SmugMug (was Rust Green)

Rust Green

Key: R20091219-125421

Yesterday, Earl asked about this drum, so I said I would post another picture of it. When I went to upload my photo to SmugMug tonight they were down. Not a good sign when you are only in the beginning of the free trial 14 days! I’ve heard this about SmugMug: it’s a great site, but the downtime…

I was thinking that for my needs a little downtime here and there is acceptable, but here I am on a normal evening and I just want to upload something. Is that what I can expect? Even though Flickr has stagnated under Yahoo, at least they haven’t suffered any serious downtime, and as a matter of fact, they have scaled really well for their growth.

Hmm…anybody have any experience with SmugMug to share with me?

5 thoughts on “SmugMug (was Rust Green)

  1. I have a SmugMug account, though I’m probably not the guy to ask because I rarely use it. I think that it’s coming up for renewal soon and I probably won’t renew, just because of my lack of use. Andreas moved away from SmugMug because of the very reason that you state, downtime. He used his a lot and finally got frustrated with it, researched, and found a way to make his own gallery. You might get in touch with him to find out what he used.

  2. In my experience they look like a company that lost control of its infrastructure. All was well before they decided to utilize Amazon’s distributed storage services as backend for their SmugVault service. When they introduced SmugVault, the mass data storage for RAW and movies, the problems began, but it never really stabilized. Well, it cooled down a bit after I left (pure coincidence?), but as I still subscribe to their service blog, I see when things go down. I think recently it got worse again, albeit after a longer period of relative stability.

    From where I am now, I would never go back. For instance there’s the annoying URL scheme. You can’t tell from a SmugMug image URL what the name of the original file was. I hate that and it makes migrating off SmugMug really a PITA. I could finally figure it out, but it took me a program and some headache. No way a non-programmer could do it.

    Of course most image hosting services have similar URLs, but when I host the images myself, I am really free to do it as I want.

    Image metadata are another important point. I don’t use watermarks or such, but at least I automatically add my copyright to the metadata. SmugMug strips it along with the EXIF data. I find that inconvenient. OK, it saves a little space, but for photos it is negligible.

    On the plus side, SmugMug has a nice looking interface and a friendly community, but then, if I want “Great!”s a “Nice image”s, why not go to Flickr? That’s where the masses are.

    That leaves the cart feature. Well, in my three years on SmugMug, I sold images for about $18. Sure, I didn’t advertise it, but then, if selling on SmugMug is a viable business model for anyone at all, then it’s maybe for freelance event photographers living in the US. There was no benefit in it for me.

  3. Thanks for the history, Andreas.

    I rolled my own web site before, but I’m tired of doing that and outsourcing it gives me more of my free time to enjoy photography and less about the mundane aspects of managing the the web site. Doing your own image hosting does give you the ultimate in flexibility though, I’ll give you that.

    My main interests in a hosting site are (in order): secure storage of images, flexibility in sizes and access, organization tools and ease of workflow. I don’t really care about the cart feature that much, although there have been times that I have just wished Yahoo had one. Marketing one’s photography is so much more than putting a cart on a site. For someone who wants to make serious money, a cart is probably a no-no, actually. For the rest of us sometimes it’s nice to have a really convenient way to have someone order a print of your work.

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