smugmug subscription prices to rise

BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founderPosts: 2,853Administrators moderator
edited June 4, 2006 in SmugMug Support
We know pricing is hugely important and emotional, especially when prices go up — so we'd much rather be dropping them. We try to be open about things this important, so we're coming to our faithful dgrinners with about a month's advanced notice.

We're planning to raise the annual subscription for standard and power users by $10/year. Pro accounts will go to $149/year.

However, anyone who subscribes before the increase will be grandfathered so their rates remain the same as they are now. We'd love to offer lifetime grandfathering but, who knows, maybe some year they'll have to go up too.

Print prices won't rise and in fact during the time we've been in business we've had a couple of print price reductions. Currently we're just focused on subscription rates.

You might wonder what's driving this. There are three costs that have grown for us:

1. Customer service. We know many successful sharing sites offer very limited sharing, but our customers tend to care deeply about quick answers to questions.

2. Feature richness, which increases engineering and customer service costs.

2. The API/pixel explosion/JPEG 12/our committment to unlimited storage/added bandwith allocation/larger image sizes for pros, etc.

The choice was to continue along the path of making the service great or to compromise and keep prices down. I hope we're making the right choice for you.

All the best,
Baldy
«1345

Comments

  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Posts: 15,471Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    Where's Minoltaman when you need him? naughty.gif
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • DJ-S1DJ-S1 Life is good! Posts: 2,303Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    I never paid attention to the pricing, so I looked it up. The new pricing levels will be $40, $60, and $150, right?

    As for the early sign-up, are you saying that if I renew my account for another year right now, even though I may have 9 months left on my current subscription, that I will pay $30 to you and not have to renew for a year and 9 months?

    Thanks for clarifying...
  • rainforest1155rainforest1155 SmugMug Support Hero Posts: 4,508Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    DJ-S1 wrote:
    I never paid attention to the pricing, so I looked it up. The new pricing levels will be $40, $60, and $150, right?

    As for the early sign-up, are you saying that if I renew my account for another year right now, even though I may have 9 months left on my current subscription, that I will pay $30 to you and not have to renew for a year and 9 months?
    As far as I understand this means that the prices for existing customers stay on the old level for the time being until it's necessary to increase them, too!

    Means I should upgrade to power user now instead of in a month and that would save me 10$ per year?!

    Sebastian
    Sebastian
    SmugMug Support Hero
  • 3rdPlanetPhotography3rdPlanetPhotography Banned User Posts: 920Banned Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    dang
    While I understand Smugmug having to do this it also bothers me that just about every site that we use now days require some type of subscriptions. All added up it's getting to be very expensive. At some point we have to start dropping subscriptions to afford to live also...Laughing.gif 3 kids really eats up the funds eek7.gif

    I really love the SmugMug service so hopefully I can keep it at the top of my "must have" lists.

    kc7dji
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 50,153Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    kc7dji wrote:
    While I understand Smugmug having to do this it also bothers me that just about every site that we use now days require some type of subscriptions. All added up it's getting to be very expensive. At some point we have to start dropping subscriptions to afford to live also...Laughing.gif 3 kids really eats up the funds eek7.gif

    I really love the SmugMug service so hopefully I can keep it at the top of my "must have" lists.

    kc7dji

    tinfl.
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Posts: 15,471Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    Andy wrote:
    tinfl.
    headscratch.gif
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 50,153Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    wxwax wrote:
    headscratch.gif

    there is no free lunch.
    my econ 101 prof at university taught that to me.
  • GerryDavidGerryDavid Major grins Posts: 439Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    But there are free lunches. :0) churches have them sometimes, theres also soup kitchens, ummm, a convience store gives free coffies, hehe.

    $10 isnt to bad for the basic account, but the $50 raise for the pro one hurts. Ill be that much longer before I can afford to go pro here, hehe.

  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Posts: 15,471Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    Andy wrote:
    there is no free lunch.
    my econ 101 prof at university taught that to me.
    Ah, standard internet patter. naughty.gif I mean, sip.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,853Administrators moderator
    edited April 28, 2005
    As far as I understand this means that the prices for existing customers stay on the old level for the time being until it's necessary to increase them, too!

    Means I should upgrade to power user now instead of in a month and that would save me 10$ per year?!

    Sebastian
    Correct. Anyone who signs up or upgrades over the next 30ish days will be grandfathered.

