I spend a lot of my time these days managing our technology budget, and in particular our photo storage. We have billions of photos online and the costs add up. Since we don’t charge for storage these costs have to get passed on to the customer in our product prices.
So I’m interested to know how you feel about striking the right balance between free storage and low prices. You may have noticed that we used to enforce a storage quota of 1GB, but in recent months that quota has been removed. This is partly because we wanted time to develop a quota system that was easier to understand, and also because we wanted to study how our customers used the site without the restriction of a quota.
At one extreme we could have unlimited photo storage forever with no strings attached. Definitely the Rolls Royce solution but the most expensive. At the other end of the spectrum we could have no permanent storage or a small amount of permanent storage enforced by a quota. And there are lots of options in between.
So here are some ideas for you to ponder…
- What if we were to offer unlimited storage for ACTIVE customers, where you have to make an order once every 6 months to keep your photos alive. Is that fair?
- How about going back to the old quota system? Is 1GB a fair allowance these days? What about a nice simple 1000 photos instead (given that photos are often bigger than 1MB each from modern cameras)?
- We used to offer some extra quota for each order you placed? 200GB or maybe 200 photos? Is that fair and does it make sense (customers who are more active on our service get more space than inactive customers)?
- How many of you actually value having permanent storage on our site? Do you tend to upload and order once and never access the photos again? Should the default be that the photos only stay on your account for 30 days, unless you choose to save them in a permanent album?
- Do you consider Photobox to be a secure backup of photos on your hard-disk or do you use more specialised services for that?
- If you order photobooks or calendars do you expect those photos to stay online or only temporarily while you are designing the product?
- Finally, if you are a pro gallery owner what is your view? Do you expect more space that a non-gallery member, and how do we fairly allocate space between a very active seller and a gallery owner who sells no photos?
Your views would be very much appreciated and will help us to shape the future direction of the service.
Chief Technology Being