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Thread: SmugMug DOUBLES subscription costs! Hello Zenfolio?

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    SmugMug DOUBLES subscription costs! Hello Zenfolio?

    http://www.petapixel.com/2012/08/31/...stomers-by-67/

    So sneakily on a Friday night, smug mug apparently sent out an email to the pro users that their subscription costs would increase.
    Essentially the cost of the service to sell your photos increases from $150/year to $300/year (though apparently $250 if existing customer)

    Their reasoning is due to the costs of the bandwidth, which i find strange as they've increased the costs just to the people who make money for smug mug - i.e. the people that they already get 15% of sales from - shouldn't an increase in use of the service from the pros equate to an increase in profit? It doesn't seem like they have tackled this well at all.

    So i've now learnt of the competition "zenfolio". http://www.zenfolio.com
    The example websites look great to me, and it's only $120 per year.
    And this free service: http://www.uploadjunction.com/ migrates your photos from smugmug to zenfolio for you!

    My trial period for smugmug ends in three days, so i'm going to also start the trial for zenfolio right now to ensure letting go of smugmug is the right move. The clean professional sounding name "zenfolio" already puts it ahead in my books, but need to do some more digging.

    Has anyone here used zenfolio?

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Perhaps have a look at 500px as well. https://500px.com
    They have options on their paid accounts to sell through the site and their prices look pretty competitive. https://500px.com/upgrade
    Andrew
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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I got Baldy's email as well. Many will agree that they have handled it poorly, but it is a double edged sword. They haven't increased the price of the pro account in 7 years and whilst that would be an excellent achievement for any business, and be lauded by all who subscribe. The downside comes to bite because they need to then raise the cost so substantially in one hit, a 100% increase for some which will upset so many.

    While it's reasonable to think that the pro accounts from which they get their 15% already pay for their usage and the more they sell the more Smug earns, I think you would find that there are a vast number who actually sell very little via the Smug e-commerce channel, therefore earning zero for Smug. Many simply use it for the display of their works with clients picking from the displayed images and the pro's then fulfilling themselves. Pro's get unlimited full res upload of photos and videos and no doubt many use it as a digital photo album in the cloud storing GB of data, yet making no sales.

    Baldy makes valid points in his video, outlining that in 2005 when it all started, files from cameras were less than 1/2 the size of what they are now, and with bodies like the D800 out there, these days many files are huge. I think it was good business ethic to make that video, fronting the clients and telling them what and why these changes have been made, many would just send the email saying new price, thanks for being a client and pay up.

    For those who do have a pro account, and simply use it as a display portal, the $150/year they currently pay will remain the same, they will just lose the ability to sell images at a profit, but they can still print via Smug's labs and cost of print I believe.

    I won't say I'm happy about such an increase, but I have been very happy with the company, their service, their product and therefore will continue to support them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    While it's reasonable to think that the pro accounts from which they get their 15% already pay for their usage and the more they sell the more Smug earns, I think you would find that there are a vast number who actually sell very little via the Smug e-commerce channel, therefore earning zero for Smug.
    So by that rational, they are now charging the pros more, to make up for the costs associated with the non pros?
    Seems completely illogical.

    The CEO Don has been responding to some comments on one of the posts on their FB page:
    http://www.facebook.com/SmugMug/posts/364610180281321

    It seems they're changing the story and saying it's not about the costs, but about investments for future improvements. Seems very flakey to me.

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    Must be just a coincidence that Scott Kelby has migrated his site to SmugMug and trumpeted about it on his blog just recently.
    Waz
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    I have a pro account and although the price increase does not affect me because I do not sell the photos I am more than happy with their service and continue to support.
    Last edited by fess67; 02-09-2012 at 4:47pm. Reason: speeliong

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    I'm incredibly impressed with Zenfolio so far.
    It took me 20 seconds to sign up - didn't even need to confirm email.
    Then 10 seconds start transfer for all my smug mug photos over to zenfolio using http://www.uploadjunction.com/
    That was done on external servers for you, incredibly quick (was finished in background after 5 minutes)
    This copied all album descriptions, titles, tags etc for you.

    And the default page straight off the bat looks clean and professional, whereas smugmugs looks poor IMO.
    This is my smugmug after almost two weeks and trying to tweak it a few times but no success: http://capturedabroad.smugmug.com
    And this is my new zenfolio after only an hour or two of playing around with it today: http://capturedabroad.zenfolio.com

    I'll let you be the judge!

    Oh and everything about zenfolio is far more userfriendly. Poor move from smug mug when their competition is of this quality.

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    To be honest with you this thread needs to be closed.

    Smugmug offers a service as do other companies. I can make my smugmug site look and feel the same as the above posters...do I feel it is a difficult task? nah, but I agree some might. Does that make Zenfolio better? I dunno, never tried it......but I have not had an issue with Smugmug.

    We should be here to offer objective opinions and for me Smugmug has always delivered quality at a price I am willing to pay.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmack View Post
    So by that rational, they are now charging the pros more, to make up for the costs associated with the non pros?
    Seems completely illogical.

