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02/15/2013 01:49:51 PM · #1
WOW WOW WOW! Smugmug DISASTER ALERT.

So now that they have all these different account options and changes, they're screwing over business owners. Here's how...

I downgraded my account because I wanted to start using it more for personal stuff and less for business. But a few of my customers still had links to their galleries.

On downgrade, I thought it would be obvious that client ordering would be turned off since they don't allow you to make profit nor is there any proof delay for editing images.

One of my clients just ordered 40 prints at cost using a link I gave them back when ordering was turned ON. Smugmug let them place their order at cost knowing I had downgraded my account. And worse, they DIDN'T EVEN NOTIFY ME OF THE ORDER .... THE CLIENT DID!

And even worse still, the client was delivered unedited prints because of the lack of proof delay and notification!!

Smugmug basically said, "sorry, too bad." I asked WHY IN THE WORLD ordering would not be turned OFF by default on downgrade and they had no answer. If you want to turn off ordering you have to go in and MANUALLY disallow your clients from ordering prints at cost and receiving unedited images!

This strikes me as absolute sleaze on the part of Smugmug as they get to continue selling MY PRODUCT with profit to them and no profit to me and no CARE for my brand image.

I'm disgusted. This is the nail in the coffin. Absolutely unacceptable.
02/15/2013 04:08:09 PM · #2
<walking by whistling without making eye-contact...>
02/15/2013 04:22:20 PM · #3
Very sad. Thanks for posting.

*runs off to turn off ordering*
02/15/2013 04:54:57 PM · #4
Originally posted by kgeary:

WOW WOW WOW! Smugmug DISASTER ALERT.

So now that they have all these different account options and changes, they're screwing over business owners. Here's how...

I downgraded my account because I wanted to start using it more for personal stuff and less for business. But a few of my customers still had links to their galleries.

On downgrade, I thought it would be obvious that client ordering would be turned off since they don't allow you to make profit nor is there any proof delay for editing images.

One of my clients just ordered 40 prints at cost using a link I gave them back when ordering was turned ON. Smugmug let them place their order at cost knowing I had downgraded my account. And worse, they DIDN'T EVEN NOTIFY ME OF THE ORDER .... THE CLIENT DID!

And even worse still, the client was delivered unedited prints because of the lack of proof delay and notification!!

Smugmug basically said, "sorry, too bad." I asked WHY IN THE WORLD ordering would not be turned OFF by default on downgrade and they had no answer. If you want to turn off ordering you have to go in and MANUALLY disallow your clients from ordering prints at cost and receiving unedited images!

This strikes me as absolute sleaze on the part of Smugmug as they get to continue selling MY PRODUCT with profit to them and no profit to me and no CARE for my brand image.

I'm disgusted. This is the nail in the coffin. Absolutely unacceptable.


My account expires in May. I'm leaving it up until then, but then I'm outta there. I've simply not seen anything worth the extra money they are going to be charging me to leave it.

There have been times in the past when I felt that SM was "looking out for me." However, in recent months/years, I'm just feeling the Smugmug love
02/16/2013 07:41:49 AM · #5
It will take much more than blaming others for what seems to me, like your own responsibility. Why should they do the turn off thingy? Is it not your responsibility to run your business and mange your resources.

Let me tell you the other side. I informed Smugmug that, due to my finances and the pending next cancer operation, I will have no choice but to opt out for some time and inquired what will happen to my images on my 'dead' account. The next thing, an email informing me that, compliments of Smugmug, my date has been set one year later. They also said They would prefer it if I concentrate on getting well rather than to worry about paying fees to them for another year. Challenge, how many businesses shows that much PERSONAL CARE to a describer/member?

Where do you think I got the idea of assisting deserving members full membership on DPC? Is it not also true that we should be rather careful at pointing a finger with so many pointing back at us. Not looking for an argument or even a reply, but kgeary, You are the one responsible for your business, you are responsible for managing it and all of those involved in it.
02/16/2013 08:03:39 AM · #6
Originally posted by docpjv:

It will take much more than blaming others for what seems to me, like your own responsibility. Why should they do the turn off thingy? Is it not your responsibility to run your business and mange your resources.

