In March, DPReview announced that parent company Amazon was shutting it down, and the photography world entered a dual state of shock and disbelief.
For 25 years, DPReview had served as a consistently reliable and authoritative voice on photography gear. But photography enthusiasts didn’t just go to DPReview to drool over Canon’s newest lens or compare Sony and Nikon’s face-detection autofocusing capabilities. It was an active forum where we (yes, I’m one of those photography people) could hang out and geek out.
That such an extensive archive of photography knowledge and the strong community it had fostered was being banished to the abyss — the plan wasn’t even to archive it but to switch it off completely — was a blow to many. The announcement on DPReview garnered over 5,000 comments, and people took to social media to share their thoughts about Amazon’s decision.
But that soon changed when Gear Patrol — which offers advice, how-tos and product reviews, but not specific to cameras — came to the rescue. It finalized a deal to purchase DPReview from Amazon for an undisclosed sum in June 2023. I was excited to speak to Eric Yang, Gear Patrol’s founder and CEO, to find out what motivated the purchase and what he learned from the process.
Authority and community
Yang was driven to bring DPReview under the Gear Patrol aegis for several reasons, and while it made business sense, there was a personal motivation there, too.
“It’s a business, so it’s not a totally altruistic endeavor,” Yang told me. “But DPReview is very meaningful to me. It’s meaningful to a lot of people, I think, who have grown up on the internet.”
DPReview is home to an extraordinary knowledge base that Yang was reluctant to see disappear. But this knowledge base doesn’t reside just in its vast archive of reviews, buying guides, editorials and advice; it’s also in the strong community that this expertise fostered. For so many people, DPReview was a safe place to express opinions, ask for advice, or just be photography geeks. All of this, together, was valuable to Yang.
A natural fit
Yang describes Gear Patrol as a place that empowers people to pursue their interests and passions with confidence, which is why he believes that Gear Patrol and DPReview are a natural fit. “We want to help people have the knowledge that they need to pursue their particular passions in the best possible way,” Yang said.