ImageStation shutdown looms|
(Tuesday, November 6, 2007 - 13:46 EST)
Sony's long-running ImageStation online photo service is currently in preparations to close early next year, and the first step in the plan is soon to take place.
As of midnight Pacific time on November 12th 2007, the ImageStation site will no longer be accepting new members or uploads, and will cease redemption of coupons and sales of photo prints and gifts. The sole function of the ImageStation store from that point will be to sell CD / DVD archives of galleries, allowing members to get a copy of their original image data if needed. CD archives will cost $7.49 per disc, and DVD archives will be $14.99 per disc.
A multi-image downloader has also been created that will allow members to access all of their original data, and a deal has been set up to allow ImageStation members to Shutterfly's online photo service. It should be noted that ImageStation warns users that not all images and videos can be transferred to Shutterfly for technical reasons - for example video clips, cmyk jpegs, gifs, progressive scan jpegs and images with corrupt headers won't be transferred - and so if you don't have backups of your data you should first order CDs / DVDs or use the multi-image downloader to backup your information if you intend to migrate your account to Shutterfly.
Photos uploaded to ImageStation before November 12th will remain accessible to view through the end of January 2008. However, the CD / DVD archive service will only be offered until midnight Pacific time on January 14th 2008, at which point the ImageStation store will close altogether. From midnight Pacific time on February 1st 2008, Sony will shut down ImageStation altogether, switching off the servers and deleting any remaining customer data. Customers who have premium accounts or premium coupons that expire after the deadlines above will be given the ability to receive a refund through an as-yet unannounced application process.
Sony first launched its ImageStation service under the sony.com domain in June 1998, through a partnership with Eastman Kodak's PhotoNet. From the end of June 2000, ImageStation took up residence under its own domain name, imagestation.com, with infrastructure and services provided by Zing Network, Vingage and Ofoto. Sony says the closure is required "in order to focus on the company’s core businesses, products, and services", noting that as compared to the timeframe in which ImageStation was launched, its customers now have a much wider range of options for photo sharing and creation of photo gifts.
For more details, read the ImageStation closing FAQ, and then visit the ImageStation shutdown page to arrange to retrieve your data.