Direct link for photo no longer through my own domain

13

Comments

  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins
    edited August 25, 2016
    David_S85 wrote: »
    Interesting read. Just out of curiosity, what do you all see in debug when you look at this single post of mine with a picture embedded from my site?

    https and the davidwatts version is what shows in the initial pages HTML IMG tag. It is redirected as well, though, to photos.smugmug.com (https).
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandAdministrators Posts: 12,993 moderator
    edited August 25, 2016
    Ferguson wrote: »
    https and the davidwatts version is what shows in the initial pages HTML IMG tag. It is redirected as well, though, to photos.smugmug.com (https).


    Ugh! :cry
    Thanks.
    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • photoclickphotoclick Major grins Registered Users Posts: 278 Major grins
    edited August 25, 2016
    Ferguson wrote: »
    I Honestly have no idea whether this kind of redirect has an impact on SEO or not.

    Can you take a wild guess whether or not it impacts SEO? Here is the excerpt from Moz (source https://moz.com/learn/seo/redirection): "A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect which passes between 90-99% of link juice (ranking power) to the redirected page." So, it is absolutely good for Smugmug! Nothing to worry about:)

    Not so good for us, those with custom domains:
    1) Social media sharing has been discussed here already. You post a ink to your domain, the FB picks up the redirect to Smugmug and replaces your name with "PHOTOS.SMUGMUG.COM". You just lost your identity.

    2) Search engine crawlers crawl your website's sitemap file. Thousands and thousands of links to images with your domain name in it. I know for a fact that crawler does try to resolve the link, tries to see if it is actually a live link. What does it get in response? Yes, you guessed it - 301 - PERMANENTLY MOVED! and the redirect to Smugmug. Yes, we will never know exactly how Google interprets the results. But let me ask you a question. If you call a phone number over and over again and you keep hearign the same pre-recorded message "this number is not in service...", what will you eventually think?

    Smugmug - 301 redirects decision is explicitly reserved for the domain owner, not the hosting company. It's my domain, not yours.
  • OffTopicOffTopic Searching for the light Behind the Orange CurtainRegistered Users Posts: 521 Major grins
    edited August 31, 2016
    Just to add another layer of mystery to the question of whether or not it affects our SEO - I use a service that monitors for potential copyright infringements. Ever since the change I have to weed through hundreds of matches at photos.smugmug.com
    That means that whatever search engine the service uses, it is finding my photos at that domain, and with absolutely no reference to me/my domain.
    I haven't been able to do so myself by using google image search, but their search engine has no problem finding them.
  • Marc LangilleMarc Langille Advanced... something. NW ArkansasRegistered Users Posts: 58 Big grins
    edited September 4, 2016
    Finally found this thread, since I couldn't find much information elsewhere.

    It's possible I missed the answer, but will this be addressed to show our custom domain again, or are we basically unable to control this any more, no longer being able to put our custom domain in the URL in the browser address field?

    Back in the original posts, the substitution of http://yourdomainname.com apparently worked. It no longer does of course. I'd rather not be out of luck, but best to ask and clarify. If this remains as a permanent change, then it's probably time to move on, as the subscription renewal time approaches.

    Thanks,
    Marc
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited September 4, 2016
    If this remains as a permanent change, then it's probably time to move on, as the subscription renewal time approaches.

    As soon as our new CDN supports it, we'd like to go back to the old way in the share panel. We're pushing them as hard as we can but their priorities are out of our hands.

    I'll reiterate again, this change has no negative effect on your SEO. However, I do concur that direct embedding a photo to FB and having it show photos.smugmug.com isn't ideal, which is why we'd switch it back once it's available.
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • Case1Case1 Big grins Czech RepublicRegistered Users Posts: 17 Big grins
    edited September 4, 2016
    Yay! That's great news!
  • Marc LangilleMarc Langille Advanced... something. NW ArkansasRegistered Users Posts: 58 Big grins
    edited September 5, 2016
    Thank you Aaron. I've been with SM for some time - just checked, it's 9 years next month(!) - and would prefer to remain so. Your update is very much appreciated and will set some minds at ease, no question.