    We really wanted to say people who are grandfathered were grandfathered forever, but alas forever is a long time :eek1. We can at least hope for years. :D
  • DJ-S1DJ-S1 Life is good! Posts: 2,303Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    Baldy wrote:
    Correct. Anyone who signs up or upgrades over the next 30ish days will be grandfathered.
    While I was thinking of it, I just upgraded tonight. Now I need to start playing with code again...:uhoh

    Baldy, thanks for giving your current customers a deal. Just another example of how SmugMug rocks! thumb.gif
  • T4TotsT4Tots Crazy Mom of Four Posts: 198Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    So...if my Pro renewal is at the end of next month I should be ok at the "now" rates? I think that's what I am reading.
    Tina Folsom :lust
    Photographer and Mom of Four!
    _____________________________________
    http://tinafolsomphotography.com
  • Mike LaneMike Lane I � Unicode Posts: 7,106Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    Baldy wrote:
    We really wanted to say people who are grandfathered were grandfathered forever, but alas forever is a long time :eek1. We can at least hope for years. :D
    It's that part that is confusing me. Does that mean that I'm staying at my $99 pro yearly rate until such time that it becomes unfeasible for SM to let me stay there (i.e. probably not forever, but hopefully years). Or does it mean that next February (I think it was Feb that I signed up) I'll be paying $150?

    Not too big of a deal for me but I don't want to get broadsided either.:D
    Y'all don't want to hear me, you just want to dance.

    http://photos.mikelanestudios.com/
  • {JT}{JT} Code Monkey Posts: 1,016Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    For as long as we can, but not forever.
    Mike Lane wrote:
    Does that mean that I'm staying at my $99 pro yearly rate until such time that it becomes unfeasible for SM to let me stay there (i.e. probably not forever, but hopefully years).
  • Mike LaneMike Lane I � Unicode Posts: 7,106Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 28, 2005
    {JT} wrote:
    For as long as we can, but not forever.
    Copy that and you guys rule.
    Y'all don't want to hear me, you just want to dance.

    http://photos.mikelanestudios.com/
  • jfriendjfriend Scripting dude-volunteer Posts: 8,097Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 29, 2005
    If they had to go up, this is a classy way to do it
    Baldy wrote:
    We know pricing is hugely important and emotional, especially when prices go up — so we'd much rather be dropping them. We try to be open about things this important, so we're coming to our faithful dgrinners with about a month's advanced notice.

    We're planning to raise the annual subscription for standard and power users by $10/year. Pro accounts will go to $149/year.

    However, anyone who subscribes before the increase will be grandfathered so their rates remain the same as they are now. We'd love to offer lifetime grandfathering but, who knows, maybe some year they'll have to go up too.

    Print prices won't rise and in fact during the time we've been in business we've had a couple of print price reductions. Currently we're just focused on subscription rates.

    You might wonder what's driving this. There are three costs that have grown for us:

    1. Customer service. We know many successful sharing sites offer very limited sharing, but our customers tend to care deeply about quick answers to questions.

    2. Feature richness, which increases engineering and customer service costs.

    2. The API/pixel explosion/JPEG 12/our committment to unlimited storage/added bandwith allocation/larger image sizes for pros, etc.

    The choice was to continue along the path of making the service great or to compromise and keep prices down. I hope we're making the right choice for you.

    All the best,
    Baldy
    I must say, if prices had to go up, this is a very classy way to do this. 1) You are announcing this in advance. 2) You are grandfathering existing users for at least a little while. 3) You are giving people who were on the fence about joining a chance to get in before the price increase. And, most of all, you have improved the service a lot in the 9 months that I've been following it.

    The only thing that seems a bit strange is that you raised the bandwidth allocation a month or so ago and kept prices the same. It would have been better to have connected these two events. Now it feels like prices are going up to cover increased costs, when a month ago, it felt like capacities were going up at the same cost. Is there any insight as to why you raised bandwidth limits just a little while ago, but now are raising prices?

    --john
    --John
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  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,853Administrators moderator
    edited April 29, 2005
    jfriend wrote:
    The only thing that seems a bit strange is that you raised the bandwidth allocation a month or so ago and kept prices the same.
    Hi John,

    Yes, I can see how that could be confusing. We did it primarily for help desk support. We just found from experience that enough of our standard users posted photos in high-traffic forums like my adventure motorcycling forum, ADVrider, or dpreview. It was hard to get them to grok what was happening to them wrt traffic but when we upped the limits it pretty much took that problem away.