Let me tell you the other side. I informed Smugmug that, due to my finances and the pending next cancer operation, I will have no choice but to opt out for some time and inquired what will happen to my images on my 'dead' account. The next thing, an email informing me that, compliments of Smugmug, my date has been set one year later. They also said They would prefer it if I concentrate on getting well rather than to worry about paying fees to them for another year. Challenge, how many businesses shows that much PERSONAL CARE to a describer/member?

Where do you think I got the idea of assisting deserving members full membership on DPC? Is it not also true that we should be rather careful at pointing a finger with so many pointing back at us. Not looking for an argument or even a reply, but kgeary, You are the one responsible for your business, you are responsible for managing it and all of those involved in it.

doc, while i truly appreciate your situation, and the gesture made by SM, their business practices, for years, has been to make changes without informing their business partners of all the details and their ramifications. they haven't always been clear about how exactly what will happen in given situations, often leaving rise to what kevin experienced.

Message edited by author 2013-02-16 08:04:14.
02/16/2013 08:15:55 AM · #7
Hi Kevin,

Sorry about the order placed using our published print prices. It's not our intention to make life difficult for business owners. If you changed account levels yourself, on our help page about that, we do suggest disabling printing for galleries for which you don't wish to allow printing at our default prices. Sorry we unwittingly made life difficult for you.

Notifying photographers of orders placed is something we do only when the order provides a profit for the photographer. We do have quite different policies in regard to protecting a pro brand when it's a business or portfolio level account. However, often on our other accounts, there's not a pro brand to protect.

Anytime you have concerns about your account, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're happy to help every day of the year, almost around the clock.

-Robin
02/16/2013 09:14:03 AM · #8
I've been a smugger for 4 years! Never a problem. Smugmug is mostly a DIY website for personal gallery use and pro accounts. They supply the storage and templates and processees, you do the management! Any savvy business person would have made sure all the details were in place before making the move. Making assumptions about what you believe to be obvious is not good. Nothing can be left up to assumptions. If you don't know for sure, find out!
02/16/2013 09:35:17 AM · #9
Originally posted by docpjv:

It will take much more than blaming others for what seems to me, like your own responsibility. Why should they do the turn off thingy? Is it not your responsibility to run your business and mange your resources.

Let me tell you the other side. I informed Smugmug that, due to my finances and the pending next cancer operation, I will have no choice but to opt out for some time and inquired what will happen to my images on my 'dead' account. The next thing, an email informing me that, compliments of Smugmug, my date has been set one year later. They also said They would prefer it if I concentrate on getting well rather than to worry about paying fees to them for another year. Challenge, how many businesses shows that much PERSONAL CARE to a describer/member?

Where do you think I got the idea of assisting deserving members full membership on DPC? Is it not also true that we should be rather careful at pointing a finger with so many pointing back at us. Not looking for an argument or even a reply, but kgeary, You are the one responsible for your business, you are responsible for managing it and all of those involved in it.


When you go from a Pro Account that has 5 gazillion levels of customization to an account that claims to not allow orders for profit, why would I ever assume that smugmug would still allow all my past clients to access their galleries and order all of my product for free? Why would that make any sense in any business partnership? If you don't see the problem, you're the idiot business owner.
02/16/2013 09:59:51 AM · #10
Originally posted by SmugMugSupportHero:

Hi Kevin,

Sorry about the order placed using our published print prices. It's not our intention to make life difficult for business owners. If you changed account levels yourself, on our help page about that, we do suggest disabling printing for galleries for which you don't wish to allow printing at our default prices. Sorry we unwittingly made life difficult for you.