    Here's hoping it's not too far off. Any ETA is always welcome of course.

    Best,
    Marc
  • AllenAllen "tweak 'til it squeaks" St. Louis, MoRegistered Users Posts: 9,976 Major grins
    edited September 5, 2016
    I see in "Share photo" the link "photos.smugmug.com" including the full path to the photo. That full path is
    completely useless without knowing the domain or nickname.

    https://photos.smugmug.com/Birds/2016-Birding/Birding-2016-September/2016-09-03-RMBS/i-X8Xx3KP/0/Th/IMG_8202_7D2-2-Th.jpg
    This works also
    https://photos.smugmug.com/whatever_crap_you_want_to_put_here/i-X8Xx3KP/0/Th/IMG_8202_7D2-2-Th.jpg

    I would much prefer a shorter link like this as anything else is useless.
    https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-X8Xx3KP/0/Th/IMG_8202_7D2-2-Th.jpg

    BTW, any link using "photos.smugmug.com" is anonymous completing hiding your site which probably
    means your site receives no credit but Smug receives a big kick.
    Al - Just a volunteer here having fun
    My Website index | My Blog
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited September 6, 2016
    Allen wrote: »
    BTW, any link using "photos.smugmug.com" is anonymous completing hiding your site which probably means your site receives no credit but Smug receives a big kick.

    tl;dr: Serving images from photos.smugmug.com actually helps YOUR findability, not hinders it.

    With relation to the SEO/ranking/"credit" portion of your statement, this is incorrect.

    I'll mention (yet again) that image URL's have no impact on a page's SEO. If that was the case, people would just embed a bazillion images on their pages to increase their ranking. What's contained in IMG SRC has no bearing on page rank. Search engines look at the actual link URL (inside the A HREF), which always points to your custom domain!

    IMG SRC URL does matter, however, for Google Image Search. One of the largest factors in SEO ranking is the domain authority of the URL so for Google Image Search rankings, having a strong domain authority will improve your image search rank. Photos using the smugmug domain, and its high domain authority, have considerably higher image rank over URLs coming from custom domains. Your image is much more likely to be found if it has a smugmug.com domain than a custom domain; and since Google crawled the image from your custom domain URL, it will always link back to your page using your custom domain. The stronger the smugmug domain authority, the stronger your pages/photos become!

    Just take a look at a few examples on moz.com: someone like Chris Burkard or Trey Ratcliff, who are arguably some of the most well known photographers on the internet, have a lower ranking than almost everyone on SmugMug using their nickname.smugmug.com address!
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • photoclickphotoclick Major grins Registered Users Posts: 278 Major grins
    edited September 6, 2016
    Allen wrote: »
    BTW, any link using "photos.smugmug.com" is anonymous completing hiding your site which probably means your site receives no credit but Smug receives a big kick.


    Aaron,

    Which part of Allen's statement are you disagreeing with? I see three parts there:

    1) link using "photos.smugmug.com" is completing hiding your site
    2) your site, THE PHOTOGRAPHER's SITE receives no credit (recognition, etc.)
    3) Smug receives a big kick

    Where is Allen wrong?
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited September 6, 2016
    (When we say "credit", I'm assuming we're talking about SEO credit, or "findability" - the ability for your site to show up higher in search results, since the addition of "Smug receives a big kick" leads me to believe the discussion is SEO related)

    Allen's statement, slightly reworded, was that "your site receives no credit because photos.smugmug.com is hiding your site". That part is incorrect.

    Your site receives no SEO credit because image source has never contributed to page rank. So whether we serve from your custom domain or serve from photos.smugmug.com, it makes no difference for page rank.

    - For your pages, SmugMug has no relevancy, so SmugMug gets little-to-no page rank boost from serving from photos.smugmug.com.
    - For image rank, it's actually boosting your findability, since it's using the high domain authority of smugmug.

