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Photopoint to charge for service

By dpreview staff on Apr 7, 2001 at 04:00 GMT

Owners of Photopoint accounts are today receiving an e-mail letter addressed from Ed Bernstein, the CEO of Photopoint to inform them that Photopoint will be switching to a subscription based service. "...starting in mid-May, PhotoPoint.com will no longer be a free service". They will be charging an annual fee of $9.95 (existing members, limited time offer only) for storage of up to 1,000 images or $19.95 with 25 free prints bundled. It's a sad day for the photo sharing community but it's no surprise to those of us who have been following the fortunes of the market or who understand the economics of such a huge project.

Phil: Photopoint aren't the first, Photoloft announced similar charges in mid March. I've already seen several messages posted on our forums by Photopoint users exclaiming their sadness and confirming that they will not be continuing their membership with Photopoint. I'm not sure if Photopoint just haven't yet updated their website but there's no mention of charges on the "Sign Up" page nor is there anything in their terms and conditions, which is a little misleading.

The question now is, when will the rest follow?

The e-mail letter:

Dear Member,

PhotoPoint has dedicated its business to protecting your pictures and allowing you to share them easily with your family and friends. We thank you for making PhotoPoint the #1 online photography company.

To continue providing you the online photo experience you enjoy, we need to make several changes to our service in the coming weeks. Most significant is that, starting in mid-May, PhotoPoint.com will no longer be a free service, except for limited "trial" memberships.

We believe you deserve to get real value for your dollars. For the past six months we have conducted surveys and talked directly with members to learn what people want from an online photo company. We have built a full-service program based on value, not just storage, designed by users like you.

As a PhotoPoint Member, you will enjoy all of the current PhotoPoint features including secure photo albums and PicCheer photo postcards, plus:

  • Save 5% off all print orders for the year
  • Create and Save up to 5 SmashCast Movies - add music and graphics to your photos
  • Store up to 1000 photos*
  • Print at Home service - print photos at home like a pro
  • Enjoy express customer service
  • Receive our PhotoPointersTM Tutorial Series - valuable tips and tricks for improving your photography

For a limited time, you can join for an entire year for a one-time charge of $19.95, and we'll include 25 free prints (the prints alone are a $12 value). As a valued member, you also have the option of a special lower priced basic membership, which does not include prints, for just $9.95 for the year. These introductory offers will end April 30, 2001.

We want to thank you for your loyal support of PhotoPoint, and look forward to continuing to provide you with the best photo service on the Internet. If you have any questions, please visit our More Information page, or contact Customer Service.

Sincerely,

Ed Bernstein,
CEO
PhotoPoint.com

* For members with more than 1000 photos in their PhotoPoint account, an additional $9.95 yearly fee will be charged per 1000 photos.

This from the Photopoint website:

What's happening?

PhotoPoint is charging for membership, starting in mid-May. Free limited memberships will be available on a trial basis.

What do I need to do?

Sign up for a paid membership so you can continue to enjoy all the features of PhotoPoint plus the additional benefits of membership. Act now and take advantage of our special introductory offers good through April 30th.

What do I get as a Member?

  • 25 free prints (Membership Plus Plan Only)
  • Save 5% off all print orders for the year
  • Store up to 1000 photos*
  • Use Print at Home service - print photos at home like a pro
  • Enjoy express customer service
  • Receive our PhotoPointersTM Tutorial Series - valuable tips and tricks for improving your photography
  • Create and Save up to five SmashCast Movies - add music and graphics to your photos
Plus you can continue to enjoy the full features of PhotoPoint, including photo-sharing, PicCheers, PhotoPoint's Gallery, Forums, Digital Camera magazine and tips on photography and digital cameras.

How much does it cost?

For a limited time, you can join for an entire year for a one-time charge of $19.95, and we'll include 25 free prints (the prints alone are a $12 value).

Or, for those who don't need or want free prints, you can purchase a Basic Membership for only $9.95 for one year.

These introductory offers will end April 30, 2001.

What if I do nothing?

After our new Membership Program launches, and you have more than 10 photos in your PhotoPoint account, you will be prompted to upgrade to a paid membership, when you first sign in to your account.

What if I don't want to pay?

If you don't wish to purchase a membership, you can:
Reduce your account to fewer than 10 photos by downloading or deleting photos. This will give you a trial membership, where you will be limited to 10 or fewer photos in your account, will have restricted use of SmashCast movies, and will not have access to Print-at-Home.
Buy all, or some, of your photos on CD-ROM. Find out more
What if I still do not pay and do not remove my photos after the new Membership Program launches?

After our new Membership Program launches, if you have not purchased a Membership, and have more than 10 photos in your account, you will have a 10-day grace period starting from the time that you first sign in. During that time you can delete or download your photos. After that 10-day grace period, your account will be locked. At that time, neither you, nor your visitors, will have access to your photos. You will no longer be able to access your photos unless you purchase a Membership for the price it is offered at that time.

What about my SmashCast Movies?

Please note, after our new Membership Program launches, all SmashCast movies will expire after 10 days, unless you are a paying Member. Paying members can create as many Smashcast movies as they like within the year and store up to five at any time.

What if I have more than 1000 photos?

PhotoPoint Members who have more than 1000 photos can purchase additional storage space for $9.95 per 1000 photos.

Click here for Photopoint.com

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