SmugMug in the lead

Not too long ago I decided to change my photo and video hosting online from Image Event to something else. It is worth noting that while it served up pictures very quickly, videos had to be pretty small and the interface customization was limited and less than intuitive. I checked out a few different places and kinda settled on Flickr because of the large amount of users and the positive press I had heard about them.
Fast forward a few months, and I am once again looking for something new. I like the community of Flickr, but the speed and interface left something to be desired. I have trialled all the other well known services like Picasa, Photobucket, Pbase, Zooomr, Zenfolio, PhanPhare, and SmugMug . The one I seem to be stuck on is SmugMug and there are a few reasons why. The themes (at least the black ones I use) look sleek, the pictures load really fast, and the customer support is quick and super friendly. Another big factor is the video which allows for 2.5 minutes of DVD quality (640×480) video clips, which are a step up from the 90 seconds of video Flickr offers. The main downfall is that the $60/yr is considerably higher than Flickr’s $24.95/yr cost. With family being spread across the U.S. and even some abroad, a photo/video site can go a long ways towards bridging the gap. The most important thing to me is that my site is attractive and that it is fast and easy to navigate. This is where SmugMug excels and why, when the remainder of my trial is up, I will most likely continue to host all of the media I want to share with them.

Things I would like to see:
– Price drop to $50/year for Power Users
– More slick themes (not holiday or season ones)
– Allow longer video clips (up to 5 min)
– Continue to work on the community features (more like Flickr groups)
– Group Albums – This allows you and the people you choose to all contribute photos to one album whether it be one folder for the whole family or maybe a gallery set up for someone’s wedding where all the attendee’s can contribute their photos. This is brilliant and something I have been waiting to see something like this from more sites.

These things, added to their already long list of features, would go a long way towards making me a lifetime customer, and impress a whole lot more people in the process.


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