R.I.P. Tastespotting.com! It Was A Love/Hate Relationship, but I’m Gonna Miss Ya.



Just linked to tastespotting.com to read a message that looks as though it was written in a hurry on a napkin like a mob hideout ready to be raided! It read:

“Thanks for a great 18 months! In light of recent legal complications, NOTCOT will no longer be operating tastespotting.com” -Jean NOTCOT 6.13.08

What the f happened? Legal complications? The only thing I can speculate is if people were uploading other people’s photographs without the photographer’s consent? I often saw strange catalog-like pictures on there and wondered why they were there. Other than that, I really don’t know why they would run into legal issues? Any ideas?

I had a major love/hate relationship with tastespotting.com. I’m sure you have the same feelings, right? You always wondered why they weren’t taking your photos, so you kept adding different shots of the same thing so that maybe one will be ‘tastespotting appropriate’ (which always burned my ass). I even bought a few friggin’ white plates just for that website and attempted to style at least one photo so that it could easily fit that tastespotting square look! But then there would the occasional ‘crappy picture’ that would make it on the site and I’d wonder who was smoking what there. Just the other day I was searching to see if one of my pics made it only to be horrified of a picture that looked as though it was taken by a camera phone – it was dark, blurry and looked like sick in a bowl (I think it was a cottage pie attempt or something). Not being a snob, but I just couldn’t understand what they wanted in a photo – this was just one of the frustrations I felt about the site.

With all my complaints aside, tastespotting.com was a wonderful outlet for food porn (another term I think is kinda cheesy, but it does describe it perfectly) and helping the food blog community get to know each other in a different way. I loved the ability to peruse food photos and click on the ones that I thought looked interesting, unique and delicious. I really hope that tastespotting.com comes back once all the legal crap is dealt with and I can continue to love them and curse them to the high heavens once again.

30 thoughts on “R.I.P. Tastespotting.com! It Was A Love/Hate Relationship, but I’m Gonna Miss Ya.

  1. Hahhaha, you’re totally right about the “what the?? they chose a picture that looks like vomit on a plate but not this one of mine?!?!” moments. I must say, I’ll really miss it as a resource for new food blogs and recipe ideas..

  2. Hear hear! I was confused why it wasn’t updating yesterday and was dismayed to see it disappear this morning. If it was a matter of users posting photos they don’t own, I don’t understand why Tastespotting would voluntarily go down over it. There are so many social media websites plagued with this issue, and while I am not a lawyer, my understanding is that this is what the DMCA is for: to give portal type outlets safe harbor. It makes me wonder if there’s something juicier that took them down. :-/

  3. I totally agree!!! I felt the same way about my photos getting accepted. Sometimes I never understood why they didn’t, and other times, something I took in haste with a bad background made it!! And then there were those horrible photos that made it for what reason.?
    And I’m still sad that it’s gone. There is definintely a market out there for something like that.

  4. Hi Amy. You left a message on my Blog few days ago So I decided to pay a visit to you and your Blog. I love it. Your pictures are really great and georgous.
    And I enjoyed your post about Tapas. One of my favorite finger food. I am from the French Basque Country so Tapas have been around for ever… we are so close to Spain. Now I live in Southern California.
    By the way I tagged YOU!! you are the next…
    A bientot

  5. wow… well, it was fun while it lasted…

    i too was wondering why it wasn’t updating. it seemed like such a successful little operation they had going on. kind of ingenius…

    if i were tech savvy i’d go ahead and make a similar version of it.

  6. One difference is that they required you to upload the picture. Since they didn’t just link to it, they were actually hosting the content. I’m pretty sure that takes them out of the safe harbor provisions. I don’t *know* that was the problem, but it seems likely. (I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet.)

  7. I can’t find any info on what happened with TS either. I am crushed. I had a love/hate thing with them too (even posted about it), but we worked it out. 😉
    Making it on TS always meant a huge spike in traffic. Now, I guess I’ll go back to being a nobody again. Sigh…… 🙁

  8. I have never been to TS before but it seems like a great idea. BF and I are quite tech savvy so maybe we can create something similar? I wonder what their “legal complications” are though. I don’t have to funds to hire a lawyer :-p

  9. i’m in mourning too.

    well, the note said, “NOTCOT will not be operating Tastespotting.com” which means possibly..that maybe..just hoping..praying..that someone else may operate the site? Maybe the legal troubles are b/c of NotCot and not Tastespotting in particular?

  10. I share a lot of your same sentiments. Sometimes instead of cursing or scratching my head when my photo wasn’t selected- i took it as a challenge to improve my photography/ food styling. I loved being part of the Tastespotting community and now wish i had a list of my favorite bloggers that i took inspiration from. So sad. Fingers crossed that it will rise again.

  11. Yeah, we were crushed as well. I couldn’t believe it this morning.

    I can’t imagine it’s photo-rights related when their other sites, especially the fashion one, are still up and running using pretty much the same concept. I hope we hear something from them.

  12. I totally agree, it is so sad but never understood their requirements. Was this a one monkey operation or were there lots of people working on it. As mysterious as it appeared, it disappeared. So strange.

  13. I’m sorry to see it go – and just as sorry to see “legal issues” on food blogs… I mean, really. I just don’t “get” why simple things need to end up in the quagmire of political crap.

  14. I think we’re all with you on the “love hate” and “What the — ? My pasta didn’t make, but that plate of sick made it? Who paid them off?”

    Still, when my pics DID make it on, I was of course thrilled to be able to sit at the cool kids’ table.

