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September 04, 2012

SmugMug causes e-riots, increases Pro accounts by $100 (double for new customers)

SmugMug, one of the early photo-hosting sites just created some shockwaves among photographers by increasing the price of their Pro accounts by $100, from $150 to $250 per year. Early adopters of the site, who are/were still at the $100 price-level will jump to $200. New Pro customers will pay even more, $300 per year.

The company's voice, co-founder Chris MacAskill posted a 3-minute video on YouTube explaining the price increases. You can also find the video embedded below...

Reactions to the price-increase varied, some reaching the level of Netflix price increase ire. Here are some of the many discussions and reactions:

+ 1200+ comments on the Smugmug official blog
+ Pixiq with alternatives listed at the bottom
+ they lost my trust and they lost my business at Photography Wisdom
+ counter-opinion to the e-complaints at Thomas Hawk
+ Foto-Biz compares the new Smugmug prices with other similar services (Zenfolio, Photoshelter)
+ PMA News Line
+ PetaPixel
+ The Phoblographer
+ short discussion at GetDPI forums
+ discuss the increase live on Tuesday at 9pm New York City time at a new episode of the Photo Tips Live SpreeCast

If all else fails, ePhotozine is having a giveaway with four free Pro SmugMug accounts going to four lucky winners.

Distilled Points
+ (almost) no one likes price increases
+ the increase is not as big if your tax/employment/business situation allows the deduction of business or hobby expenses. Consult with your accountant(s) or tax advisor(s) or tax software or your favorite internet tax-related websites/blogs/forums
+ Smugmug faced the trade-off of one price increase vs multiple smaller increases on a regular basis
+ big price increases almost always generate visceral reactions and pushback and unhappy customers (Netflix lost most of its "political capital" with the combo mess of the price-increase and the Qwikster split - these cross-fed each other spoonfuls of bile)
+ another manifestation of the perils of trusting the cloud, trading-off convenience vs webhosting and sys-admining in your basement

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