Notifying photographers of orders placed is something we do only when the order provides a profit for the photographer. We do have quite different policies in regard to protecting a pro brand when it's a business or portfolio level account. However, often on our other accounts, there's not a pro brand to protect.

Anytime you have concerns about your account, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're happy to help every day of the year, almost around the clock.

-Robin


Even with a business level account, even when I thought something wasn't "for sell," I have had customers comment on my outrageously good prices on certain products (a canvas print comes to mind) and how much they enjoyed it (Yea, I guess so -- they got it at cost). Yet, I had no idea they had even ordered it. What torqued me about that particular instance is that it was a print that was for sell on everything else, but because I had missed one check box out of what seemed like hundreds, I took a hit. I have since remedied the situation, but basically I have one price scheme to prevent that because truly customizing the pricing would take hours and is a pain in the neck.

I could go on about the little things that bug me, but like Skip said to Doc, I'm at the point where I can't/won't stay with them at this point because I can't know what to expect. I'm glad they did right by you doc, truly I am. and I have had instances where the SM team were "heroes" for me. But, over the years, as I weigh the considerations, the balance is slipping into the negative. I'm a "small pro" (meaning, I'm really *not* a professional, but do get paid to do some stuff and need online fulfillment) and the price increase cuts. It's just not worth it, right now.
02/16/2013 10:01:00 AM · #11
Originally posted by EL-ROI:

I've been a smugger for 4 years! Never a problem. Smugmug is mostly a DIY website for personal gallery use and pro accounts. They supply the storage and templates and processees, you do the management! Any savvy business person would have made sure all the details were in place before making the move. Making assumptions about what you believe to be obvious is not good. Nothing can be left up to assumptions. If you don't know for sure, find out!


I have spent countless hours checking the details of many things. However, there have been times when a detail couldn't be checked because it was not known that it *needed* to be checked -- or I thought I had. (see previous post).

02/16/2013 10:45:43 AM · #12
I have to wonder if SM has customer service reps......

I have to wonder if when a customer is downgrading from what's available to his/her own customers, these reps can assist this customer in making intelligent choices on managing the account....

I have to wonder that if neither of these questions occurred to said customer whether a leap to:

WOW WOW WOW! Smugmug DISASTER ALERT.

So now that they have all these different account options and changes, they're screwing over business owners. Here's how...


I wonder if someone said something like that about me without having at least contacted me, if I would be so gracious as to simply post that customer support is, and was, available, instead of just telling them to back down what basically amounts to slander.

I don't know SM, but I do have experience with missing details where I simply did not read all the TOS, or fine print, whatever.......but I don't make it a habit of blaming someone else when I don't.
02/16/2013 10:47:21 AM · #13
Originally posted by EL-ROI:

I've been a smugger for 4 years! Never a problem. Smugmug is mostly a DIY website for personal gallery use and pro accounts. They supply the storage and templates and processees, you do the management! Any savvy business person would have made sure all the details were in place before making the move. Making assumptions about what you believe to be obvious is not good. Nothing can be left up to assumptions. If you don't know for sure, find out!


Originally posted by karmat:

I have spent countless hours checking the details of many things. However, there have been times when a detail couldn't be checked because it was not known that it *needed* to be checked -- or I thought I had. (see previous post).

Are their support personnel lacking? Is there any reason to think that the people who own/manage/run/maintain the website might not freely help with your account, especially in the hopes that you'll continue to utilize their services?
02/16/2013 11:07:37 AM · #14
I'm only chiming in because I found this bit interesting:

Originally posted by SmugMugSupportHero:

Notifying photographers of orders placed is something we do only when the order provides a profit for the photographer. We do have quite different policies in regard to protecting a pro brand when it's a business or portfolio level account. However, often on our other accounts, there's not a pro brand to protect.

I take this statement to mean that they only respect your business if you are paying them for pro services. ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' kgeary is still in the business of photography, as far as I know, but his business and brand was compromised simply because he stopped paying for a pro SmugMug account. That's not right, and a company that caters to this niche market knows it.