    The CEO Don has been responding to some comments on one of the posts on their FB page:
    http://www.facebook.com/SmugMug/posts/364610180281321

    It seems they're changing the story and saying it's not about the costs, but about investments for future improvements. Seems very flakey to me.
    It's not at all illogical when you consider that many with a pro account, who upload and display many GB of images and video in many many galleries yet don't make any sales, effectively cost Smugmug far more than they return to them in commission from sales, because those who don't sell, but utilise lots of storage are only worth $150/year.
    I have no doubt that many pro's who do sell, and sell regularly also utilise huge amounts of bandwidth and storage space and whilst they further contribute their 15% commission, Smug can see how much these pro's are spinning through their accounts, and thereby would probably draw the conclusion that alot of them pay their $150/year + commission but if they sell at low cost well 15% of almost nothing is almost nothing..

    I think it would be better for all if they just stopped offering the free accounts, and for such a great product, make everyone who wants to use it pay something to lessen the smack to the people with Pro accounts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fess67 View Post
    To be honest with you this thread needs to be closed.
    no need to be precious about it. this is a fairly large announcement and discussion on it is justified, this is not China. They are now double the cost of the competition, i'm doing people a favour and letting them know about an alternative that i only discovered last night. I've since found one issue with zenfolio, and that is that it often takes too long to load photos, however i suspect that is either due to the mass influx of people changing over from smugmug, or perhaps because of my current location in Turkey. Will see how it goes.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    It's not at all illogical when you consider that many with a pro account, who upload and display many GB of images and video in many many galleries yet don't make any sales, effectively cost Smugmug far more than they return to them in commission from sales, because those who don't sell, but utilise lots of storage are only worth $150/year.
    I think you misread what i wrote - or perhaps you are trying to make a different point.
    And the pros that do not sell anything but upload lots of images, can downgrade to the new $150 plan - meaning smugmug would be no better off as that was what they were paying beforehand. And they're also guaranteed to not make any commision now so.... worse off actually. And that's before you consider all the cancelled accounts and as I expect - huge decline in new memberships.

    edit: and not sure where i got $120 in the OP, it's $160 without a discount for the base selling package with zen
    Last edited by pmack; 02-09-2012 at 11:56pm.

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    As long as members debate the subject and don't get personal the thread stay open !
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    I found one more benefit to zenfolio that certainly helps aussies, the cost to deliver a 20x30" print to OZ with smug mug from memory is around $16 (correct me if I'm wrong). With zen, the cost of the actual print is a few dollars more, though the delivery was only $6. Though that may be slower delivery as there was another express option.

    edit: I just realised why - "Professional lab based in Australia"...
    Last edited by pmack; 03-09-2012 at 12:16am.

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    I have my Photo Merchant account for $19 per month! (middle rate) I let Zenfolio go as I prefer an Australian supplier.
    See the image below for what they offer pricewise. It is described as "a monthly subscription service without any long term contract. There are no setup fees, cancellation fees or obligations."

    You can use 'AUTO ORDER FULFILLMENT' and online orders automatically fulfilled, from the shopping cart direct to the customer - Lab used is NuLab. Or you can use 'MANUAL ORDER FULFILLMENT' and manage business on your own terms with Self Fulfillment order processing. I use this for the Limited Edition prints which get signed, although I haven't done any yet I plan to use Codeice for the printing of that gallery. You set up your own pricing plans, and they can be different for every gallery if you want. You can set up 'invisible' galleries with or without passwords that are only visible to people who have the address to go there direct.

    Products available are prints, framed prints, mounted prints, canvas prints with more planned.

    Sorry if it sounds like an ad for them but I am very pleased with it and think they are terrific.

    photo merchant pricing.jpg
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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I considered Photomerchant, but found on many occasions when I tested the site, that photos were always slow to load, Zenfolio was similar, just not as slow.

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    I haven't had any complaints about the current SmugMug offering over the years. But I would have liked them to update a few things. They have had a beta gallery system for years now but it seems no closer to coming out. Also they have been slow on issues like currency and Australian printers, so I'll consider a change again after this most recent news.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Smug now offer multi-currency and have done for a while now, although yes, they were very slow to implement that, it was one of my gripes, along with no Australian based print lab.

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    I've just had a look at Zenfolio and I'm very impressed. Seems they have a lot of features I'd be keen to use that I'm not getting now. Trial starts now!!

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    Saw your pics on Zenfolio... $38.24 for an 8 x 12? Got mine form one of the site sponsors , Filmstreet, for $1 a pop, and the printing was outstanding! have you added markup to that?
    Epicaricacy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Epicaricacy View Post
    Saw your pics on Zenfolio... $38.24 for an 8 x 12? Got mine form one of the site sponsors , Filmstreet, for $1 a pop, and the printing was outstanding! have you added markup to that?
    I know the question was asked of another but I don't understand if you're comparing having your own work printed to that of a photographer selling prints of his own work and if you think his price is too high or too low?

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    Quote Originally Posted by norwest View Post
    I know the question was asked of another but I don't understand if you're comparing having your own work printed to that of a photographer selling prints of his own work and if you think his price is too high or too low?
    LOL I think that $38.24 is for buying someone's photo print, the $1 from Film Street is printing for your own photo
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