This is a strong warning to all photographers or anyone else considering purchasing a license key for Nikon software, particularly Nikon Capture NX 2, from a Canadian company called iMixer Media, previously known as Imagemixer Media:
Do not buy any software of any kind from them. They have a known history of selling license keys that Nikon considers invalid and subsequently disables, and nobody I know has ever received a refund from them. Both Nikon USA and Nikon Canada specifically warns against them by name on their website. Read on for all the details.
Who are Imagemixer?
They are known on the internet for having sold Capture NX 2 license keys that Nikon later claimed were invalid. Capture NX 2 ‘phones home’ to Nikon’s servers whenever you launch it (unless you block it from doing so using a tool like Little Snitch) to check for updates and to confirm the validity of the license key. When Nikon decides a license key is invalid it sends a command back to your software to shut down immediately, and flashes a message on the screen informing the user that the license key is considered invalid.
I was one of the poor unfortunate mugs who, in 2008, purchased a license key for Capture NX 2 from ImageMixer Media. I was just starting out in photography and not yet making money from it, and Imagemixer had a good deal on, or so it seemed. I purchased the key and used the software just fine until one day in 2010. That day as I fired up NX2 it dutifully informed me that Nikon now considered my license key invalid. The application shut down and that was that. No RAW processing for me!
Of course I ran straight to the Nikon website, hoping for some sort of standard ‘Follow these steps to re-validate your purchased license keys’ process or something, but to my horror I found this:
It has come to our attention that product keys for Nikon software are being illegally sold and distributed from websites. We have confirmed the illegal sale and/or distribution of product keys for, as well as the unauthorized use of, the following products:
– Capture NX
– Capture NX 2
– Camera Control Pro
– Camera Control Pro 2
When unauthorized software use is confirmed in relation to the software license agreement, measures that prevent the use of Nikon software are implemented. Please contact Nikon if you believe that you have purchased an authentic product key, but the software indicates that the product key is unauthorized and the software can no longer be used.
Ah f***, is probably what I said. Or more likely something a lot harsher. Just to hammer home the point I also found this statement from Nikon USA about Imagemixer specifically:
It has come to our attention that a website called “Imagemixer.net” is attempting to sell Nikon software keys. This web site is not an authorized dealer and is not affiliated with Nikon Inc. in any way. Nikon Inc. cannot assist with any license keys sold by this site and cannot replace any non-working keys without proof of purchase from an authorized dealer.
But perhaps that isn’t damning enough. Perhaps you (and Imagemixer) are thinking, “but they’re based in Canada – maybe Nikon Canada recognises them?” and the answer is – nope. Here’s what Nikon Canada have to say:
It has come to our attention that a website named “Imagemixer.net” may be offering for sale Nikon software keys. This web site is not a Nikon Canada Authorized Dealer and is not affiliated with Nikon Corporation or any of its affiliates and subsidiaries.
Nikon Canada Inc. offers product support for Nikon products sold by Nikon Canada Authorized Dealers only, and will not assist with software license keys sold by unauthorized sources. Nikon Canada Inc. will only replace non-working software keys with proof-of-purchase from a Nikon Canada Authorized Dealer.
I did some more frantic Googling, hoping against all odds that maybe there was a loophole, maybe Nikon would make an exception, maybe Imagemixer hadn’t just taken my money and run. What I found told me the opposite. Lots of forum posts from similarly stranded NX2 users like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one…
I could go on. You get the idea.
Imagemixer customers using Capture NX 2 flocked to the web to complain but I don’t think a single one of us got anything out of Imagemixer because they simply stopped bothering to answer any correspondence. And Nikon replied that it was out of their hands because we’d not used an authorised dealer – something Imagemixer clearly claims to be on their website (see screen grab below). An expensive lesson learned.
I have to say that this spelled the beginning of the end of my on-again-off-again love affair with Nikon Capture NX 2. Partly because I couldn’t afford to buy it again, and partly because frankly it’s always been a steaming turd of an app whose main benefit to me was the ability to generate a JPG from the RAW that looked exactly like how I’d set my camera up. The software was slow, clunky, and a chore to deal with for bulk edits, but I really valued that Nikon look, a look I had never been able to match in Lightroom.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. Getting screwed by Imagemixer was the mother of my desperation and so I found myself researching Lightroom once more. In the intervening years since my first look (Lightroom 1) it had come on leaps and bounds and to my delight now included a bunch of Nikon camera profiles that precisely recreate in RAW the look of my D700’s JPGs. Rejoice! It was with much glee that I scoured every last bit and byte of Nikon and Nik software from my iMac, and I’ve never looked back.
So yesterday I got an interesting email from a company called ‘iMixerMedia’ which is basically Imagemixer trading under a slightly different name. Turns out they’re still hawking ‘cheap’ license codes for Nikon and Nik software as this sloppy AdWords ad I just grabbed shows:
Seeing as I’m a previous customer they obviously thought I might be interested in throwing away more of my money on their worthless products before being completely ignored when it all goes horribly wrong, and so they kindly sent me a marketing email this week.
