Photo.net Sold !

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by db1, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. db1

    db1

    http://www.stockphototalk.com/the_stock_photo_industry_/2007/10/photonet.html
     
  2. Great. Does anyone know what might change as a result?
     
  3. Will look forward towards more news.
     
  4. Photo.net has been acquired by NameMedia, Inc (www.namemedia.com). NameMedia is located in Waltham, MA and specializes in developing and managing large enthusiast community web sites. They currently operates a number of these community sites, including Davesgarden.com which is the largest and most active gardening community on the web. To be honest though, the only one of their websites that I was very familiar with when I first learned about them was geek.com, a leading tech-nerd gadget site. Davesgardens was a website much like photo.net that was created and built mostly by one person, and that grew to be a leader in it's topic area. I don't think you would find members of davesgardens.com expressing the opinion that the NameMedia purchase changed their site significanty.
    <P>
    The acquisition happened this past spring and is now being announced. I have enjoyed working with the folks at NameMedia during this period. They are good people and I am excited about the new opportunities that will emerge through their connection with photo.net. NameMedia is committed to preserving the things that have made photo.net a valued resource for photographers over the past 15 years. I have had an opportunity to witness this commitment over the past few months and believe it to be genuine. Most importantly, from my standpoint, is that the acquisition will give us the resources to tackle many of the functional improvements that the community has been requesting over the past few years.
    <P>
    As we all know, Photo.net's success has been the direct result of the tireless work by the team of moderators, editors, writers, and programmers that maintain and enhance the site. NameMedia recognizes this and has not changed the team of people working on the site, they are only adding more depth and resources.
    <P>
    If you're wondering what major modifications to expect, there won't be many. Photo.net will continue to be the best community on the web for serious photographers to share, learn, and grow in their craft. Over the coming months, new features will be added to the site, but all of those improvements will be aimed at the continued fulfillment of (or redirection towards) the site's photography education and community mission. In the near future, we will be launching a newsletter and blog to share items of interest with photo.net and to help keep the community better informed of new developments.
    <P>
    So, while there are some (in my opinion, overdue) improvements on the horizon, for the most part it will be business as usual at photo.net.
     
  5. Their forums already redirects visitors to the photo.net.
     
  6. This shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone that has been here long. Many suspected that Philip Greenspun's return here last year was solely motivated by, and a precursor to, this very outcome.
     
  7. Michael,

    It was that and the way the previous manager was mismanaging photo.net's resources. Josh & Co. seem to have done an excellent job of righting the ship.
     
  8. "Josh & Co. seem to have done an excellent job of righting the ship."
    Agreed. Credit where credit is due! :)
     
  9. Thanks guys. We're working hard.

    I've been here nine years now, I have no interest in seeing photo.net turn into something else. We are just going to use this opportunity to take advantage of some resources that we didn't have access to before.
     
  10. Being in Waltham, does NameMedia have anything to do with the former Kodak imaging division there?

    Ron Mowrey
     
  11. Rowland,

    I do not believe so. I think that is just a coincidence. I've been to the offices and haven't seen any surplus yellow office furniture.
     
  12. From the article:

    "The Photo.net gallery boasts more than 2.5 million high quality user-uploaded images."

    Hmm, they most have looked on a day when the 3/3 bots weren't running wild. :)

    Here's hoping the sale will speed along improvements we'd all like to see here at Photo.Net.
     
  13. I appreciate Photo.net, and I hope things won't change much as you say. However, to be honest, I won't count my blessings until I hear the other shoe fall. This often takes awhile as new owners implement new policies and rules. My only immediate advice is, if it hasn't been done already, to have a faq on the acquistion and plans, so people if they want to opt out, meaning transfer their images, they can, because that, and the forum, are my interests. I say this because the press release I read doesn't sound that hopeful to me as photography.com looks to much like a ad space with some photography filler, and if the goal would be to merge the two Websites, it doesn't look good. The two are far different. Damn, I just renewed my dues too.
     