    The SmugMug.com domain authority does receive a boost, but that boost is mostly for your benefit, since our site won't have any relevancy for the terms that are associated with your photos. Remember, in order for page rank to go up, the page must both have lots of links and also be relevant. Why do you think photos on 500px, Flickr.com, etc have such good findability? Because they have such a strong domain authority.

    Here's a few examples to show you that there are much more important factors to SEO than which domain the photo is hosted on:
    - Amazon.com hosts its images on a completely separate domain (ssl-images-amazon.com)
    - DPReview hosts its images on a completely separate domain (img-dpreview.com)
    - Moz.com, a leader in SEO, hosts its images on its CDN (cloudfront) (I can't imagine a leading company in SEO would set itself up in a way that hinders its SEO.)

    One of the single most important factors in image SEO is speed at which the image is served; by using our CDN and serving it through photos.smugmug.com we're optimizing your SEO. When some of the smartest companies (listed above) use CDN hosting domains for their embedded images, it’s a pretty solid argument for speed and scalability.
    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • AllenAllen "tweak 'til it squeaks" St. Louis, MoRegistered Users Posts: 9,976 Major grins
    edited September 6, 2016
    I don't think it's my site but my site photos I refer to.
    My biggest problem is my photos rarely show on Google images. The ones I show on
    my blog are there quickly. There I add both alt and title to the link. On Smug every
    photo has a caption and keyword but it seems to mean nothing as far as search goes.
    Al - Just a volunteer here having fun
    My Website index | My Blog
  • Erick LErick L Major grins Montreal, Quebec, CanadaRegistered Users Posts: 355 Major grins
    edited October 16, 2016
    leftquark wrote: »
    I'll mention (yet again) that image URL's have no impact on a page's SEO. If that was the case, people would just embed a bazillion images on their pages to increase their ranking.

    Not in their page, but on other people's pages. People have done it, I've done it and it works.

    In fact, even embedding images on your own site works. Embed an image on your front page and it will get a boost. Your site won't but the image itself will.

    Besides, I paid for Smugmug so I wouldn't see your brand anywhere. If I didn't care about that, I'd use Flickr or Google Images.
  • SamirDSamirD Huntsville Car Scene.com HSVRegistered Users Posts: 3,474 Major grins
    edited October 21, 2016
    Just weighing in on this topic. I've only skimmed the thread, so forgive me if I've missed anything.

    I think users should be given a choice. That's why we run our own businesses--to have choice. If a user needs speed over branding, let them have it. If a user needs branding over speed, let them have it.

    I am in the camp that needs branding vs speed.
    Pictures and Videos of the Huntsville Car Scene: www.huntsvillecarscene.com
    Want faster uploading? Vote for FTP!
  • EverythingEverywhereEverythingEverywhere Extreme Traveler NomadicRegistered Users Posts: 91 Big grins
    edited October 25, 2016
    Screw SEO.

    This is a matter of branding and what I'm paying for.

    Speed on Smugmug was never an issue for me. THIS is an issue for me.

    I'm seriously looking at changing my photo hosting company.

    I might as well use Flickr if I can't get my own custom domain. After all, people could probably find me even better on Flickr than Smugmug, right??
    2014 Travel Photographer of the Year, Society of American Travel Writers
    2013 & 2015 Travel Photographer of the Year, North American Travel Journalists Association

    Facebook | Travel Blog | Travel Photography | Instagram | Google+
  • LensViewLensView Big grins LuxembourgRegistered Users Posts: 14 Big grins
    edited October 31, 2016
    I have to agree with the above complaints. What use having a custom domain when it's not used everywhere all the time???
    As for talking to ISPs to un-block smugmug.com, that's a useless proposition too as smugmug is mostly blocked not by ISPs but company firewalls/filters. People are not going to ask their company IT to un-block smugmug.com ...
  • MomaZunkMomaZunk pro lurker Houston, TXRegistered Users Posts: 421 Major grins

    I just noticed the photos.smugmug.com show up in my image searches, and then found this thread. I thought I would summarize my understanding which will hopefully clear my head and help others.