Here’s the hilarious opening line:
We hope you’re getting the full use of the software you purchased from us.
A-HAAAAAAA-hahahahahahahaha! Ha! Ha. Haaaaaargh. You’ve got to admit, that’s pretty funny. To quote the delightfully sarcastic Blackadder, thank God I wore my corset because I think my sides have split.
Hey Imagemixer guys, quick newsflash: No, I’m not, and you know it – because I emailed you enough times trying to get a refund or an explanation, all of which you ignored.
Well anyway, having fallen off my chair laughing at the outrageous brass balls on these two-bit chancers, I decided to see what amends, if any, they might have made to their inventive business plan (‘Stage 1 – rip off customers; Stage 2 – write to them five years later and try to rip them off again’) and headed over to their website. Right there on the contact page I saw this little gem:
iMixerMedia.com is owned and operated by Market Click. We represent Pixela Corporation, the Rights Owners of ImageMixer software. We are also a Registered Dealer and Reseller of products from companies such as Sony, Nikon Inc. Adobe Systems Inc. and Nik Software Inc.
In case they edit that, I grabbed it:
So then I headed over to the Nikon website again to check their list of Authorised Nikon Dealers, updated January 6th 2014 (four days ago at time of writing). Guess who isn’t on the list? Market Click, Pixela, Imagemixer or iMixer. Funny that, isn’t it?
Do Not Buy Software From Imagemixer Or iMixer
In case the point has not yet been made (and it has, but I love the drama) here it is one more time:
Nikon clearly states on their website that “(t)he only web site authorized to sell software keys alone (not boxed copies of software) is the Nikon Store”. And yet here comes ImageMixer trying to sell exactly that at a knockdown rate on their website under a blurb that claims they’re authorised to do so.
To me that reeks of bullshit. Please don’t give them your money.
Disclosure: It may well be that Nikon and Imagemixer have kissed and made up, and that Nikon just forgot to take down their page warning against Imagemixer, and that Nikon just forgot to add Imagemixer to their list of Authorised Dealers, and that Imagemixer are hawking entirely valid cheap-ass license keys despite Nikon officially claiming that nobody but Nikon may do so. I gave Imagemixer or iMixer or whatever they’re called ample opportunity to comment, emailing them once in reply to their marketing spam, and twice via their Contact Us page. If they ever get back to me to correct what may well be numerous egregious errors and misrepresentations on my part I’ll be sure to post it in an update.
If you don’t see that update on this page, please don’t be buying their ‘products’.
Update – 12 hours later
Well this is interesting. First of all, this post, this website, in fact everything I do online has proven very popular in the last 12 hours with a certain IP address in Toronto, Canada. I wonder who that could be? Hi guys!
Secondly, Imagemixer replied to my original email to them, in which I questioned the value of trying to re-sell me Capture NX 2 and suggested that if they thought I was going to fall for it twice they were in urgent need of medical attention and should ring 911 immediately (well, I laughed).
Their answer? That I likely “abused” my license key and either way it wasn’t their fault, Because. Their words:
Thank you for your email.
Sorry to hear that you are experiencing trouble with your Nikon Capture NX 2 software.
We understand customers have had issues with their product keys when attempting to reinstall or migrate their software in the past, however, this was an issue with the Nikon end user license issued by the manufacturer and not with the resellers. The end user license allows for the installation of the software on two computers, owned by the license holder only and will become null and void if abused. Any issue when attempting to reinstall or migrate the software, however, has now been resolved.
Please note too that all orders for Nikon products are processed through our affiliate program and every product key is authentic, legal and unique to each order.
A convenient pair of excuses: both almost impossible to prove otherwise by me at this stage as I have no intention of digging out my license key and reinstalling NX 2, and Nikon refuses to be drawn further on the topic. Still, let’s take them at their word for one fanciful second:
- If it has been resolved why weren’t all customers informed? They’ve evidently got my email address – did they ‘lose’ my emails of complaint three years ago?
- Why is Imagemixer still named as a company to avoid on Nikon’s US and Canada websites?
- Why is Imagemixer still not listed as authorised resellers on Nikon’s sites?
- If their keys are “authentic” and “legal” how do they explain that Nikon clearly states “(t)he only web site authorized to sell software keys alone (not boxed copies of software) is the Nikon Store”
Here are the facts as I see them: I did not abuse my license key; I installed Capture NX 2 on one laptop and one desktop computer which are my computers that I own. It did not stop working as a result of uninstalling it or reinstalling it, I simply loaded it up one day to do some work and Nikon shut the license key down and it stopped working. Same as it stopped working for everyone else I’ve linked to. Did we all abuse our software?
As for it all being a mixup that has since been resolved I defer to the authority, Nikon. They name Imagemixer as a company to be avoided, and Imagemixer aren’t listed on the official Nikon Authorised Resellers page.
The evidence speaks for itself, don’t you think?