    The other thing is we didn't want to tie it to an issue like that because by itself it didn't have enough impact to bump our costs enough to cause us to raise prices. The wonderful unlimited uploaders, feature richness, and the desire to keep two of each photo on two independent disk systems were bigger contributors.

    Thanks,
    Baldy
  • dragon300zxdragon300zx What God Complex? Posts: 2,575Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 29, 2005
    Baldy,

    Any firm date on the increase? I wanna sign up for the pro account but I can't until after the yosemite trip prolly around the 13th or 14th is when I was planning on it. Was wondering if that will still be the old pricing?
    Everyone Has A Photographic Memory. Some Just Do Not Have Film.
    www.zxstudios.com
    http://creativedragonstudios.smugmug.com
  • XO-StudiosXO-Studios Major grins Posts: 457Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 29, 2005
    OT: acronyms
    wxwax wrote:
    Ah, standard internet patter. naughty.gif I mean, sip.
    off topic but seemingly helpful

    www.acronymfinder.com

    Or in this case, turns out TINFL is an acronym of an acronym mwink.gif

    http://www.acronymfinder.com/af-query.asp?String=exact&Acronym=TINSTAAFL&Find=Find

    FWIW,

    XO,
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
    Mark Twain


    Some times I get lucky and when that happens I show the results here: http://www.xo-studios.com
  • jfriendjfriend Scripting dude-volunteer Posts: 8,097Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2005
    Some alternatives to raising the standard user price
    Baldy wrote:
    Hi John,

    Yes, I can see how that could be confusing. We did it primarily for help desk support. We just found from experience that enough of our standard users posted photos in high-traffic forums like my adventure motorcycling forum, ADVrider, or dpreview. It was hard to get them to grok what was happening to them wrt traffic but when we upped the limits it pretty much took that problem away.

    The other thing is we didn't want to tie it to an issue like that because by itself it didn't have enough impact to bump our costs enough to cause us to raise prices. The wonderful unlimited uploaders, feature richness, and the desire to keep two of each photo on two independent disk systems were bigger contributors.

    Thanks,
    Baldy
    I'm a pro user so I'm not really providing this feedback for myself. But, I do recommend smugmug very often (I have 56 referrals). I get these referrals, not by just passing my coupon code around, but by explaining to people why I chose smugmug over the competition, primarily pbase. I mainly use three arguments why to choose smugmug over pbase: 1) unlimited storage, 2) friends and family can order prints and 3) great support. I can tell from the responses that 1) and 2) seem to carry the most weight in these conversations. It's not that great support doesn't matter (it does), but customers don't quite know how to value it and they typically don't know what the support characteristics are of the competition. Today, I don't even have to mention price because pbase is $24.95 and you are $29.95. Users seem to think that's basically the same. But, $24.95 and $39.95 are NOT going to be perceived as the same. The bar is going to be a lot higher to understand why one should pay this much extra over pbase or why you shouldn't go investigate some of the other alternatives that are often mentioned by others in these same conversations.

    So, I must say that I'm worried for the sake of smumug to see the entry level price to smugmug rise. I think there's a payment threshold and a competitive threshold right around where you have the standard package today. When you go higher than that, you will lose lots of new customers. Due to what your competitors offer, I'm just not sure that I myself would have even started with smugmug at the higher entry level price. The challenge is that beginning users are largely unaware of your feature advantages. They are not sophisticated enough to recognize most of them and it's hard for them to even see/understand many of them by just reading a web site or even in a trial period.

    So, rather than just complain, I thought I'd offer some other solutions to think about. It sounds like two costs are driving the need for raising prices: the cost of support and the cost of redundant disk space with higher and higher usages by users. Have you considered these approaches:

    1) If the uploaders that use the APIs are causing substantially higher storage to be used, what about restricting the APIs (or at least the APIs assocaited with upload) only to power users who are paying the higher rate? Since there is likely a loose correlation between how much storage space is used and who uses the uploaders, this would assign some of the cost of increased storage to power user accounts while letting you keep your standard rate where it is. It would also probably be a really great motivater to get more people to upgrade to the power user level. If you wanted to keep the existing uploader users happy, you'd grandfather them in for at least a year.

