officially shutting down. The news was announced over email, in which ImageBrief notified current users of the close, and told them they have one week to download their images before the site's servers are wiped.

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During its six years in the licensing industry, the company offered customers a different way to get the images they need: rather than searching a pre-defined library, companies could submit on-demand "briefs" detailing the work needed, which photographers responded to in hopes of having their images purchased. This was a big change over how traditional stock photography agencies operate—and one that has been picked up by other companies over time—but the model doesn't seem to have worked out in the long run.

ImageBrief users were surprised by the closure announcement, which was delivered in the form of an email earlier this week. The statement, which says ImageBrief connected more than 70,000 creators with clients from around the world, fails to provide a reason for the company's demise. It does, however, advise photographers who participated in project briefs that they must download their account assets within the week, after which point the content will be deleted.

The full email reads:

Today, we’re announcing that after six years of connecting agencies, brands and creators, we will be closing down ImageBrief’s photographer marketing services

We’re proud of the products and apps we built, but even more so, we’re grateful for the community that enabled them to grow. More than 70,000 creators earned millions of dollars collaborating with 12,500+ global agencies and brands in 169 countries.

There has never been a better time for creators to thrive. Demand for content has increased, and the tools to create world-class creative are more accessible than ever.

Our talented team of engineers, designers, developers, and curators have worked tirelessly to make ImageBrief a success in a competitive and rapidly evolving landscape, and our immediate priority is to help you transition to other services to support your business.

In the coming days, our team will be in contact with you directly with detailed information about your specific account, license history, and services. Over the next week, we recommend logging into ImageBrief to download and retain your license history and related assets. […]

We want to thank you for your participation and loyalty, and look forward to working with you in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition.


Team ImageBrief

As of this morning, all of ImageBrief's social media pages have been deleted. And the homepage has been pared down into a simple log in page for buyers and photographers, with no mention of the closure.