Here is one of my parents’ favorite old pictures of me and my sister. The quality is poor because it’s old, it’s not digital, and my dad xeroxed it and then snail mailed it to me.
I prefer to use and was happy with Kodak Gallery for my picture sharing. And, when I finally got a Mac, I was even happier to learn that there is an easy upload application for Mac users. But some bad news came this week—Kodak jumped on the “strengthening” the Terms of Services bandwagon. Here are the basics of their new policy, which is also oh-so-cutely highlighted on their homepage:
- You must spend $4.99 annually if you use 2GB of storage or less.
- You must spend $19.99 annually if you use more than 2GB of storage.
- If you don’t follow rules A/B, your pictures may be deleted.
Yikes! The good news is that I’m covered for this year. But, now I’m nervous. The phrase “may be deleted” is a bad thing when it comes to priceless memories. Will Kodak notify me prior to cutting me off? I assume so, but still…the beauty of the Kodak Gallery—the ability of freely share photos with everyone with an email address, including my dad—is gone.
I was thinking of switching to Snapfish, but it turns out they have a similar policy. Hmm… On one hand I don’t blame these services for trying to make a buck. And, minimum purchase requirements seem less stingy that annual fees I suppose. Then again, I believe that some users might prefer the peace of mind of just paying for use up front; the alternative as it stands now a) seems like a hassle to stay on top of even if your status is communicated clearly and b) comes across as purely restrictive and negative with the deletion threat.
In broader terms, what is really happening here is an older company trying to hold on to an old fashioned (i.e. hard copy) way of doing business.
The solution to this issue? I haven’t a surefire one. But, I bet it lies somewhere in between considering the free service as a branding investment more than as a storefront and rewarding users who pass on their pictures (and the brand) to others and do spend money, rather than punishing those who do not.
Now, look at this: a video highlighting the Kodak brand in general and, by default, the Gallery in particular, too. (The longer version is even more touching, and is the thing that compelled me to dig up the ol’ photo above.) Consider the core message—it boasts a strong story, yet is almost laughable considering the new Gallery codes.
“Keep me, protect me, share me, and I will live forever…Keep it Kodak.”
For now I will just ensure all of my pictures live in iPhoto on my hard drive. Over time, I will probably shift my dollars spent on prints to be through this site, too, because it will become my new photo home base. The only problem now is that sharing high resolution images from iPhoto to non-Applers (i.e. my dad) becomes tricky.
Clearly, I’m on the market for a new picture portal. I want to have my cake (free storage) and eat it (be able to share via email), too. Does anyone have any recommendations?