And then there's the idea that Smug Mug is now making a profit off of ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' kgeary's photography... without even notifying him. These photos were posted as a professional photographer, for sale by a professional photographer, they belong to him, but because his "pro account" on a website is no longer active, Smug Mug is selling his work out the back door without notifying him. I'm sure the explanation is there in the fine print somewhere, but this seems like a massive misstep in a niche market that so vigorously defends copyright and ownership of images.
02/16/2013 11:17:47 AM · #15
Originally posted by kgeary:

Originally posted by docpjv:

It will take much more than blaming others for what seems to me, like your own responsibility. Why should they do the turn off thingy? Is it not your responsibility to run your business and mange your resources.

Let me tell you the other side. I informed Smugmug that, due to my finances and the pending next cancer operation, I will have no choice but to opt out for some time and inquired what will happen to my images on my 'dead' account. The next thing, an email informing me that, compliments of Smugmug, my date has been set one year later. They also said They would prefer it if I concentrate on getting well rather than to worry about paying fees to them for another year. Challenge, how many businesses shows that much PERSONAL CARE to a describer/member?

Where do you think I got the idea of assisting deserving members full membership on DPC? Is it not also true that we should be rather careful at pointing a finger with so many pointing back at us. Not looking for an argument or even a reply, but kgeary, You are the one responsible for your business, you are responsible for managing it and all of those involved in it.


When you go from a Pro Account that has 5 gazillion levels of customization to an account that claims to not allow orders for profit, why would I ever assume that smugmug would still allow all my past clients to access their galleries and order all of my product for free? Why would that make any sense in any business partnership? If you don't see the problem, you're the idiot business owner.


Just one question, the "you and you're" in the last sentence; referring to me? Sorry, one more question; how many levels of customization?! You counted them? Or at least those that may impact on you purpose in life?Sorry, another question; Why would you not assume; you already assumed the opposite side of it? Two observations; You counted the levels of customization or you assumed it. So after interfering with your business plan you did not deem it necessary to count them again? Smugmug gave you the guidlines. You assumed they are not important. Now you assume a diaster alert is in order. Have perhaps asked a few DPCers if the have the same issue, we call it doing a bit of research or did you make an assumption and perhaps jump the gun and dent Smugmug? Nope my friend, that is not in your pants, not an assumption, a fact. Just wondering why you are still with them?

I see the problem, it's just not the way you see it. And because I publicly portray my ignorance by seeing a result, not a problem, the result of someone assuming left but not right and without thinking who the real problem was caused by and that sounds like already sorted out problem, well then maybe I am the idiot.
02/16/2013 11:24:40 AM · #16
Originally posted by bohemka:

I'm only chiming in because I found this bit interesting:

Originally posted by SmugMugSupportHero:

Notifying photographers of orders placed is something we do only when the order provides a profit for the photographer. We do have quite different policies in regard to protecting a pro brand when it's a business or portfolio level account. However, often on our other accounts, there's not a pro brand to protect.

I take this statement to mean that they only respect your business if you are paying them for pro services. ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' kgeary is still in the business of photography, as far as I know, but his business and brand was compromised simply because he stopped paying for a pro SmugMug account. That's not right, and a company that caters to this niche market knows it.

And then there's the idea that Smug Mug is now making a profit off of ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' kgeary's photography... without even notifying him. These photos were posted as a professional photographer, for sale by a professional photographer, they belong to him, but because his "pro account" on a website is no longer active, Smug Mug is selling his work out the back door without notifying him. I'm sure the explanation is there in the fine print somewhere, but this seems like a massive misstep in a niche market that so vigorously defends copyright and ownership of images.


bohemka, how sure are we the stole for their own benefit his images? Is an assumption that they profit from his images? Now that would open a real Pandora box. But, I am sure it is not the case. Wonder if someone can put that accusation/line of thinking/interpretation to Smugmug and hear what they say?
02/16/2013 12:35:36 PM · #17
Originally posted by docpjv:


bohemka, how sure are we the stole for their own benefit his images? Is an assumption that they profit from his images? Now that would open a real Pandora box. But, I am sure it is not the case. Wonder if someone can put that accusation/line of thinking/interpretation to Smugmug and hear what they say?

