Apr 15, 2014

CGHub Is Gone - An Industry Standard For Concept Art Disappears Overnight

The entire concept art community has been shocked to learn that CGHub, a website born out of necessity following the downfall of Conceptart.org a few years ago is now gone forever. Following a DDOS attack and a hack that redirected the website to Cghugs.com, the website made the announcement that it would be closing it's doors for good yesterday.

The entire mess spawned from a subset of users who were incredibly vocal and unhappy with the website announcing that it would roll out premium accounts to raise funds for the website, which had never charged it's users for their service. I actually paid for an account willingly as they've allowed us to discover many talented artists to feature over the years, so giving something back was warranted.

What surprised us was that the roll out of a premium feature prompted some serious backlash that we witnessed on social media by high profile artists, accusing CGhub of having 'sold out' among some truly negative language pointed their way. Could the premium featured have been better though out? Sure. Was the reaction completely blown out of proportion? Absolutely.

A few days ago we received an unexpected refund for the premium account, around the same time the website went down in an apparent hacker attack. While people were initially confused at first, rumors started to circle about the fate of the website following rumors of financial difficulties and the founders being fed up with the attitudes some users had taken towards them making money off the website. If anything this entire experience just saddened me, as the discussions I saw on social media just showed off how self entitled some artists I really admired were. I won't give out names but we've featured quite a few of them on AwesomeRobo in the last few years.

What now? We're left with a complete void in the concept art website scene that needs to be filled. A once amazing treasure trove of networking and beautiful art gone. While I wish they'd taken another approach other than just unexpectedly pulling the plug, I can understand why they did after having their hands bit by a community that unfortunately expected a website to fund itself with money that appeared from thin air. The failure of users to acknowledge that these websites have staff and hosting costs to pay was a truly unfortunate one.

Even after the closure of CGhub, users took to attacking the team that supported the website, which was an absolute catch 22 moment. It kind of reminded me of the childish response that users had to Wikipedia shutting down for a day in support of an anti-SOPA protest last year. This is why we can't have nice things.

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