    So, one of the advantages that Smugmug has had over other image hosting sites(Zenfolio, Photoshelter, or Shootproof) has been the custom domain for image linking for external sites like linking to images on a forum or on the local photo society page for example. These external links are helpful for building authority for your domain. While using the photos.smugmug domain may help with authority in the short term, you are not building your own domain authority.

    Using the photos.smugmug domain for images, allows Smugmug to serve the images via https with their SSL certificate, which is a REALLY big deal and a much desired feature. I have my own WordPress front end for blogging. I have not been able to use my own images from Smugmug since moving to https on my site without getting the mixed content flag on the page(bad for SEO). After going through the SSL and https conversion myself, I think serving the SSL certificate to a custom domain may not even be possible or at best extremely complicated. Here is a great article to discuss why https for your website is important: https://ahrefs.com/blog/ssl/. Right now there is a speed hit when moving to https (.3 ms in my testing), which kinda offsets any https SEO boost, but that speed hit is supposed to get better in 2017.

    And then there is hotlinking, which is someone using your image by embedding it using the image link. I am still trying to understand the implications for the domain name change here. Hotlinking actually helps the domain authority of the image being hotlinked while someone is using (stealing) your image and bandwidth without permission. Enabling external links means hotlinking is really easy with image hosting sites. Thus, a good watermark is oh so important. All those Russian sites using my images are helping out smugmug's authority and not mine now (ggrrrrr). There is no way to stop them with out removing my ability to use external links. I think we need a feature request for white listing external links. But I digress.

    So in summary
    photos.smugmug versus customdomain or sub.customdomain:
    1. doesn't hurt, but doesn't help your domain authority
    2. https for image links is a good thing
    3. hotlinking helps smugmug domain and not your custom domain,
    4. hotlinking control needs a feature request

    time for breakfast...

  • shandrewshandrew SmugMug Operations Hero Sunnyvale, CAAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 33 SmugMug Employee

    Thanks for the message, MomaZunk! With modern browsers on *.smugmug.com, https should be faster than plain http overall (though not on something basic like delivery of a single image). SmugMug supports HTTP/2 (which only runs over https), which provides more advanced compression and better techniques for managing delivering lots of small files over the network.

    Specific image referer (in regards to what you refer to as "hotlinking") control is an interesting idea. This sort of restriction is mainly used by people who don't want their bandwidth costs run up by pages that are not authorized to use the image. With SmugMug, you don't pay any bandwidth costs. So the benefit would be limited to forcing the third party to download your display image and host it elsewhere. Once they do this, it becomes harder for you to track where your image is being used.

    I work at SmugMug but these opinions are usually my own.
  • LensViewLensView Big grins LuxembourgRegistered Users Posts: 14 Big grins

    How about an option to pay for certificate for the specific user domain and then use that domain everywhere?

  • OffTopicOffTopic Searching for the light Behind the Orange CurtainRegistered Users Posts: 521 Major grins

    I need to bring this topic up again because I just noticed that SmugMug is now redirecting our custom domain image links to photos.smugmug.com with 301 permanent redirects.

    My SM site and my blog have two different custom domains. As several people have mentioned, we have intentionally used our blogs to create backlinks to our SM site. As MomaZunk and others have pointed out, this is the correct way to build domain authority using quality backlinks. Several people have mentioned that they were manually changing the links to again reflect our custom domain, as I was also often doing. Now SmugMug has taken away the ability to use our custom domain when posting/sharing images by forcing the link to redirect to smugmug.com. We all know what a big benefit it is to SmugMug to have everyone linking to them instead of to our own custom domains. I don't want to hear that SmugMug has higher domain authority than my site, everyone knows that the backlink TO Smugmug has more SEO juice for Smugmug than it does for us. It's who links TO you that matters, not who you link to.

    I checked Google WebMaster, you wiped all of the backlinks I had created on my blog over the course of nine years. The only back links remaining to my own site are the ones in the menu.