  14. It is important to remember that the press release was not aimed at photo.net members. It was aimed at news organizations, investors, and business media outlets.
    The press release makes it sound like photo.net is being added or merged somehow into the photography.com system. And that is absolutely not the case.
    Photo.net is the far more important of the two sites in NameMedia's eyes. Photography.com is not the example of what photo.net is to become, it is much more accurate to say that photography.com needs to be more like photo.net.
    As for leaving the site, just as it has always been, users are free to remove their images at any time and mark their account as deleted. As per the Terms of Use, site submissions (forum posts, critiques, ratings, etc) stay on the site as part of our mission to create a lasting database of photographic knowledge. While you cannot remove these contributions, I am happy to help you change your display name if you wish to distance yourself from the account you created here. Just contact me via the "contact photo.net" form below.
    Subscribers will get everything they were told they would when they subscribed. In fact, if I were a betting man, I would wager that in a few months, the subscriber benefits package will have become significantly more valuable due to the new programming and marketing resources that Namemedia has given us.
     
  15. Thanks for all this information. This sounds like great news for the site and more importantly to those overworked souls that run this place. Congratulations seem to be in order.
     
  16. Josh, now just so you know. Changing your name will help people on PN not know your name but when you google search yourself you still find yourself right back here at PN.

    I am still findable with my real name.

    Does that happen with everyone. If your name (Josh) were really Pierre Toor would we find you here?

    Just curious. Because I google myself and bam here I am still. (sigh)

    At least PN people can't google me to find me. LOL

    Not that I really want to be "not" googled but I think you understand since we talked about why I need to not be found so easily.
     
  17. Photo.net can't do anything about cached pages on Google or other search engines.

    Your identity here is actually your user ID number. If different names point to the same user ID number, then it's possible that searches on both names could take you to the same place.

    There's possibly away around this, but it would only be used in extraordinary cicumstances. That would be up to Josh.
     
  18. Eventually google will re-crawl the page and update the search results. But it does not happen instantly. I'm not sure what the timeframe is, but given anecdotal evidence, I would say that within a few weeks it is likely that you will stop seeing photo.net results for a search of your old name.
     
  19. It seems a bit odd though that we first learn about the acquisition from a press release through outside sources not from an "official" announcement within photo.net. Once I learned about this I personally immediately looked if I could find any info on the transaction here at this site but did not find it. Naturally I first looked at the "front page" where this should be placed.

    If this site is so valuable by the contributions from its members (as it appears in the press release) the members should be the first to know. Well at least the first after the people who get the money.
    By the way - who gets the money? Is it shared between PG and the members?

    The investors must be very idealistic people if they spend a lot of money on this site without control and no change (at least that is the impression I get from this thread) and no income. For the even more idealistic members it should be in order to give a little bit of background information about the financial motives and the money flow from this site. In other words why should any member pay to be able to contribute to this site if large sums of money flow because of the wealth of contributions. Hmm..
     
  20. I think its pretty lame that Photo.net requests volunteers to build stuff when it has been sold off since March and did not announce to their members. I think its pretty indicative of Photo.net management.

    As stated in other site's discussion groups the most valuable part of Photo.net is the domain name, the software is antiquated. The forums for the most are not that great and content on this site is very outdated.

    Call name media for what it is. It is a domain name squatter, just going to their web site reveals that.

    "As the owner of one of the largest portfolios of domain names, NameMedia is focused on acquiring, developing and selling digital real estate.?"

    They are just trying make the name more marketable and get a higher Google rank and probably sell it off to some other large company.

    That's probably why there is really no real new content on this site. Just some superficial changes to the look and feel.

    The press release is so other companies will get notice and hopefully will get offers.
     
  21. Thanks for the additional information. I don't see photo.net changing much, but I will still
    reserve final judgement for awhile. Large Internet companies buy smaller or speciality
    ones for specific reasons, such as content - which there is plenty in member images, users
    - lots of serious and professional photographers and a potential new market for ads and
    revenues, company resources - ya'll and the many volunteers, and technology - why
    Google bought dejanews and Yahoo bought e-group. None of the original smaller
    companies remained the same in the look, feel, operation and management.