100% sure, Peter. When a print is ordered through Smugmug, they make a profit on providing that print. In this case, because there was no MARKUP, the photographer made no profit. It's in Smugmug's interest to keep churning out as many prints as possible, because they make their profit by selling prints for more than it costs them to make them.

Think of Smugmug as CVS, or some other drugstore: you order prints through them and they make a profit even though they are not the photographer, and regardless of whether or not the individual who took delivery on the prints subsequently sells them for a profit.

For sure they didn't STEAL the images, though. They just make a profit each time they are printed.

The whole thing's a little sloppy, to my way of thinking. If I go to my local CVS and try to print what seem to be professional images, they ask me to prove copyright before they will do it. Smugmug's basically done the opposite here. Put it this way: it would be pretty simple to set the default, in the downgrading process, so that this COULDN'T happen, and allow the photographer to manage the details if he wanted others to have access. That Smugmug does it the other way seems like a poor decision on their part.

Message edited by author 2013-02-16 12:39:04.
02/16/2013 01:31:32 PM · #18
I have no horse in this game, but its seems to me that its a typical business practice to leave certain things the way there are in hopes no one notices them and then backpedal when pressed on it.

Kevin, clearly what happened here is not right and I'd be pressing SM to reimburse you your usual markup fee for their error.

When you downgrade a service you expect the service to be downgraded, you should have to go through and make sure it is downgraded. It was sloppy on their end and they ought to fix it, if for any reason that it doesn't happen to others and the only way that will happen is if they cease to profit of sloppy code.

in any case, im sure the many smugmug users here are happy you caught this glitch and brought it too their attention.

Message edited by author 2013-02-16 13:32:17.
02/16/2013 03:55:57 PM · #19
When they raised their rates recently, I also stepped down a notch on their service tier instead of paying more.

Thank you for the Printing warning. I've now turned off print ordering for all of my galleries.

They've lost money from me because of their wish to make more money on their services.

I'm not complaining. It's my life and my account and they are certainly within their rights to raise their prices.

I do wish they had made it clear in the email that they sent out, what the changes would be.

02/16/2013 04:33:56 PM · #20
Originally posted by kgeary:

If you don't see the problem, you're the idiot business owner.


Pretty messed up man, I re-read his post a few times and didn't see anywhere he called you an idiot. Maybe the account got screwed up because all your shots were blown out.
02/16/2013 06:13:17 PM · #21
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by EL-ROI:

I've been a smugger for 4 years! Never a problem. Smugmug is mostly a DIY website for personal gallery use and pro accounts. They supply the storage and templates and processees, you do the management! Any savvy business person would have made sure all the details were in place before making the move. Making assumptions about what you believe to be obvious is not good. Nothing can be left up to assumptions. If you don't know for sure, find out!


Originally posted by karmat:

I have spent countless hours checking the details of many things. However, there have been times when a detail couldn't be checked because it was not known that it *needed* to be checked -- or I thought I had. (see previous post).

Are their support personnel lacking? Is there any reason to think that the people who own/manage/run/maintain the website might not freely help with your account, especially in the hopes that you'll continue to utilize their services?


yes, I have asked questions on several different occasions. A couple of times, they were helpful and pointed me to a page (blog, dgrin, account settings) that I couldn't find. Most of the time though, I either get no answer or, a response that basically seems to be that I am not a big enough pro to really need an answer and if I can't find it hidden on their site then I must not need it bad enough.