    I am not an SEO expert so I am seeking to understand before getting angry. What I don't like is having something that has worked very well for me over many years suddenly changed without my knowledge to something that appears to benefit SmugMug and hurts me. I also feel that it was a sneaky thing to do after many people have said they don't want to use links that reference photos.smugmug.com and were manually changing them to their own domains. This is my livelihood. My account renews this month and if I can no longer link to my own site I am going to need to do some serious thinking really fast. Perhaps my perception of how this works is wrong and if so I would really like to have some explanation.

    I would like to know:

    1. What is the effect of having all of these redirected links on nine year's worth of my blog posts? I can't imagine that a large number of redirects from one domain (mine) to a completely different one (yours) are a good thing but perhaps that's because I remember the days when people used to do this for malicious purposes and Google would penalize it.
    2. How does having a redirected link help or detract with my intent to effectively create backlinks to my site?
    3. It is my layman's understanding that a 301 redirect tells the search engine that the page/site has PERMANENTLY moved, as opposed to a 302 temporary redirect. So my understanding is that the 301 redirect is telling the search engines that there is no longer any need to crawl that page/site, ever. How is this not hurting my site and my nine years of work in creating backlinks?

    I also found in the response header:
    X-SmugMug-Hiring:How to love what you do: https://jobs.smugmug.com/
    X-SmugMug-Values:1/5 - We Are A Family.

    I know this isn't a "bug" since it was done intentionally, but this conversation started in Bug Reporting so I felt it should continue with the people who have already expressed concern about this issue.

  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins

    @OffTopic said:
    I need to bring this topic up again because I just noticed that SmugMug is now redirecting our custom domain image links to photos.smugmug.com with 301 permanent redirects.

    Is this actually new? I knew they were being pretty aggressive at this sort of thing, but can't keep up with when they use this. I thought they did this for some time.

    There's a somewhat related issue as well, that had redirects that I found annoying. If you upload an image and it gets URL X, then you update the image by replacing it, it gets a new URL Y. If you refer to X, it gets redirected to Y. Their reason (something about "we keep the old image in case you need it back") never made sense to me, since you can't refer to it. Keep the image, but why does it get a new externally visible URL?

    I don't know how having so many redirects affects SEO either, but between these two issues it seems like most images I use is redirected, as I frequently replace them from the original over time.

  • OffTopicOffTopic Searching for the light Behind the Orange CurtainRegistered Users Posts: 521 Major grins
    edited June 3, 2017

    @Ferguson said:

    Is this actually new? I knew they were being pretty aggressive at this sort of thing, but can't keep up with when they use this. I thought they did this for some time.

    Fairly new within the past couple of months. Whenever I change the share link to my own domain I paste it into a browser to verify it is correct before I post it. I've been busy and slacking on the blogging the past two months, but when I did it for a blog post yesterday I noticed that it redirected, and then I verified that all image links to my custom domain now have a 301 redirect. It's no longer possible to create a backlink to your own site.

  • Case1Case1 Big grins Czech RepublicRegistered Users Posts: 17 Big grins
    edited June 3, 2017

    Well, it's been about a year since the redirects came. And back in September there was talk of the possibility to get the old custom domain links back. Apparently it never happened (just like the ability to "like" individual photos never returned after they've removed it, despite promises that it is coming in some shape or form).

  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins

    I think to get any leverage with SM, someone has to prove that image links (not page links) are relevant to the SEO of custom domains. And for @OffTopic's case, in particular, whether your own domain's backlinks are relevant as well.

    I have found that I showed up higher in search results when people started referring to my galleries on smugmug, e.g. a university posting links to them. For some years before I had lots of links to images all over the place (with my custom domain, and before the redirects), and I did not see much uptick.

    However, ALL such stories from individuals are pretty pointless -- there are so many variables, and so much to (mis)understand about what works and what does not. I know I do not know. So an individual saying "you did this, my rank fell" won't make much impact.

    Smugmug (which I am not, and hope they will correct me if I mischaracterize this) says that such links either do not matter (matter much? matter at all?). It seems clear that SM is heading more and more firmly down a road that won't let you refer to images by the custom domain, or at least not easily. I think to stop that train someone has to authoritatively show they are harming their customers. It's easy to think it harms them, but does it? Can someone SHOW that it does?

