Home > smugmug > Vendor lock-in sucks: Making it easy to leave smugmug

Vendor lock-in sucks: Making it easy to leave smugmug

July 6, 2005

Most people these days “get” photo sharing, particularly people doing the whole internet thing here in the Valley. They nod their heads politely while I describe all the neat features we have at smugmug. Some aren’t unique, some are. But the thing that always stops them in their tracks is the fact that we make it easy to leave smugmug by exposing a rich API, offering CD/DVD backups of your photos, and the like.

“What?!” they exclaim, “If you don’t achieve lock-in, your customers will leave as soon as there’s something better!”.

“Yes,” I explain, “that’s sorta the whole point.”

And it is. We call smugmug the ultimate in photo sharing, and I’m quite confident that we are. But if we don’t have to work at keeping it great, we’ll soon fall behind and cease to be great. Success can kill your company, my father always says, and I agree.

If, on the other hand, falling behind means that it’s easy for people to stop using our service, it will keep us on our toes. Our customers won’t get pissed at us because we’ve started to suck – they’ll just leave. And that hits us where it counts.

So we’ve made it easy to leave, and we’ll continue to make it even easier. It’s our way of saying that we’re committed to being the ultimate in photo sharing for a long long time – and if we aren’t, kiss us goodbye.

Categories: smugmug
  1. July 23, 2005 at 2:18 pm

    When I found out about Smugmug, I heard iabout them from my nephew who like myself was looking for an economical way of posting photographs. When I started posting pictures while stationed in Iraq I was getting only minimal traffic per day until the story hit the headlines that some of my brigade´s lower units doing stupid stuff at Abu Ghuraib, and I had pictures posted there. I wish I had a nickle for everyone visiting but I don´t.

    In May of 2004, I think I had in one day over 750,000 hits, which made us have to shut it down for that reason and others. Point being, I´ve never met that kind of customer service and dedication anywhere else.
    Thanks Smugmug, you and yours made things easier for me.

    Bill Sutherland

  2. February 2, 2007 at 6:05 am

    We’ve all heard the horror stories of people trying to cancel AOL. Well, I wanted to test and verify our latest SmugMug release on AOL, so I signed up for a trial account about two weeks ago. Having finished testing (it works fine!), I decided to cancel my free trial. First stop, the AOL website. Search, look, pore through, finally find a way to chat with an online rep. “no, sorry, to cancel you have to call this toll free number…” OK now on the phone. 15 minutes of extremely annoying automated menus, that would NOT accept my screen name or other IDs, I’m then on hold for another 10 minutes waiting for a representative. Five more minutes with that person, then finally another automated answer with a cancellation confirmation number. A half-hour of my time wasted.

    Want to cancel your SmugMug account? 30 seconds in your control panel, or, if you prefer, one minute emailing our Support Heroes and it’s done, no questions asked.

    AOL? Bleh.

    We are not evil.

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