Photo Hosting, Smugmug and Others

Started Sep 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
Paul Szilard
Paul Szilard Contributing Member • Posts: 796
Re: Photo Hosting, Smugmug and Others

SmugMug had announced a fee increase for their existing PRO account of 67%.

I believe that unless this approach is changed, and changed very quickly, then this will be the end of SmugMug as we know it.

The new price of USD250 per year for a PRO account with unlimited space and usage is the WRONG approach:

1) It penalizes the masses who do not use huge storage space
2) It is not competative with alternative services

3) A sudden raise of 67% is such a shock that it will trigger a mass migration of users who will never return, even if SmugMug was to change its policy later

SmugMug's CEO claims that escalating technology had resulted in an unforeseen increase in storage use. Very high resolution images from the likes of the Nikon D800 and other cameras, plus ever easier upload methods had caused the unlimited storage per user to mushroom.

Most smugMug users love the facilities that the site provides, however to pay $1,000 every 4 years just to host one's photos is a BIG ASK! I for one, wish that SmugMug stays as a profitable and value for money service that is stable, however let's look at the running costs:

1) Storage
2) Maintenance
3) Support
4) Development

Only item 1) is directly proportional to amount people use, although 2) and 3) are also impacted by numbers. If the current environment is not cost effective, then the

ONLY SOLUTION is a structured charging model! People with high storage requirements, are the ones that should bear the increased storage costs!

With the current direction of unlimited storage and an increased annual fee, a huge number of the lower storage users will leave (and never return!) leaving the costs even more skewed.

Now let's look at the user's point of view an alternatives

The first choice is whether to host your own server, or use a paid service.

Many people now have the possibility of realistic fast broadband connections, using ADSL or Cable and can deploy an inexpensive NAS, and host their own photo website. NAS boxes such as QNAP or ReadyNAS offer virtually, out of the box solutions.

Alternative commercial hostings are many, here are just a few:

1) Flickr $24.95 annual, or $44.95 for 2 years unlimited storage
2) Picasaweb $29.88 for 25GB, $59.88 for 100GB per year

3) JAlbum PRO $79 1-time cost for s/w only - use your own space (Hostmonster and others can provide unlimited hosting plans for as low as under $100 per year)
4) 500pixels $49.95 unlimited
5) Zenfolio Premium $160 commercial
6) Adobe Revel

The list goes on.

I am going to explore 500px and Zenfolio

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