The New Gap in SmugMug Services

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Comments

  • JovesJoves Village Idiot Registered Users Posts: 200 Major grins
    edited October 31, 2012
    Still waiting for a reply to this too. If coupons and packages are too pro-ish, fine, leave them out, but I really can't see how you can't offer a $150-200 level with the ability to set prices and make a profit, and to adjust photos after receiving orders.

    Seems like your public image is really taking a major hit here, and you seem to be sitting on your hands.
    Well you will be waiting for the answer forever. I also at one point suggested ways to offset having to raise those prices so high. As usual got the sound of crickets. But it does not matter to me at this point as I am no longer a customer with them. Which is a shame because I was with them for 9 years or pretty close to the beginning. The only response I got was sorry to see you go, which I find rather vacant IMO. Also I am tired of the SM brown nosers who say we are not dedicated to SM, excuse me SM is supposed to be dedicated to we the customers, not the other way around. I am at Zen now and love it.
    I shoot therefore Iam.
    http://joves.smugmug.com/
  • McQMcQ Grinning From Ear To Ear Registered Users Posts: 165 Major grins
    edited November 1, 2012
    McQ wrote: »
    Three weeks since this post, so I'll come back to the question for Baldy. Since you've stated you'd answer what time and size has to do with this, please go ahead.

    Second question: You've also stated that you'd dearly love to offer a commerce account at the lower, $150/yr price, but you just hadn't figured it out yet. Again, three weeks later, have you figured it out? Have you tried to figure it out? Any meetings, brainstorming sessions, etc., because if you'd dearly love to offer it, it must be a top priority. When will you let us know?

    Simply waiting for a reasonably a direct answer to direct questions. You are the one who said you'd love to offer it, so I'm simply holding you to your statement and waiting for a reply.

    Weekly bump for Baldy.
    "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you?"

    http://mcq.smugmug.com
  • McQMcQ Grinning From Ear To Ear Registered Users Posts: 165 Major grins
    edited November 8, 2012
    McQ wrote: »
    Weekly bump for Baldy.

    Weekly bump for Baldy.
    "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you?"

    http://mcq.smugmug.com
  • zacHer0zacHer0 Support Hero Registered Users Posts: 655 Major grins
    edited November 8, 2012
    McQ wrote: »
    Weekly bump for Baldy.

    I'm not sure if Baldy can reply right now but we do have some exciting news!

    http://news.smugmug.com/2012/11/08/new-for-portfolio-accounts-price-sell/
    Zac Williams
    Support Hero
  • carolinecaroline Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,302 Major grins
    edited November 9, 2012
    zacHer0 wrote: »
    I'm not sure if Baldy can reply right now but we do have some exciting news!

    http://news.smugmug.com/2012/11/08/new-for-portfolio-accounts-price-sell/

    Good news and thank you Smugmug!
    Mendip Blog - Blog from The Fog, life on the Mendips
    www.carolineshipsey.co.uk - Follow me on G+

    [/URL]
  • McQMcQ Grinning From Ear To Ear Registered Users Posts: 165 Major grins
    edited November 9, 2012
    zacHer0 wrote: »
    I'm not sure if Baldy can reply right now but we do have some exciting news!

    http://news.smugmug.com/2012/11/08/new-for-portfolio-accounts-price-sell/

    Why not? He offered weeks ago. I'm taking him up on his offer. I'll keep bumping the offer until he keeps his word.

    And how were we supposed to be notified of the change unless we were reading this thread? I didn't receive an email about the change. I don't subscribe to the SM Blog.

    Weak.
    "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you?"

    http://mcq.smugmug.com
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited November 9, 2012
    Hey McQ,

    Sorry for the slow response. I've stayed focused on yesterday's price change and this time we did a call-down of customers and poured through a lot of numbers because it felt like this was a critical change we couldn't take back.

    My reference to time and size has to do with a couple of things, one being patent lawsuits. If you get big enough, they come to just about every technology company. When you're small, you don't have to budget for them because very few (mostly zero) patent lawsuits come to small companies because the awards are too small.

    For example, it's a matter of public record that VPS sued Pictage and won a $3.9 million settlement. And it's also public that we've been in court against them both in California and Chicago for a very long time. The rule of thumb for patent lawsuits is it takes $3-4 million in legal fees (that doesn't include your time) to defend yourself and then you find out if the jury will acquit you or you have to pay like Pictage, Kodak and all the others did.

    I wish I could say that was the only expensive patent suit action against us, but there have been many more and I know at least one in Texas was public for you to read about.