    There are other cases where we have this "SM-says, Google-says" issue: I get occasional emails from Google warning of indexing/crawl errors at Smugmug. Smugmug says "ignore it, happens all the time". Google says it is a bad thing and repeated errors can hurt your searchability. Who is right?

    I think it's clear this is their direction, to change it someone has to prove SM's customers are actually being harmed, not just that they think they are.

  • EverythingEverywhereEverythingEverywhere Extreme Traveler NomadicRegistered Users Posts: 91 Big grins

    I think all that needs to be shown is that this is what customers want. Business involves meeting customer wants and needs.

    Smugmug has never really addressed their customers who run websites not hosted on Smugmug. Not adequately at least. It doesn't seem to be their top priority, even though a large number of customers use Smugmug this way.

    They've never come out with so much as a WordPress plugin, even though if they did it would be a huge selling point for people who use WordPress (which is a lot of people).

    2014 Travel Photographer of the Year, Society of American Travel Writers
    2013 & 2015 Travel Photographer of the Year, North American Travel Journalists Association

    Facebook | Travel Blog | Travel Photography | Instagram | Google+
  • FergusonFerguson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,331 Major grins

    @EverythingEverywhere said:
    I think all that needs to be shown is that this is what customers want. Business involves meeting customer wants and needs.

    Sure. But realize that the vast, vast, vast majority of their customers are not vocal here, and their potential audience they chase relentlessly (as does Adobe) is the cell phone and mobile crowd. The technology literate, forum-active, knowledgeable photographer is a tiny percentage of their customer base, even if it's a huge percentage of the voices here at dgrin.

  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins

    @OffTopic said:

    @Ferguson said:

    Is this actually new? I thought they did this for some time.

    Fairly new within the past couple of months. Whenever I change the share link to my own domain I paste it into a browser to verify it is correct before I post it. I've been busy and slacking on the blogging the past two months, but when I did it for a blog post yesterday I noticed that it redirected, and then I verified that all image links to my custom domain now have a 301 redirect. It's no longer possible to create a backlink to your own site.

    The move to using https://photos.smugmug.com happened in April 2016, so over a year ago at this point, as @Case1 pointed out.

    @Case1 said:
    And back in September there was talk of the possibility to get the old custom domain links back. Apparently it never happened (just like the ability to "like" individual photos never returned after they've removed it, despite promises that it is coming in some shape or form).

    I floated the idea that it could be done, except that you'd lose the ability to have your images delivered via https and the images wouldn't be delivered through the CDN, which could slow down image loading. Since many of you preferred to have your images delivered via https, we left it as is.

    With respect to liking, as I've said in the past, it's something that I would like to see returned, however it has to be done in a way that makes it useful. There's over 3,000 feature requests for SmugMug, plus our own thoughts on how to improve your workflows, and we're a Small Business that has to make tough decisions about what we work on. We'll get to it but I want to be clear that I'm not making any promises of it being in any specific timeframe.

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited June 3, 2017

    @Ferguson said:
    It seems clear that SM is heading more and more firmly down a road that won't let you refer to images by the custom domain, or at least not easily. I think to stop that train someone has to authoritatively show they are harming their customers.

    I'll respond to this in a bit more detail below, but we're passionate photographers ourselves who would prefer to have images delivered with our own custom domains but can't do so right now due to technical limitations.

    @EverythingEverywhere said:
    I think all that needs to be shown is that this is what customers want. Business involves meeting customer wants and needs.

    Smugmug has never really addressed their customers who run websites not hosted on Smugmug. Not adequately at least. It doesn't seem to be their top priority, even though a large number of customers use Smugmug this way.

    They've never come out with so much as a WordPress plugin, even though if they did it would be a huge selling point for people who use WordPress (which is a lot of people).

    @Ferguson said:
    Sure. But realize that the vast, vast, vast majority of their customers are not vocal here, and their potential audience they chase relentlessly (as does Adobe) is the cell phone and mobile crowd. The technology literate, forum-active, knowledgeable photographer is a tiny percentage of their customer base, even if it's a huge percentage of the voices here at dgrin.

