As someone who once upon a time signed up to become a Kodak EasyShare Gallery Member (probably in order to view someone’s photos), I got an interesting message yesterday from Kodak regarding their online photo storage terms of service.
According to the notice, those who store their photos on Kodak’s online galleries will have to purchase paper prints of at least some of their photos each year to keep their data online.
The notice reads:
We wanted to make you aware that we have modified our Terms of Service: To more effectively serve our Gallery members, we have adjusted our photo-storage policy to align with storage usage.
How this affects you.
Once you begin storing photos at the Gallery, you must make the following purchases to continue such storage:
• Members with photo storage of 2 gigabytes (GB) or less must make annual minimum purchases totaling at least $4.99.
• Members with photo storage exceeding 2GB must make annual minimum purchases totaling at least $19.99.
Failure to meet this requirement may result in your photos being deleted from the Gallery.
You are currently compliant with our new policy, so no immediate action is required on your part.
Once you’ve uploaded photos, please refer to your Storage Status within the My Account page of the Gallery website to see the time frame within which you are required to make your next qualifying purchase to meet our Storage Policy requirements.**
We look forward to continuing our relationship with you.
The KODAK Gallery
Maybe it’s just me, but it was jarring to read this in the midst of the other news I’ve been immersed in, such as the proliferation of online services for sharing and storing files like photos, and the death of print media across the country. Kodak’s definitely going against the grain. Why is a company that has an online storage service trying to force its users back into dead-tree-based “file sharing” (at least part of the time)?
It’s one thing to charge for online storage if the free-upload business model becomes less than sustainable. It’s another thing to try to make people pay for unwanted paper photos when what they want to do is store digital photos. Why not just charge customers for online space? Then Kodak can make money, and customers get what they want — a way to store and share digital pictrures.
I expct this will prompt users to leave Kodak EasyShare. There are just too many online-only alternatives these days. Just like the whole point of SaaS for business applications is not having to maintain an internal infrastructure, the whole idea of online photo sharing–to me, anyway–is *not* having to find a place to display or store paper copies of photos.
I sent Kodak a few questions about this notice today, but didn’t hear back.