    Do I expect the same here? Well, if photography.com now has the forums here, that adds
    those members adding to photo.net, or maybe?, added to a merged structure, eg. Google,
    Yahoo, etc. I can live with it, although it will likely change the tone and tune of the forums
    from the new members, which I occasionally hear has be degraded with the many, like me,
    less than professional or commercial photographers. Is photo.net ready for the number of
    casual photographers?

    I can live with it. My only concern will be the change in the image hosting and
    presentation on photo.net. I personally like the current system or some improved one. I
    just don't like the more commercial ones where there are more ads than images But it
    pays to keeps one's options open to alternatives and possibility if things don't go as
    thought or planned. I really hope it's just the infusion of resources to enchance photo.net.

    That's my hope, anyway. And, for now, I'll raise a microbrew to the new photo.net.
     
  22. Thanks Josh, I saw Yahoo was only pulling up a few things but not google. Not in an extreme hurry but was just wondering. As you know my concern was with both people here at PN being able to go out knowing my name as well as people finding me here. I'm willing to wait Google out. :)

    ~ micki
     
  23. I can hardly wait for the "FLASHING ADS". GRIN. Regards.
     
  24. Walter,

    Regarding the terms of the deal. NameMedia Inc bought photo.net from Luminal Path Inc. If the prinicpals in this do not wish to share information as to what was paid and to whom, then that information will probably not be public. We will just have to chalk it up to the typical business deal line "Terms of the agreement were not disclosed".

    As to why you are "learning about it here" rather than in some grand announcement. The press release went out just a few hours earlier than this thread was started. I had spent the morning announcing and discussing the news with the moderating crew (who truely were the ones who deserved to know first). After david b saw the press release and made this thread, I didn't bother to stomp all over his sharp eyes to make a new post of my own. I just replied to this one.
     
  25. Sam,

    Namemedia has two distinct divisions. As you point out (and is hardly a secret) domain "real estate" is one of those. A bunch of good people work in that area of the company, but to be honest, I don't ever deal with them much. I more frequently deal withe the people from Namemedia's other division, which is made up of websites like geek.com, davesgardens.com, tarot.com and now photo.net. There are a number of these large "enthusiast" websites with active communities and interesting information. Given the work that goes into producing these websites, I highly doubt that Namemedia is just building them up to get rid of them.

    It is fair for users to question what will happen to photo.net in the future. But really, only time will tell. I fully believe that this is a positive step for photo.net. I think that Namemedia's experience with other sites in similar situations proves this. And I am not at all worried about the new ownership going forward. On the contrary, this move has given me a chance to work on the problems that everyone has been complaining about. It would have been nice if the timing could have coincided with a few of those projects being completed. That way I could have said "Hey, look what we were able to do because of this". But why should my job start to get easier now?
     
  26. WJT

    WJT Moderator

    Does anyone know if there will be significant changes in the staffing of PhotoNet? In particular, will Dr. Greenspun remain the EIC or will Namemedia replace him? Regards.
     
  27. There are no changes in staffing planned, aside from gaining access to the programming and developmental resources I have mentioned.

    Philip is still the Editor in Chief. He is currently working on a expanded review of the Canon D40, I believe a travel guide to Turkey, and probably some other stuff I don't know about.
     
  28. i am not someome who resists change or sees change as a bad thing. i for one like the fact that once the takeover is complete, we the subscribers can take our grievances to another body in principle who would rule over the mods. photo.net had been run in a dictatorial way over many issues. some of the mod comments above about those not liking the changes can leave is a crude example of my point!
    whatever had been promised to the existing staff, knowing a little bit about internet business i realise that there would be changes in the long run and this is bound to lead to greater democratisation. trust me, once something is owned by a business, they are unlikely to let members go unhappy. so i would say that it is a good move for the ordinary member.
     
  29. Folks who complain that there is not enough new content... I'm typing as fast as I can! If you want to write an article for the site, send me an outline. Maybe I can get NameMedia to reach into its pockets and pay $500 for it.

    The fact that the software upgrade is still not in place is very painful to me. I'm hoping that we can push through that one pretty soon (we actually ordered all new hardware for the site before the NameMedia deal).

    Anyway, bad as you guys might think I was at writing articles or getting the software upgrade out, I was even worse at selling ads for real $$. The site was burdened with a lot of debt from a period in 2000 when some entrepreneurial types tried to make it into a profitable business. So I either had to get good at selling ads or had to work with a company such as NameMedia that was already good at selling ads.