    Unfortunately, the math becomes pretty shocking. You wouldn't expect it to be a really material cost like product development or storage, but for many companies like us, it can be that or larger.

    The other aspect of time is we've been in business for 10 years offering unlimited storage and it's cumulative. I know we need more tools for people to manage and delete, but the majority of our pros say they don't want to delete and we have pros who have accumulated over the years greater than 10 terrabytes. Newer companies don't have that.

    Pros who've been around a long time know that we have always had a fierce competitor to battle with and we've often heard how we'll never be able to compete with Photoreflect, Printroom, Pictage, etc., because they just have too much momentum and too big a presence at shows like WPPI. But many once fierce competitors who had us very concerned seemed to fade with time and I know of some cases where patent lawsuits ended up crippling them so they were never the same after.

    We were extremely lucky that despite the anger and disappointment online of our price change a couple months ago, it's providing a big boost in our ability to invest in product development, and we don't feel, now that we get so many patent lawsuits and have so much storage, that we had much choice.

    I hope this helps.

    All the best,
    Baldy
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited November 9, 2012
    If anyone is interested in more elaboration about some of this than I provided, I can provide some links about how this works in technology today. Here's one:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/technology/patent-wars-among-tech-giants-can-stifle-competition.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  • carolinecaroline Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,302 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2012
    Baldy,
    Thanks for your post explaining things to McQ who seems to have missed it, and also the link to the NY Times article - very interesting, not something the average Smugmugger would have much idea about.

    Please keep in touch through DGrin, it makes a huge difference to know you are listening and responding, despite the best efforts of the Heroes to fill in.

    Caroline
    Mendip Blog - Blog from The Fog, life on the Mendips
    www.carolineshipsey.co.uk - Follow me on G+

    [/URL]
  • McQMcQ Grinning From Ear To Ear Registered Users Posts: 165 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2012
    caroline wrote: »
    Baldy,
    Thanks for your post explaining things to McQ who seems to have missed it, and also the link to the NY Times article - very interesting, not something the average Smugmugger would have much idea about.

    Caroline

    Interesting. Why would you refer to me and assume I missed it?
    "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you?"

    http://mcq.smugmug.com
  • carolinecaroline Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,302 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2012
    McQ wrote: »
    Interesting. Why would you refer to me and assume I missed it?

    Because you are normally pretty on the ball with responses :) No offence meant.

    Caroline
    Mendip Blog - Blog from The Fog, life on the Mendips
    www.carolineshipsey.co.uk - Follow me on G+

    [/URL]
  • McQMcQ Grinning From Ear To Ear Registered Users Posts: 165 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2012
    Baldy wrote: »
    Hey McQ,

    Sorry for the slow response. I've stayed focused on yesterday's price change and this time we did a call-down of customers and poured through a lot of numbers because it felt like this was a critical change we couldn't take back.

    My reference to time and size has to do with a couple of things, one being patent lawsuits. If you get big enough, they come to just about every technology company. When you're small, you don't have to budget for them because very few (mostly zero) patent lawsuits come to small companies because the awards are too small.

    For example, it's a matter of public record that VPS sued Pictage and won a $3.9 million settlement. And it's also public that we've been in court against them both in California and Chicago for a very long time. The rule of thumb for patent lawsuits is it takes $3-4 million in legal fees (that doesn't include your time) to defend yourself and then you find out if the jury will acquit you or you have to pay like Pictage, Kodak and all the others did.

    I wish I could say that was the only expensive patent suit action against us, but there have been many more and I know at least one in Texas was public for you to read about.

    Unfortunately, the math becomes pretty shocking. You wouldn't expect it to be a really material cost like product development or storage, but for many companies like us, it can be that or larger.

    The other aspect of time is we've been in business for 10 years offering unlimited storage and it's cumulative. I know we need more tools for people to manage and delete, but the majority of our pros say they don't want to delete and we have pros who have accumulated over the years greater than 10 terrabytes. Newer companies don't have that.

    Pros who've been around a long time know that we have always had a fierce competitor to battle with and we've often heard how we'll never be able to compete with Photoreflect, Printroom, Pictage, etc., because they just have too much momentum and too big a presence at shows like WPPI. But many once fierce competitors who had us very concerned seemed to fade with time and I know of some cases where patent lawsuits ended up crippling them so they were never the same after.

    We were extremely lucky that despite the anger and disappointment online of our price change a couple months ago, it's providing a big boost in our ability to invest in product development, and we don't feel, now that we get so many patent lawsuits and have so much storage, that we had much choice.

