CNet, DPReview analyse PhotoPoint failure!|
(Tuesday, March 26, 2002 - 16:53 EST)
Interviews with Dale Gass, CEO of Pantellic Software, disclose more of the story behind the dramatic closure of a popular photo-sharing website...
Regular readers will know that we've had many, many news items over the last few months investigating two outages at online photo-sharing site PhotoPoint.com - the first lasting for several days, and the final fatal blow arriving in mid-December 2001. We've spotted two interesting articles posted on other sites over the last couple of days which shed more light on the reasons behind the collapse of PhotoPoint (and new parent company Pantellic Software Inc.)
CNET News.com has an article from Gwendolyn Mariano in which she outlines the history, and then interviews Pantellic CEO Dale Gass. Our friends at the Digital Photography Review website, meanwhile, have posted an interview of their own, which makes for equally interesting reading.
Amongst the numerous questions and answers in these two interviews, Gass reveals that there is still a possibility the site may yet be sold to another company. As time passes, though, he notes that whatever value PhotoPoint still retains will shrink, as the existing accounts will become "stale" (users will simply forget about their photos and move on, change email addresses, etc.) We'd expect there's also some hesitance on the part of buyers to become associated with the PhotoPoint name thanks to the unfortunate situation since December and the ill will that it has generated in some quarters.
The CNet article also notes plans to offer PhotoPoint members the chance to purchase archive CDs of their images, a service which would be offered by an unidentified party by restoring backups of users' images. (Pantellic's employees and equipment are all gone, and so the difficult task of accessing images from terabytes' worth of backups must be outsourced - hence the need for money to cover these costs). This too has been delayed, though - the PhotoPoint site initially predicted archive CDs would be available by March 11th, and this was then pushed back to March 25th - a deadline that has again passed with no news.
It still isn't clear from the interviews whether the $24.95 charge for archive CDs is per disc, or covers all images in a users' account. If (as we're hoping) the second option applies, this will certainly be a good value for users with large accounts - but users with few images to retrieve may be put off by the price, which is triple the cheapest option we're aware of from a similar site. If the charge is per disc though, then the cost really could be prohibitive... (Club Photo charges $7.95 for a CD with up to 60 images, or $49.95 for an entire account backed up onto as many as 10 CDs).
Once we hear news that the archive CDs are available, you'll hear it on our news page. In the meantime, if you're hoping to retrieve images that have fallen between the cracks, keep your fingers crossed that Dale Gass can surpass whatever obstacles have delayed the arrival of the long-awaited way for users to get their images back...