    2) I am assuming from your comments here that the things that cause the most support are questions related to printing. If that's so, what about raising your printing prices slightly to offset that particular cost? Again, I'd rather have the cost of printing support be paid for by those who were most using the printing support rather than by the entry level yearly plan. I also suggest this because I don't think most entry level users select a service based on the cost of prints. I think that many (like me) select a service based on who offers prints, but most don't do detailed price comparisons on the cost of prints - primarily because it's not that easy to compare prices and it's mostly other people's money that is affected (e.g. friends and family ordering prints), not your own.

    3) If none of the above make any sense to you, have you considered a new entry level plan at the $29.95/yr that does have restricted storage? You could get people into the plan who are cost concious, but want your features/brand and they could upgrade later to an unlimited plan if they wanted. But that would be after they've gotten addicted to your features, support, uploaders, etc... when they'd be more likely to pay a higher fee. I know that unlimited storage is kind of trademark of smugmug, but I'm really concerned about you raising your entry level price that I think this is worth considering.

    --John
    --John
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  • rainforest1155rainforest1155 SmugMug Support Hero Posts: 4,508Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2005
    jfriend wrote:
    I mainly use three arguments why to choose smugmug over pbase: 1) unlimited storage, 2) friends and family can order prints and 3) great support. I can tell from the responses that 1) and 2) seem to carry the most weight in these conversations. It's not that great support doesn't matter (it does), but customers don't quite know how to value it and they typically don't know what the support characteristics are of the competition. Today, I don't even have to mention price because pbase is $24.95 and you are $29.95. Users seem to think that's basically the same. But, $24.95 and $39.95 are NOT going to be perceived as the same.
    I think John made a strong point. I had exactly these thoughts when deciding between SM and pbase a year ago. I wanted the lowest price possible, but was drawn to the idea of unlimited storage. With the help of the 5$ coupon there was no need on argueing over pbase anymore, because I had the same low price.
    Actually is the first service on the internet for which I paid an annual fee. With raising the bar for the standard account I don't know if I had signed up with you.
    jfriend wrote:
    2) I am assuming from your comments here that the things that cause the most support are questions related to printing. If that's so, what about raising your printing prices slightly to offset that particular cost? Again, I'd rather have the cost of printing support be paid for by those who were most using the printing support rather than by the entry level yearly plan. I also suggest this because I don't think most entry level users select a service based on the cost of prints. I think that many (like me) select a service based on who offers prints, but most don't do detailed price comparisons on the cost of prints - primarily because it's not that easy to compare prices and it's mostly other people's money that is affected (e.g. friends and family ordering prints), not your own.
    I didn't even check the print prices, because I had no need for it with living in Germany and there were enough local alternatives here. Therefore this suggestion would be the best of John's possible solutions for me.

    Think about it. After a year I upgraded to power user and wasn't because I exceeded my limits (with max 250MB/month far away from it). I did it because of co-branding. Yeah, I did it now when you announced the new prices, but I had planed it for a while, it was just a matter of time.
    So you pushed me a little, but you can't push possible new members, just scare them away with higher prices without knowing you.

    Sebastian
    Sebastian
    SmugMug Support Hero
  • BodleyBodley Full Contact Posts: 766Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2005
    jfriend wrote:
    1) If the uploaders that use the APIs are causing substantially higher storage to be used, what about restricting the APIs (or at least the APIs assocaited with upload) only to power users who are paying the higher rate? Since there is likely a loose correlation between how much storage space is used and who uses the uploaders, this would assign some of the cost of increased storage to power user accounts while letting you keep your standard rate where it is. It would also probably be a really great motivater to get more people to upgrade to the power user level. If you wanted to keep the existing uploader users happy, you'd grandfather them in for at least a year.

    --John
    I thought Smugmug wanted customers to post photos to sell/share or am I mistaken. I thought unlimited photos was a selling point for Smugmug and believe they even encourage you to upload. I'm starting to feel like this is not the case and I need to find another service.

    If S*E meets the criteria as an API up-loader then I'm an "Up-loader". Without S*E I would have been looking for another host service with this feature by now.