    To me the issue of ownership isn't very relevant. The real question is what can we do to make the site the most effective and efficient way for people to learn about photography.
     
  30. some of the mod comments above about those not liking the changes can leave is a crude example of my point!
    What comments are you referring to? The only comment I see about leaving is Josh's explanation that, if someone chooses to leave, they are free to remove their images, but their forum contributions will remain (which is the same policy that has existed for years).
     
  31. Philip. you must know from your ArsDigita experience that the issue of ownership is not only
    relevant is is directly relevant to the the 'real question' as you put it. To you and the users
    here the real question may be what you describe, but new owners bring their own goals,
    desires and profit motives to the table. This alone is reason to be nervous about the
    intentions of someone paying good money (I presume) for photo.net.

    As far as the complaints about the system, I still think these forums are the most sensible,
    easy to use, forums around--the software may not be new but it still works just fine. ( I am
    anxious to see what the upgrade hold, though)
     
  32. It's funny what little nuggets come to light when a process like this is announced. For instance, that the site's new owners also own a site called tarot.com. Now maybe they don't care what content they host but this stuff is weird and unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs. I don't know whether there is any intention to have exchange advertising between the NameMedia sites, but if tarot reading ads start appearing here, I'll be gone.
     
  33. The site was burdened with a lot of debt from a period in 2000 when some entrepreneurial types tried to make it into a profitable business.
    So I guess the piles of moolah Lisa & Rajeev promised me aren't forthcoming? There goes the retirement. :)
    Henry
     
  34. Anyway, bad as you guys might think I was at writing articles or getting the software upgrade out, I was even worse at selling ads for real $$. A screenshot of this page: http://www.photo.net/from-the-editor/ How can photo.net make money if I got the answer right?
    00N0CI-39210684.jpg
     
  35. Ugh!

    You should not be seeing those "pick the animal" ads. Thanks for bring them to our attention. I'll make sure we block them.
     
  36. Thanks Josh. One more question, if I renew my membership (still waiting for the new features), when the new "contract" will start? Do I have to pay the debt since it expired?
     
  37. No, it should just start from the day that you subscribe again.
     
  38. Photo.net rules!
     
  39. Josh- whilst agreeing with others that this may not be a bad thing, but a very good thing, I will point out your comment at page top - the FIRST comment anyone who is a user/subscriber has likely seen about this issue.

    Quote: "As we all know, Photo.net's success has been the direct result of the tireless work by the team of moderators, editors, writers, and programmers that maintain and enhance the site."

    With respect Josh all I can say to that sir is - Bollocks!

    Whilst it has had a huge amount of work done by these folks whom you rightly mention (and I applaud their stellar efforts too, and thank them graciously), it has also been the tireless work of unmentioned thousands of participants who have freely shared their time, experience, professional expertise, photographs and humour to make this site what it is.

    Drawing a distinction between 'you' and 'us' in anything that calls itself 'a community' is a dangerous line to tread. There are several people I could name (and a few of whom appear in this very thread but I'll spare them the red faces - we all know who they are) who have given huge amounts of their time and knowledge with humility and good grace over many years. Pnet would do well to remember that and give credit where it's due, across the board.

    With respect - you ignore these folks in your fulsome praise at your peril!

    Read this in the spirit it is intended please? And best of luck with the new regime! :)
     
  40. I am delighted to hear that PN's former controlling owners are no longer saddled with burdensome debt. I will sleep easier tonight and in the days ahead. Since the terms of the sale will not be disclosed publicly (fair enough), members should be aware of how deals like this often come down. Founding owners run with a good idea. They make personal loans to the company during its start-up phase. For the "personal" risk they are taking, they receive significant stock bonuses or attractively priced stock options (all properly dated, of course!). A buyer comes along and agrees to a purchase the start-up at a price that retires the company's loans to the founders and also acquires some or all of the original owners' stock at a handsome price; stock which cost the owners little or nothing. So, do not grieve too much for PG. Those two white dogs are set for life as well as their next 9 reincarnations.