    It's easy to look at one topic and say "this is exactly what customers want", just as it's easy to come to DGrin and feel that everything posted on here is what all of SmugMug customers want. The DGrin community is an extremely passionate but very small portion of the entire SM community. I love the DGrin community -- I became a SmugMug employee because I was on here helping many of you. As a Product Manager, these kinds of discussions are crucial to delivering a great product, but I want to remind everyone that (and as @Ferguson pointed out above) the SM community is much larger with a huge variety of desires and needs and we do our best to build a product that everyone can love.

    I'll go into more detail below, but this change was due to this very exact reason: trying to listen to our customers and deliver a valuable product for you. There was large customer feedback for a number of items that drove this change and we have to balance the pro's and con's of how implementing them may impact something else. We haven't built a WordPress plugin because there's a larger desire for a blogging platform into SmugMug, for example. The majority of our customers want blogging built into SM, so we've kept our small engineering team focused on things projects that will help our Pro's run their businesses better, get all of you uploading your photos to SM easier, and much more.

    @OffTopic said:
    I am not an SEO expert so I am seeking to understand before getting angry. What I don't like is having something that has worked very well for me over many years suddenly changed without my knowledge to something that appears to benefit SmugMug and hurts me.

    Search engines have gotten really really smart. One of the things they do is compare content on the page and look for relevant information. The content on your own pages don't have the relevant keywords that would boost SmugMug's SEO to our marketing pages. However, taking advantage of SmugMug's already high domain authority, does have the ability to positively impact SEO to your own photos or pages. In your case, where you have 2 different domains, you are correct in that you're losing out on the domain authority boost (though 2 low domain authority domains won't provide much boost to each other. It would be more beneficial to have a site with high domain authority boosting both).

    Many other photography website options deliver your images on their own CDN with links like https://static1.squarespace.com/static/.../IMG_9428.jpg, so just be cognizant if you do decide to look at other options (obviously I hope you stay here with SM).

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • leftquarkleftquark Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 3,781 Many Grins
    edited June 3, 2017

    Chris and Don, our co-founders, are passionate photographers. Their wives, brothers, and a majority of the employees they've hired are all photographers. Those that build SmugMug use SmugMug every day. I don't normally discuss the internal discussions that happen at SmugMug but we didn't make this change for our own gains - if you lose, we lose. If we don't deliver value to you, then you go elsewhere and again, we lose. We're here to Thrill you and in this case, we were trying to thrill a large majority of you.

    This change was made to address several customer concerns:
    1a) Delivering photos over a secure connection, https, to help ensure your photos remain safe.
    1b) Delivering photos over https due to SEO noise that Google is creating over pages/images on a secure connection.
    2) More reliably delivering photos to reduce any downtime where your visitors wouldn't get to celebrate your photos.
    3) Delivering your photos faster.

    We previously used a CDN that, while mostly reliable, resulted in downtime that many of you complained about. An image might stop loading for 15 minutes, whole galleries might not get delivered, or photos would load extremely slowly for a few hours. Moving to a more reliable CDN would ensure that your photos can always be delivered, and they can be delivered faster. To accomplish this we moved to using Amazon's CloudFront CDN and at the same time began delivering most content via https (all images and anything to https://yoursiteurl.smugmug.com). While CloudFront is more reliable and delivers your pages (HTML) and images faster, it isn't capable of hosting the many many custom domains that SmugMug customers have. We're working very closely with Amazon to add this but at this point our hands were tied. We could continue to serve your images over non-secure http, on a slower and less reliable CDN, or we could move your images to being served over https on a faster and more reliable CDN.

    Moving to non-custom domain URL's was not a motivation for us, but rather a consequence of trying to listen to the large # of customers who asked for more reliable image delivery over a secure connection.

    As I've pointed out in other threads, we're hard at work on a number of options for delivering custom domains over https. When that happens, that would also pave the way for us to move image URL's back to your custom domains in the future.

    dGrin Afficionado
    Former SmugMug Product Team
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
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