What it boils down to is this -- I have been a SM "pro" for almost 5 years. In that 5 years, I have had a level of service that went from "I-would-never-even-consider-anyone-else" (and you can find forum posts on this here site saying as much) to "Yea-it-might-be-worth-looking-into-but-too-much-trouble-to-switch" to my current state of "It's-time-to-seriously-consider-switching."

Trust me when I say I don't *want* to switch -- it is going to be a major pain in the posterior, but I find myself getting aggravated more and more and more and it has reached that point where it seems to be better to move rather than keep being aggravated
02/16/2013 06:15:03 PM · #22
Uhm... Did a keyword search on smugmug help - "Downgrade account" Didn't even get to finish the entire two keywords before the first link in the pop down menu from the search bar led me right to the info I would have needed.

//help.smugmug.com/customer/portal/articles/91812-how-do-i-downgrade-my-account-

Originally posted by smugmug help site:

We also suggest:
If you had priced photos for sale, you may want to disable printing in your galleries because your existing Pricelists will be deleted. Block Printing to prevent at-cost sales.


It can't be more helpful!! The links lead you right to the info that shows you how to do it in your control panel.

I'm sorry but there is no reason to blast smugmug for this... It's not very professional to do so. As a digital business in this social media business age, it must be remembered that everything posted on the internet leaves a footprint that reflects on the business brand. Keeping a level head in a difficult situation is something that reflects well on a business...
02/16/2013 09:47:56 PM · #23
Originally posted by EL-ROI:

Uhm... Did a keyword search on smugmug help - "Downgrade account" Didn't even get to finish the entire two keywords before the first link in the pop down menu from the search bar led me right to the info I would have needed.

//help.smugmug.com/customer/portal/articles/91812-how-do-i-downgrade-my-account-

Originally posted by smugmug help site:

We also suggest:
If you had priced photos for sale, you may want to disable printing in your galleries because your existing Pricelists will be deleted. Block Printing to prevent at-cost sales.


It can't be more helpful!! The links lead you right to the info that shows you how to do it in your control panel.

I'm sorry but there is no reason to blast smugmug for this... It's not very professional to do so. As a digital business in this social media business age, it must be remembered that everything posted on the internet leaves a footprint that reflects on the business brand. Keeping a level head in a difficult situation is something that reflects well on a business...


No what you did is stating FACTS; not opinions and not feelings. And in a very professional way you educated some on taking time to read the BIG print.

And Yes, smardaz, I really do not appreciate being called a "business idiot owner". Pretty lame, and very unprofessional I would think. Thanks for your seeing it.
02/18/2013 08:03:53 PM · #24
Hi Kevin,

I sincerely apologize that this has upset you. I have responded multiple times to your post in the dgrin forum, as well as sent you a PM and an email on February 15th in hopes of rectifying this situation. I have yet to receive a response.

All SmugMug Galleries, at all SmugMug account levels are created with the Shopping Cart feature turned on. This can be changed by utilizing the Quick Settings.

"URL Had To Be Removed per dpchallenge guidelines for new users"


For Basic and Pro accounts, this feature is meant to allow the photographer the ability to give the clients the option of ordering prints, even if there is no profit margin. This is a feature that most Basic and Power users love, as providing a way for their clients to purchase prints does enhance their business, even if they are not making a profit.

This feature is noted in the plan comparison.

"URL Had To Be Removed per dpchallenge guidelines for new users"


When you downgrade your account, we keep all settings intact. Of course, this includes having the shopping cart enabled, so your clients can still purchase prints if they wish. If you would like to disable this, it is easy to do on all of your galleries at once with just a couple simple clicks. You can read more about that at:

"URL Had To Be Removed per dpchallenge guidelines for new users"

I do sincerely apologize this behavior is not what you expected. We simply kept your gallery settings intact during your plan change, and the shopping cart setting is available on all SmugMug plans.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Michael Bonocore
SmugMug Community Manager

Message edited by author 2013-02-18 20:04:34.
02/19/2013 07:05:39 AM · #25
I LUV Smugmug. Decent bunch.
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