    Outside of being the object of a few little deceits, the membership will probably be better off in the long run although you can rest assured that the camaraderie that existed here will continue to diminish.

    The three deceits that bother me the most are (1) It is now clear that the problems with implementing the new software are significantly more serious than the "server gone awry" explanation we received at the time the implementation was aborted. We still don't know just how serious the problems are nor do we have a target implementation date. Could it be that the system has become so massive and complex that it is not possible to convert to a new platform? Just idle speculation from someone who knows little about these matters. (2) As someone else mentioned, I agree that the recruitment of volunteer labor from the members to help the site make its Great Leap Forward after this deal had been consummated was, at a minimum, deceptive. (3) The evasiveness that seems to greet us at every turn regarding the frequency, the type and number of ads served to us.

    Despite the little screwings we members have received along the way, be assured they were nowhere near as severe as those administered by Bill Gates and Steve Jobs during their races to the top of the heap.

    Finally, as others have also pointed out, I think PN needs to be a lot more upfront and definitive about which posters in these forums are employees of PN and whether they are paid employees, volunteers or indentured slaves. I think that there should be a link to a page that gives the names of employees and their responsibilities within the organization. Likewise, anytime they post, they should be clearly identified as employees. I was unaware that Pierre was associated with PN until a few days before he left. Likewise, Mary Ball helped me with a couple of administrative matters when I first joined but I have seen little, perhaps nothing, about her in recent months.

    As we move ahead, my biggest hope is that management, new and old, doesn't treat us like the dummies that our photography might make us appear to be!
     
  41. Everybody who contributes to this site and everybody who benefits from this site by getting the right answers might find it interesting to browse through the web pages of the new owner, especially the business section:
    http://namemedia.com/?p=12

    After reading these pages you might just like me wonder why we discuss this topic here in the "Community > Forums > Casual Conversations >" section and not in a special thread advertised as THE main topic on the front page where this clearly belongs.
    As I said above it should have been posted one day ahead of the press release or at least at the very same minute. Just how long does it take to open up a new thread with a headline ? "We are sold"? Does it take a long time?

    Let me quote:
    "The acquisition happened this past spring and is now being announced. I have enjoyed working with the folks at NameMedia during this period."

    Again ? how long does it take to inform your contributors? Several month to put up a thread?

    Are the contributors important for you? Would this be a site worth visiting with empty pages?

    I am happy to use the forum where I both contribute and get valuable information from. I know the moderator in person and know he does the best he can to keep the forum running at an excellent style. I cannot say I feel the same way about photo.net. As a previous poster said: I feel treated like a dummy. The management should apologize for this secrecy instead of coming up with lame dumb folding bla bla.

    Best regards.
    Walter
     
  42. "Finally, as others have also pointed out, I think PN needs to be a lot more upfront and definitive about which posters in these forums are employees of PN and whether they are paid employees, volunteers or indentured slaves." Say's GungaJim Downs from DENVER (oh I love Denver)

    So Josh, is NOW a good time to say HEY can we change those little GLOBES to make sure we know the difference between those paid people and those moderators that are not paid. When we have a "volunteer" out their doing good I would LOVE to give themm praise. I would ALSO like to get a chance to know if a moderator is NOT an employee so I can quickly send a message to you if they are acting a bit "off topic" themselves and making a bad name for the new owner of PN. :)

    Thanks ~ micki
     
  43. If you click the "About Us" link (located at the bottom of every page), it gives a list of the administrators and forum moderators. As far as I know, the people who are solely moderators (who are not also administrative staff) are all unpaid volunteers. Note that moderators are free to express their opinions and share their knowledge in the forums. If you think a moderator (or anyone else) is violating the site's Terms of Use, you're free to report it to abuse@photo.net, but keep in mind that saying something you don't like doesn't necessarily constitute abuse.
     