    I hope this helps.

    All the best,
    Baldy

    Baldy,

    I do appreciate your response. Here comes the "however"...

    I appreciate it, however, why in the world would you not simply post this nearly two months ago? You offered to give more information, but when taken up on the offer, you never responded. Don't you see how that can make customers feel you are hiding something from them? It creates an atmosphere of mistrust. I've wanted to give SM the benefit of the doubt on countless occasions, but almost every time, SM communicates in a way that seems either disingenuous, or as if it has something to hide.

    If my posts seem harsh, it is because I expect a business to act in the best interest of not just itself (which you obviously have to do to stay in business), but in the best interest of its customers. I'm just as happy to give lauds where they're deserved too. So while I'm satisfied that you answered the request for you to follow up with your offer of explanation, the fact that you had to be prodded into it just makes it kind of disappointing.

    But, you've answered, so thank you.

    I hope that SM's level and standards of communication improve in the near future. In my opinion you have a reputation to repair. You've made a lot of promises. As a customer at least through April of next year, I'm willing to stick it out and see if you make good on them.
    "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you?"

    http://mcq.smugmug.com
  • McQMcQ Grinning From Ear To Ear Registered Users Posts: 165 Major grins
    edited November 10, 2012
    caroline wrote: »
    Because you are normally pretty on the ball with responses :) No offence meant.

    Caroline

    Traveling on business and was only able to get sporadic internet access through my phone.
    "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you?"

    http://mcq.smugmug.com
  • jmphotocraftjmphotocraft GWC for hire Portland.ME.USARegistered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited November 12, 2012
    Baldy,

    Thank you for that info. I am dismayed to learn of your legal expenses, presumably frivolous.

    However, you did not answer my question of why you can't simply add the ability to set prices and make a profit and have proof delay for the Portfolio level account for $150 or $200 per year. I have to believe that a significant number of customers are going to drop from the Business level to the Power level. You've said you wish you could find a solution to this... so why not?
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
  • zacHer0zacHer0 Support Hero Registered Users Posts: 655 Major grins
    edited November 12, 2012
    Baldy,

    Thank you for that info. I am dismayed to learn of your legal expenses, presumably frivolous.

    However, you did not answer my question of why you can't simply add the ability to set prices and make a profit and have proof delay for the Portfolio level account for $150 or $200 per year. I have to believe that a significant number of customers are going to drop from the Business level to the Power level. You've said you wish you could find a solution to this... so why not?

    Check out our blog post from a few days ago :)

    http://news.smugmug.com/2012/11/08/new-for-portfolio-accounts-price-sell/
    Zac Williams
    Support Hero
  • slpollettslpollett Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,117 Major grins
    edited November 12, 2012
    It looks like the new Portfolio level DOES allow for setting prices to make a profit and also a proof delay for $150.

    For me, the only disadvantage now for choosing Portfolio over Business is that Portfolio only allows one active pricelist at a time. I take a lot of pictures for my daughter's high school band and I sell those at a significant discount. Now I either have to pay the extra for Business level (hard to justify) or just keep everyone's prices the same. Coupons are only available for Business also, so I can't go that route.

    All in all, it isn't a bad trade-off. From SM's business standpoint, there needs to be SOMETHING people want in the higher price level to justify moving to it so I understand that I can't have everything I wanted. The new Portfolio level comes pretty darned close though.

    Sherry
  • jasonscottphotojasonscottphoto (I'm not Jason...) Registered Users Posts: 710 Major grins
    edited November 12, 2012
    The Portfolio customers almost need a generic "at cost" coupon code they could give to people if they want to sell un-marked up photos, since they can't do it with a price list...
    Posts by Allyson, the wife/assistant...

    Jason Scott Photography | Blog | FB | Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | YouTube
  • jmphotocraftjmphotocraft GWC for hire Portland.ME.USARegistered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited November 12, 2012
    zacHer0 wrote: »

    Oh! This is good news indeed. Thank you! I think this will be agreeable and mutually beneficial. Congrats. Personally I consider the gap closed. What's my commission for the idea? ;)
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
  • Djm3006Djm3006 Major grins Steamboat Springs, ColoradoRegistered Users Posts: 216 Major grins
    edited November 12, 2012
    slpollett wrote: »
    It looks like the new Portfolio level DOES allow for setting prices to make a profit and also a proof delay for $150.

