I’ve been SmugMugged

With only a few days left in my two week evaluation of SmugMug I was faced with a decision.

Would I opt to pay for SmugMug, which lacks features I really enjoy but has some huge plus sides, or would I coast with what I have on Flickr and hope someone reputable buys the service from Yahoo?

Up until early Wednesday morning I was leaning toward allowing my trial to run out and continue “as is” with Flickr. Late that morning, however, I remembered an email I’d received from SmugMug asking me how my trial was going and if I had any questions. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I sent a quick reply complimenting the service and asking two questions about the site.

  1. When would SmugMug be dropping their Flash-based stats?
  2. Would they be increasing the social aspect of the service so I could be automatically notified if photographers I want to follow upload new images?

I sent my message expecting I’d hear back sometime in the next couple of weeks, but I got a reply within the hour. Not only did I get a reply, it was a reply from an actual human being. He answered my first question 1, and took the time to request a clarification on my second. Encouraged, I responded again, and received a second reply from an actual human being. This time he pointed me to a link at which I could share my ideas for the service, and suggested a couple of “in the meantime” features which I might find appealing 2. We ended up exchanging several more emails, and by that time my mind had changed.

This was a company with which I wanted to do business.

The service is very good, and the customer support is excellent. While the community features are somewhat lacking, SmugMug offers benefits like uploading DNG 3 and attaching the original raw file to the upload 4. I feel good about using this service, and hope it further develops it’s mobile application, statistics, and social features in the future. I also love how it remains a privately owned firm. Something like SmugMug really needs that sort of personal touch.

Still, as someone who has benefitted from Flickr, I do not feel comfortable utterly abandoning that site. So for the foreseeable future I plan on continuing to upload images to my Flickr account, though I’ll likely reduce my upload resolution. For the last number of years Flickr has been my go to site to find presentation images 5, and this way I can continue to contribute to others who could benefit.

So, yes, I’ve been (Smug)Mugged, and over the next few weeks I’ll be setting up shop on my portfolio. I hope you enjoy it!

  1. The answer is, basically, “As soon as we possibly can [flash is evil].” Yes, I added the last bit. 
  2. I already knew about them, but only because I poured through SmugMug’s online help. 
  3. Adobe Digital Negatives. It’s an open spec raw file, so its widely readable. 
  4. This increases my total upload time, but it also means my best shots will be fully preserved on SmugMug, which I love
  5. Always Creative Commons licensed.