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Archive for July, 2006

Digital Downloads! Custom Watermarks! New Pro Features!

July 28, 2006 8 comments

Today, we announced a major Pro Release :D Over the coming days I’ll be making posts here and on Digital Grin on how all the new features work, and how you can begin using them immediately! I and the team are also available every day at our help desk to answer any questions you might have regarding all the new goodness:

  • Digital Downloads
  • Custom Watermarks
  • Backprinting
  • Pro sales notification
  • Proof Delayed Shipping

We’re really excited about this release and we thank ALL of our pros who’ve stuck with us. We hope this is just the beginning of even more great pro features yet to come!

Categories: Andy Williams, Sales

New features – July 28, 2006

Pros – if you’ve got a defibrillator, you might want to get it. At the very least, sit down and relax before continuing with our list of new features:

  • Custom Watermarks. You can now create as many custom watermarks as you’d like and apply them to whatever photos you’d like. The feature includes some advanced options:
    • Position. Choose where you’d like your watermark to appear: Center, Top Left, Top, Top Right, Right, Bottom Right, Bottom, Bottom Left, Left, or Tiled.
    • Fade. Choose how much transparency and blending we use on your watermark.
    • Thumbs. Choose whether the thumbnails are also watermarked, or just the larger images.
    • Any image. Any SmugMug image, whether it’s a JPEG from your camera, or a PNG from Photoshop, can be used as your watermark. We recommend PNGs with alpha transparency for the most professional look, and have a tutorial on how to make them, but you can use anything you’d like.
  • Digital downloads. You can now price digital downloads and let your customers buy them. You currently have 3 sizes and 2 licenses to choose from, for a total of 6 options. The sizes include ‘Low-Res (1Mpix)’, ‘Hi-Res (4Mpix)’, and ‘Original’. The licenses include ‘Personal use’ and ‘Commercial use’. You can have all 6 options available at different prices, if you’d like, so your customers can choose the size & use that fits their need best. Note that Digital Downloads are ‘instant gratification’ and do not work with ‘Proof delayed shipping’, another new feature.
  • Backprinting. We’ll send your photos to be printed with up to 40 characters of text on the back. What’s more, the backprinting is dynamic so you can include the date the photo was taken, the photo’s caption, your name, your domain name, or any one of a dozen other variables. You can set your Backprinting options on a per-gallery basis or for your entire site. (Gallery settings override site settings, just like everything else at SmugMug).
  • Proof delayed shipping. You can now, with a gallery setting, choose whether printing and processing should be delayed for a few business days. Using this feature, you can upload low-resolution non-adjusted proofs and replace them with full-resolution adjusted final photos after a customer places an order. The order will automatically ship after that # of days, regardless of whether you’ve made any changes, but if you’re done with your changes you have the option of sending it off for printing immediately with a single click.
  • Pro order notification emails. Every time a customer of yours places an order, you’ll immediately receive notification of what they ordered and how to contact them in case of an error.
  • Clearer shopping cart wording. We make it clear that the customer is buying YOUR photos and that you’ve partnered with SmugMug to ensure they get the best service and quality possible.
  • Pro contact email. You can now set a separate email address in your Control Panel to allow your customers to contact you. This email will be included in their order email & receipt so they can ask you any questions they may have about your order.
  • Enhanced our resize-on-demand feature to respect the file extension. For example, if you upload a PNG, you can now get any custom pixel resolution you want, and also choose whether you want a JPEG or a PNG based on the extension in the URL. (We used to always provide a JPG)
  • Polished our thanks page for gift accounts.
  • Fixed bug on bulk watermarking tool where your photo wasn’t automatically selected.
  • Fixed bug on bulk watermarking tool where you could submit a batch of watermarks with no contents.
  • Fixed a bug on the new user welcome page regarding Themes.
  • Fixed and rewrote lots of helpies
  • Added and updated lots of help sections

The Heat of Summer

July 24, 2006 2 comments

We have been in the middle of a heat wave out here in Silicon Valley, so I dug up some a gallery of kids enjoying the summer heat.

 This gallery was posted by mtizon, and as she says… they speak for themselves:

Enjoy (your hot summer)!

Categories: Galleries

New features – July 19, 2006

Got a huge themes-oriented release for you today. Enjoy!