    For me, the only disadvantage now for choosing Portfolio over Business is that Portfolio only allows one active pricelist at a time. I take a lot of pictures for my daughter's high school band and I sell those at a significant discount. Now I either have to pay the extra for Business level (hard to justify) or just keep everyone's prices the same. Coupons are only available for Business also, so I can't go that route.

    All in all, it isn't a bad trade-off. From SM's business standpoint, there needs to be SOMETHING people want in the higher price level to justify moving to it so I understand that I can't have everything I wanted. The new Portfolio level comes pretty darned close though.

    Sherry
    Well said
  • mbellotmbellot Major grins Registered Users Posts: 465 Major grins
    edited November 12, 2012
    slpollett wrote: »
    From SM's business standpoint, there needs to be SOMETHING people want in the higher price level to justify moving to it so I understand that I can't have everything I wanted.

    So I guess these features aren't enough to set Pro apart from Portfolio?
    Allow clients to pick and choose Favorites.
    Add Thank You Prints, branded stickers and your logo in the shopping cart.
    Create custom coupons for promotions.
    Create custom single and multi-image packages.
    Boutique Packaging.
    Personal Delivery.
    Event marketing tools.
    

    The new Portfolio level comes pretty darned close though.

    Sorry, no. With a single price list option it's not close enough, it's just a bad joke.
  • slpollettslpollett Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,117 Major grins
    edited November 13, 2012
    Well, "I" don't use those other features you listed and I 'probably' won't need to implement them any time soon so I ignored them. The only feature(s) in the Business level that "I" want is either the ability to have more than one pricelist or lacking that, the ability to offer a discount. For me, that is the one (OK, two features but I only need/want one of them) thing that even gets me thinking about Business level. With just either one of these, Portfolio would be perfect for me. As is, it is just 'nearly perfect.'

    The items that 'really' matter to me (set prices, sell for a profit, watermarks, printmarks, proof delay, pro lab) are now present in Portfolio. I am pleased with this change. Nothing in life is ever perfect though, including this, sooo.....I just need to decide if the ability to offer a discount to other band parents is worth the extra price to upgrade to Business. For me, the answer is probably 'no'. Band parents will just have to pay the same as everyone else once I renew in January. I hate that for them, but don't really get enough sales from them to cover the additional cost.

    I know everyone has different wants and needs, but this is how it is for me. I was so disappointed in the disparity between Portfolio and Business after the price change (plus the price hike is rather severe). I was seriously looking elsewhere, but now will stay put. I feel like SM listened to what their customers had to say and then added in the most requested or most important features. No, we didn't get everything we wanted, but we got most of it. It's just hard for me to complain about the one thing we didn't get. I'd like to have the option for a second price list, but I'm thrilled to get what we got and I can probably live without what we didn't get. Perfect? No, but still satisfactory.

    Just my $.02.

    Sherry
  • Pure EnergyPure Energy Major grins Registered Users Posts: 180 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2012
    slpollett wrote: »

    All in all, it isn't a bad trade-off. From SM's business standpoint, there needs to be SOMETHING people want in the higher price level to justify moving to it so I understand that I can't have everything I wanted.

    Sherry

    Really? I'm supposed to pay $150 more to be able to have multiple pricelists?

    Didn't we just go through the hassle of converting our pricelists to the new system? A new system that's supposed to make life easier for you and for us? A new system that will allow new great things to come to all? A new system that makes it more apparent to some of us that some pricelists should be merged?

    If SM didn't update the pricelists to the new system, we'd still be able to customize all of our galleries to a unique pricelist if we wanted. So, why is SmugMug trying to confine us to one pricelist at the Portfolio level?

    Great first effort SM in modifying the PRO (Portfolio) features but it definitely needs unlimited pricelists.

    As for the PRO (Business) level... it needs more features to entice us to upgrade (at least for me, since there's nothing else there I really care about since I don't use them at the moment).

    How about:
    Worth elaborating on:
    • Why can't SM take 10% or less from the PRO (Business) tier and 15% from the PRO (Portfolio) tier?
    That, in and of itself, would be great and the only selling point worth mentioning to some of us. All other features would just be gravy and something to tinker with. Chances are it would increase the number of people upgrading as people would be looking at the possibility of the bottom line (more profit) and not what the reality may actually be.

    So, how about it? Come on SmugMug, what are you waiting for? Give us some real hope of increasing the money in our pockets before they get pick-pocketed by the current administrations (National, State and Local). Give us a PRO (Portfolio) tier with unlimited pricelists and give us a PRO (Business) tier with more features and a smaller commission for SM.
  • mbellotmbellot Major grins Registered Users Posts: 465 Major grins
    edited November 14, 2012
    So, how about it? Come on SmugMug, what are you waiting for? Give us some real hope of increasing the money in our pockets before they get pick-pocketed by the current administrations (National, State and Local). Give us a PRO (Portfolio) tier with unlimited pricelists and give us a PRO (Business) tier with more features and a smaller commission for SM.

