We have already discussed an overview of the photo sharing industry and looked closely at the leaders: Flickr, Photobucket and Kodak Gallery. Here we will take a look at Shutterfly’s offering from a Web 3.0 perspective.
Jim Clark launched Shutterfly on December 13, 1999. On the same day Clark’s partner from Netscape, Jim Barksdale, launched Ofoto. Shutterfly is headquartered at Redwood Shores, California and offers storing, sharing, enhancing and printing of photos, as well as photo merchandise. Shutterfly has over 900 million photographs in its archive and was awarded the Field Test Winner Award for photo book by Money Magazine in 2006.
If you are looking for personalized photo products and customized photo prints, then Shutterfly is the right place for you. The site enables you to make wonderful photo items like wallet, Havana box, photo book, tie, jewelry, tote bag, key rings, etc. In most respects Shutterfly is very similar to Kodak Gallery.
Shutterfly allows its users to upload photos and create album or collages with its free software, Shutterfly Studio, and transform digital pictures into 35mm-quality prints and share them with friends and family. Shutterfly allows uploading of photos one by one or in batches through its Picture Assistant browser. The site has excellent editing tools to make changes in uploaded photos and albums. All the editing, storing and sharing features are free, while they make money from the printing and other photo merchandise sales.
Like Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly allows photo sharing within closed user groups. You can invite your friends or family members as your contact or create groups to share your photos with them online.
Shutterfly supports importing contacts through Outlook, Palm Desktop, Outlook Express, Address Book, Entourage and Eudora. Extremely helpful, something all the rest of the sites need to put in place ASAP.
I would like to see more feedback features like Ratings (like Flickr) or Guestbooks (like Kodak).
Shutterfly sells a host of photo products like photo books, calendars, keepsake boxes, luggage tags, photo frames, desk organizers, etc. besides the basic printing service.
Shutterfly Pro Gallery members can sell their uploaded photos or photo products at their desired price through the site. The site charges 15% commission on these transactions. I really like this feature, but given the fact that the community features are lacking, and the site is mainly a closed-end walled-garden, where only friends and family interact, I am not sure how successful the feature is for them. For Flickr, it makes a great deal more sense.
You can also buy a backup CD of all your photos. The charges for CD range between $9.99- $39.99.
Personalization comes in the form of personalized merchandise derived out of the photos, and thus, is similar to other photo sites.
Not as compelling as Flickr.
Shutterfly earns revenues through prints, photo merchandise, as well as subscription fees for its Pro and Premium accounts, and commissions from products sold through member networks.
Web 3.0 Rating: Context: A+; Content: B; Community: A+; Commerce: A+; Personalization: A+; Vertical Search: B; Overall Rating: A