    Plus, it was just a Farmer’s Market of Food Blogs for me — what’s fresh today? I miss it so.

    There is a quote attributed to Jean Aw on another blog which indicates it wasn’t copyright related, but I suppose we’ll need to wait awhile for the autopsy results.

  15. I think someone else will pick up on the idea and create a similar site. So, my hopes are high:) I was always lucky with that site – almost 99% of pics I submitted got accepted. But I still didn’t understand why certain post were there. Anyway, thank you and goodbye tastespotting!

  16. I think I’m still in shock about the whole thing. I’ve had to show major restraint the last couple of days not to check out tastespotting. I instinctively want to check if there’s anything new. I laugh however about your love/hate relationship. I don’t know how many times I submitted a great photo and was sure it would clear and they ended up putting up some of my worst! Oh well, I hope to see it back, it was a great resource for cool blogs and delicious recipes.

  17. I did like Tastespotting very much and found a whole lot of great foodie blogs thanks to the site. But I think that they made some bad karma for themselves.

    Some anonymous comments from around the foodie blogosphere say that ‘sources inside NotCot’ say that the problem is NOT copyright related. I doubt that very much. One user ID (Could it have been a NotCot employee??) seemed to be responsible for about 1 in 5 of the submissions on the site, meaning that a lot of the photos were most likely used without permission.

    If NotCot is not a shady outfit, they will tell their loyal users what indeed happened. In this sort of situation, if legal action is indeed being taken AGAINST NotCot, I would think that they would be able to talk about it. It’s not like you force someone to sign an NDA before you sue them.

    Another sure sign of NotCot’s immaturity was that they claimed that their ‘concept’ was copyright (in their footer). The expression of an idea can be protected (copyright/patent), but an idea (concept) cannot be. Further, the ‘concept’ of selling advertising around images uploaded by users with links to other websites, etc is hardly original. A whole, whole lot of prior art there, I do believe.

    Well, RIP Tastespotting.

    KyotoFoodie de Peko

  18. Wonderful comment, Peko Peko. Are you a lawyer? You seem very informed of things I have no idea about, legally speaking. Very thought-provoking, indeed. I think there will be alot of people in our community that would be very taken-aback and feel extremely duped if tastespotting doesn’t have the decency to ever let us in on understanding what happened. The more I read comments, the more I realize how much the forum was loved and necessary. For them to just run out like a guy who just woke up next to some ugly girl from a night of drunken debauchery is just wrong. imagine you were that ugly girl! that’s kind of how I’m feeling – just please consider my feelings – we helped you get that NY Times banner!

    You know what was also a great way to get updates from food blogs was foodpornwatch. they disappeared too only a few months ago. word had it that the person who ran it needed help b/c it was growing too big.

    anyways, keep the comments coming, folks. we love hearing from you! oh and celine – thanks for the tag! and robin – i’m checking out the site!


  19. Yeap! I was going to upload a picture last Friday and it wasn’t there! Just the note you mentioned! I feel really sad about it… it was a great site!!! As you say R.I.P. but I hope that it reborns from its ashes like the Phenix!!!!!

  20. LOL I totally hear you about seeing unbelievably nondescript (or just plain bad) pictures and sulking that one of mine didn’t make it, heh 🙂 I do miss Tastespotting though, the stellar quality of many photos do inspire my own photography. I’ve also just updated about this on my food blog, highlighting some ‘new’ websites that have emerged in the last few days hoping to fill the Tastespotting-void. We’ll just have to see how they develop.

  21. It was a frustrating mix of unpredictability, crass commercialism, and wildly random photo quality with a blatant bias in favor of twee desserts. But it could also bring 1000 visitors to my blog in a single day.


  22. I am the rare blogger who:
    A- Did not know what Tastespotting was….
    B- Did not particularly care that the site went down
    C- Never paid attention to how my photos looked so they could get on TS

    So, yeah….it’s just not that big of a deal to me, and I can’t feel your pain. Sorry. Part of me wants to shove some tough love at you- like, it’s a website, you’re human. This should be one of those items listed under ‘Things that really don’t matter’.

    I do, however, love the spinach egg dish. Eggs are something that my spouse does not eat and I can’t cook them and really enjoy them when he is around because he hates the smell so much that it almost makes him ill.

  23. ahhh, kate. tell it like it is, girlfriend! well, to you it would be listed under ‘things that really don’t matter” but to most of the 25 commenters above it would be listed as something that mattered to them. i totally get where you are coming from – in the scheme of life and food blogs, who really gives a flying poo. but in actuality, if you used it as a tool (which it was, and a great one at that), it was something worthwhile. I was introduced to some really great blogs that I would never have found if tastespotting didn’t exist. i also learned about recipes I never heard of b/c of the easy access to roll through pictures of various food blog entries.

    but you’re right – it’s totally stupid that they were so picky and annoying about their “layout” that people started doing things the ‘tastespotting way’ and, in essence, I found sometimes it got a bit cheesy. like we were all followers! i am guilty of it and it goes against everything i believe in! but, besides that, i really did love the forum and accessibility it gave me to get to know new, great and delicious food blogs.

    oh, and did your husband have a bad incident with eggs? i was like that for about 10 years w/ egg rolls b/c i got sick on them once when i was 8!

  24. Yes! This post about Tastespotting was great-I had many a sad reject, and other days, well…what will I do to draw in those food voyeurs now that it’s gone? It’s too bad.
    I love your blog, BTW, and the suggestion you left me to show the insides of the empanadas! The recipe for this month’s Empanada of the Month is up, and I linked to you-I do hope you’ll join us!

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