New features – June 2006

July 19, 2006 7 comments

Ok, I blew it. I forgot to submit the release notes for the two other releases we did in June. My bad! you’ve been using new software, with new features, and didn’t even know it. :)

Here’s what changed:

  • New Mac uploader!
  • Supercharged everyone’s homepages with SpeedDemon v2. It’s now always on and always fast.
  • We now convert from Adobe98 and ProPhoto colorspaces to sRGB, the standard on the web, upon upload. Your Adobe98/ProPhoto photos will no longer look washed out and print poorly.
  • Enhanced uploading speed for all uploaders.
  • Added HTTP RAW POST interface for uploading via API. For API users, I’ll post more about this soon, but essentially you can get a 25% speed boost with little to no effort.
  • Sped up SmugMug and SmugMug Small styles to fetch the larger image first, then the thumbnails. We should have done this years ago. Dumb us.
  • Serve static images from Amazon’s S3 instead of SmugMug, enhancing browser throughput.
  • Added ‘random image picker’ for galleries. Also great for embedding in your blogs, forums, etc. Right-click on a thumbnail on your homepage and look at the image URL for a clue on how it works.
  • Fixed arranging categories and subcategories breaking gallery order in other categories. Finally!
  • Fixed gallery settings not showing properly for certain acount levels.
  • Fixed upgrade button in account settings
  • Fixed customization on user keywords homepage
  • Fixed buttons not working in Camino or Opera (Camino and Opera still not supported, but we do what we can)
  • Fixed link to the upload log not having your nickname in it
  • Fixed SubCategories showing even when there weren’t any galleries in that SubCategory.
  • More consistent shopping cart icons on the site
  • Fixed typos on the customization page
  • Fixed double-text on ‘add photos’ buttons for Safari
  • Fixed hovering over cart buttons with themes
  • New ‘Bio Photo Not Found’ image
  • Show featured photo on sharegroup pages
  • Fixed sharegroups showing up on Category and SubCategory pages
  • Removed some extra HTML tags on the homepage and various sales pages.
  • Creating a new gallery now puts it “first in line” for your galleries if you’re sorting by gallery position.
  • Fixed wrapping problems on ‘share with friends, family’ page
  • Updated almost all help sections to be clearer. Also made a much nicer menu for help.
  • Updated out-of-date news page.
  • Added new menu goodness from help to hacks.
  • Fixed buttons having double-text and overlay problems.
  • Fixed problems with certain characters and slideshow.

Noticed by Newsweek

July 16, 2006 2 comments

In big-time consumer press, you’d think the big brands with big PR departments would steal the show.

But what if the little, family-owned company with only 200,000 paying customers had something completely unique that really mattered?

Fortunately, thanks to our customers, we do: themes & customization.

Many thanks to families like Lee Shepherd’s, who designed several awesome themes and made their family site a model of great customization — and the Wellmans, Jenny C, Dan Porter, and the Knoll Family, whose sites convinced understandably skeptical editors that we should be listed among the biggest names in photo sharing.

And thanks also to customers like Mike Lane, who has been a huge help with themes & customization. We would have used Mike as an example, but it was a consumer magazine who wanted consumer examples.

Making cool 1-click customization available to consumers isn’t easy and my hat’s off to everyone who made it so great.

Categories: business, Chris MacAskill

Competing with Jeff Bezos

July 12, 2006 1 comment

Once upon a time I founded Fatbrain.com (because great minds think a lot), took it public, and later sold it to Barnes & Noble. It sold books to geeks, along with other stuff geeks needed like Sun and IBM manuals, training CDs, etc.

Fatbrain.com

What made Fatbrain as good as it was is that Amazon was the mother of all competitors, mainly because Jeff is an animal — a very talented one. We had to give it our all to compete.

You might think SmugMug and Amazon to be strange bedfellows after all that competition in my past… Actually, it makes us great partners because I know up close and personal just how great they are.

I’ve been using Amazon S3 for my own personal hobby, Adventure Rider — a forum with 3 million posts and 1500 people online at any time. Why set my own server on fire serving images when we can set Amazon’s on fire? They’ve been incredibly reliable and fast.

Which is why Don has had so much luck putting S3 to work on SmugMug’s 500 million images.

Categories: business, Chris MacAskill
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