    The $120 Zenfolio account (Premium, $120/yr) is 12% for orders they fulfill, 8% for digital fulfillment and 4% for self-fulfilled orders (an often asked for feature here). Even better, if you opt for the highest account level (Premium Business, $250/yr) they take 0% commission on self-fulfilled orders.

    Some other simple features that they have implemented that have been requested here for a long time...

    Upload PDF files and link to them from your site menu
    E-mail Shopping Cart to photographer or friend
    Printing of nicely formatted pricelists
    Control the order of products presented to clients
  • jmphotocraftjmphotocraft GWC for hire Portland.ME.USARegistered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited November 16, 2012
    Really? I'm supposed to pay $150 more to be able to have multiple pricelists?

    I'm struggling to understand how someone who doesn't sell enough photos in a year to justify the extra $150 needs multiple pricelists. Why not just have your one list for your pro work, and then sell at-cost to your friends and family?
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,332 moderator
    edited November 16, 2012
    I'm struggling to understand how someone who doesn't sell enough photos in a year to justify the extra $150 needs multiple pricelists. Why not just have your one list for your pro work, and then sell at-cost to your friends and family?

    Plus you can add as many customized Paypal buttons and Google Checkout buttons as you need to the Portfolio level account.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Mountain View, CaRegistered Users, Super Moderators Posts: 2,853 moderator
    edited November 27, 2012
    McQ wrote: »
    I hope that SM's level and standards of communication improve in the near future.
    I've been on the hunt for someone we can dedicate to dgrin and some other photography forums and I think....Baldy knocks very hard on wood....we're close.

    The thing is we're looking for someone quite technical because the complexity of the questions being asked is deeper each year. And they have to work at our HQ because they need to have face-to-face with engineers & QA. And they need to know SmugMug cold and have been a working, successful photographer. And a nice person who can take a punch.

    Where does one find so mythical a person? If you know someone who would fit the bill, let us know because we're close to making an offer.

    It's harder now for Don and I to post as often as we used to because of the size of our customer base and the other channels we work like facebook, Google+, Twitter, our help desk, yada. We won't go away, but all of us will be helped if the person we hire is really on it.
  • pilotdavepilotdave Major grins Registered Users Posts: 785 Major grins
    edited November 27, 2012
    Baldy wrote: »
    Where does one find so mythical a person? If you know someone who would fit the bill, let us know because we're close to making an offer.

    I assume Art Scott already declined the offer? :D

    Dave
  • carolinecaroline Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,302 Major grins
    edited November 27, 2012
    pilotdave wrote: »
    I assume Art Scott already declined the offer? :D

    Dave
    rolleyes1.gifroflrolleyes1.gifrofl
    Mendip Blog - Blog from The Fog, life on the Mendips
    www.carolineshipsey.co.uk - Follow me on G+

    [/URL]
  • carolinecaroline Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,302 Major grins
    edited November 27, 2012
    Baldy wrote: »
    I've been on the hunt for someone we can dedicate to dgrin and some other photography forums and I think....Baldy knocks very hard on wood....we're close.

    The thing is we're looking for someone quite technical because the complexity of the questions being asked is deeper each year. And they have to work at our HQ because they need to have face-to-face with engineers & QA. And they need to know SmugMug cold and have been a working, successful photographer. And a nice person who can take a punch.

    Where does one find so mythical a person? If you know someone who would fit the bill, let us know because we're close to making an offer.

    It's harder now for Don and I to post as often as we used to because of the size of our customer base and the other channels we work like facebook, Google+, Twitter, our help desk, yada. We won't go away, but all of us will be helped if the person we hire is really on it.

    Great news, lookig forward to meeting this new person and wish them all the best!


    Caolne
    Mendip Blog - Blog from The Fog, life on the Mendips
    www.carolineshipsey.co.uk - Follow me on G+

    [/URL]
  • McQMcQ Grinning From Ear To Ear Registered Users Posts: 165 Major grins
    edited November 27, 2012
    pilotdave wrote: »
    I assume Art Scott already declined the offer? :D

    Dave

    I can think of one person who'd be perfect for the job, but he just left SM.
    "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you?"

    http://mcq.smugmug.com
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