    I am shooting Youth Sports ~ 500 shots a weekend and uploading keepers in hopes of making a sale. By the time I'm through processing images and ready to post it's late. With S*E I'm able to upload an entire album whereas before I would have to get up in the middle of the night and start a new batch.

    Does Smugmug want this type of customer?ne_nau.gif

    Greg
    Greg
    "Tis better keep your mouth shut and be thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
  • GREAPERGREAPER Major grins Posts: 3,113Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2005
    Bodley wrote:
    I thought Smugmug wanted customers to post photos to sell/share or am I mistaken. I thought unlimited photos was a selling point for Smugmug and believe they even encourage you to upload. I'm starting to feel like this is not the case and I need to find another service.

    If S*E meets the criteria as an API up-loader then I'm an "Up-loader". Without S*E I would have been looking for another host service with this feature by now.

    I am shooting Youth Sports ~ 500 shots a weekend and uploading keepers in hopes of making a sale. By the time I'm through processing images and ready to post it's late. With S*E I'm able to upload an entire album whereas before I would have to get up in the middle of the night and start a new batch.

    Does Smugmug want this type of customer?ne_nau.gif

    Greg


    It wasn't smugmug that suggested limiting the price increase to API users, it was John.

    I say Smugmug offers a wonderful service that is beetter than the competition now, and getting better all of the time. I have a pro user account, because I wanted all of the features it had, mostly custom pricing.

    I dont sell a lot of prints off of my smugmug account. but I do sell some, and I buy them myself when I need an archival copy of something. I of course wish there were no increase in prices, but if there has to be, and there always does, I am happy with the way they are doing it.

    I will still advise people to use smugmug as I believe it to be far and aboce the best service of its kind.
  • BodleyBodley Full Contact Posts: 766Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2005
    GREAPER wrote:
    It wasn't smugmug that suggested limiting the price increase to API users, it was John.

    I dont sell a lot of prints off of my smugmug account. but I do sell some, and I buy them myself when I need an archival copy of something. I of course wish there were no increase in prices, but if there has to be, and there always does, I am happy with the way they are doing it.

    I will still advise people to use smugmug as I believe it to be far and aboce the best service of its kind.
    Unfortunately I don't sell too many prints myself - but theres always hope.:D

    I too am very please with Smugmug and have no desire to change but I also don't want to cause Smugmug any problems.

    Greg
    Greg
    "Tis better keep your mouth shut and be thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,325Administrators moderator
    edited April 30, 2005
    Baldy,

    Thanks for the timely explanation. Much appreciated.


    Ian
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 50,153Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2005
    Bodley wrote:
    I thought Smugmug wanted customers to post photos to sell/share or am I mistaken. I thought unlimited photos was a selling point for Smugmug and believe they even encourage you to upload. I'm starting to feel like this is not the case and I need to find another service.

    i'm curious, why would you feel this way? you are still always getting unlimited storage... that's not changing.

    S*E away, and enjoy the great value deal.gif
  • volcs0volcs0 Big grins Posts: 16Registered Users Big grins
    edited April 30, 2005
    Well, I don't mind renewing my Power account at $60 or $70 or $100... I have my own domain and pay a hosting co. $120/yr for space. I finally moved my pix to Smugmug because I passed the hosting company's 2 gig limit. Now, all I use the host for is email and for FTPing files. In the grand scheme of things, I don't consider $50 vs. $100 per year to be that big of a deal...especially when considering all the other crap I pay monthly for (cell phone, cable, electric, etc.).

    BUT, I really appreciate the argument above about new users. I've turned many people toward Smugmug, and they are invariably the type of user that has no experience with websites or posting pictures, etc...just people at work who want to share a few pix with the family and see what I've been able to do on SM. I think all they see is "easy", "unlimited", "buy prints" and "$25". I do think $25 is a "set point" and is easier to sell than $40.

    I guess what I'm saying is that it makes more sense to bump the cost of the Power and Pro user, while leaving the entry at $25. But I'm also quite confident that you've done lots of polling and cost analyses. Whatever the decision - I'm here to stay, and I'll keep evangelizing the service.

    -sam
  • bfjrbfjr Which Way Did They Go Posts: 10,980Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2005
    GREAPER wrote:
    It wasn't smugmug that suggested limiting the price increase to API users, it was John.

    I say Smugmug offers a wonderful service that is beetter than the competition now, and getting better all of the time. I have a pro user account, because I wanted all of the features it had, mostly custom pricing.

    I dont sell a lot of prints off of my smugmug account. but I do sell some, and I buy them myself when I need an archival copy of something. I of course wish there were no increase in prices, but if there has to be, and there always does, I am happy with the way they are doing it.

    I will still advise people to use smugmug as I believe it to be far and aboce the best service of its kind.
    15524779-Ti.gif
    I spent a lot of time on my images to make them as presentable as possiable. smugmug surrounds my images with that same sort of care, if it costs more to sustain/increase that service (and it always does, I know) then I'll pay more. My 2.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR Posts: 19,035Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2005
    Re: my $.00000000002
    jfriend wrote:
    I'm a pro user so I'm not really providing this feedback for myself. But, I do recommend smugmug very often (I have 56 referrals). I get these referrals, not by just passing my coupon code around, but by explaining to people why I chose smugmug over the competition, primarily pbase. I mainly use three arguments why to choose smugmug over pbase: 1) unlimited storage, 2) friends and family can order prints and 3) great support. I can tell from the responses that 1) and 2) seem to carry the most weight in these conversations. It's not that great support doesn't matter (it does), but customers don't quite know how to value it and they typically don't know what the support characteristics are of the competition.
    I also have Pro SM account, and, as in Sebastian's case, this is so far the one and only Internet service (apart from few domains registration/hosting fees) I'm actually paying for on an annual basis (and in addition to this fact I'm feeling pretty good about it:-)

    However, I think John made a very good point here. For a newbie who is looking for a photo sharing service customer support issues are non-existent. Even worse, the very mentioning of the customer support assumes the presence of some sort of issues that have to be resolved - and nobody likes having issues in the first place.

    I clearly remember myself just one year ago, when I was in this very position - I was looking for an online place to store and share my (at the time) dozen GB worth of pictures. I was mostly using dpreview as a reference point and very soon my choice was narrowed down to PB and SM. In this order. PB *seemed* to be cheaper and easier to use. PB offered 1 month trial, while SM had only one week.

    Everything was resolved after I actually did try both. I was truly impressed with the features, unlimited storage was an absolute winner, and the fact that I got a reply from Ben just a few minutes after I sent my first question brought the whole new light to the "customer support" aspect.

    However, this was only AFTER I decided to give SM a try. I can honestly say that $30 (or $25 with a coupon) was on the very high margin for me - purely for psychological reasons. I'm not sure if I would even start considering SM with a $40 price tag for entry level. I know, it's really silly and funny, we're talking about $10 (which is, in essense, a difference between a nice lunch and a great lunch - *one* lunch) *per year* - and yet, it makes a whole lot of difference for a person who is "just looking".

    Hence my concern here is that new pricing - for the entry level account - may divert a flow of new customers away. I got a few ppl from work subscribed to SM and from discussions with them I'm pretty positive they would not buy into $40 ticket..

    I understand that some business decisions have to be made, and I am definitely not trying to tell Chris and Don how to run their buisness.

    However, I in agreement with a several suggestions made so far:
    • Low entry level price IS the key factor for a newbie. Maybe this entry level should be real entry level - no custom stuff, file size limited to 3Mb, jpgs only - there are ways to limit features.
      Once you got a person subsribed - you can be pretty sure he/she will upgrade verry soon. And even if not - you still got something, right?
    • If it's the printing issues that require a lot of efforts in programming and support - maybe shift the burden of payments to those who actually benefit from it, rather than spreading it evenly accross the board and imposing higher rates on those who rarely/never use the cart (again, our German friend Sebastian is a good example)
    Once again, I like the service - in every sense of the word, and I'll do my best to promote it. But I think going beyond $29.99 for an entry level will make a pretty big impact...

    HTH
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • BodleyBodley Full Contact Posts: 766Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 30, 2005
    Andy wrote:
    i'm curious, why would you feel this way? you are still always getting unlimited storage... that's not changing.

    S*E away, and enjoy the great value deal.gif
    Paranoid - I guess after reading the post it seemed like "Up-Loaders" were frowned upon and causing the problems although originally that's what I thought the site is all about.

    Guess I was being overly sensitive to posters and not listening to Smugmug.

    I'm happy as a clam :D with this site!!!
    Greg
    "Tis better keep your mouth shut and be thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
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