  44. Mike, I know who are full time staff at PN but I did not realize that the moderators were not paid a small amount for their efforts. I also know that there is no difference between full time staff icons (ie: GLOBES that are on your little name). When on another forum question it was very clear that many of us went WOW you all look the same but yet you are very different. PAID vs just being moderators. I, myself have no problem with opinions of the moderators, in fact I personally like it when they give me their opinions, but I think that I think that moderators are here to oversee sometimes and let the forum questions go just the way they should go and not bash (or cause conflict) and YES I have seen them do that in the forums. When I see your little pen I know you just have knowledge and have been here on the forums a while. I have respect for you. Those different Icons do have a great deal of meaning to me. All I am asking for is a change in those icons so that we know who is a paid person at PN. Again, with this change in ownership I think now is a good time to make this small change.

    Not trying to stir anything up. It is just one of those things that when I finally realized it (or several of us realized it) we understood that it was something alot of people really didn't know. The moderators are not PN employees.
     
  45. I also know that there is no difference between full time staff icons (ie: GLOBES that are on your little name).
    The globe icon doesn't indicate that someone is a moderator, administrator, or other staff member--it merely indicates they've made some kind of contribution to photo.net. If you click on the globe icon, it gives an explanation. And the little pen doesn't mean that I actually have any knowledge--it just means I've spent to much time posting to photo.net. ; )
     
  46. Mike, HA

    Your absolutely right.

    I'm just glad I didn't say old! LOL

    oh my, I should have said prolific and a hero. Truthfully sometimes you guys are my heros. I would need a dunce hat beside my name half the time because I ask silly questions.

    This is all the reason more for those PN guys (paid) to have maybe a STAR by their name. Mike, thanks for being a hero ;)
     
  47. And, oddly enough, I just received the very first issue of a brand new "photo.net monthly newsletter" in my email, and it didn't mention this "news".

    It actually didn't mention any "news", at all. How do I turn it off. I can't find anything about changing it on my photo.net profile. There's some horrible unsubscribe link at the bottom of the "newsletter", but that looks like the typical spammer "opt out", where clicking on it triples your spam.

    http://links.mkt691.com/ui/modules/display/optOut... (it goes on for a while, with cattle tracking codes).
     
  48. I would never click on a link like that - gives me the creeps^^
    Must be a trojan.
     
  49. Joseph,

    The opt out link on the newsletter is the way to keep it from coming into your inbox.

    We have to use a mailing company to handle such a large amount of email without the photo.net servers being tagged as spam. This would be particularly bad since it would end up with all communication from photo.net being blocked. Causing users to miss out on notifications and other legitimate email.

    I hope that in the near future there will be a link that allows the newsletter to be enabled/disabled from the "my workspace" area. It is something that I am working on getting created.
     
  50. Micki,

    The icon situation is being worked on. Look for it to change in the next few weeks.
     
  51. Josh can you try and get an domain name for that link we are familiar with? I definitively do not click on something I can not follow that has nothing in common with the domain it is supposed to come from.
     
    • "As we all know, Photo.net's success has been the direct result of the tireless work by the team of moderators, editors, writers, and programmers that maintain and enhance the site. NameMedia recognizes this and has not changed the team of people working on the site, they are only adding more depth and resources."
      In regards to my statement above, the point was only to highlight that NameMedia was not coming in here and removing all the people who have worked on the admin side to make photo.net what it is. Mentioning the users wouldn't have made sense, as there would be little concern that NameMedia is going to come in and get rid of all the users.
      Yes, the users are a huge part of what has made the site the resource that it is. What is a community based site without the community? I do my best to make things as clear as possible, but I do not always succeed. I was just trying to pass on information, not to insult anyone.
      • "It is now clear that the problems with implementing the new software are significantly more serious than the "server gone awry" explanation we received at the time the implementation was aborted."
        No, that is the real problem. We had a hard drive failure that screwed everything up. We are also in the middle of physically moving the servers from the co-location site that Luminal Path used to NameMedia's own server location. Since that was going to be a delay anyway, Jin has been using the time to run further tests and make sure that there aren't any other problems waiting in the weeds.
        Believe me, nobody wants this upgrade to get done more than I do. I have probably 50 projects that are waiting for programmer time so they can be started. And virtually all of them have to do with improving site features and performance.
        • "As someone else mentioned, I agree that the recruitment of volunteer labor from the members to help the site make its Great Leap Forward after this deal had been consummated was, at a minimum, deceptive."
          Given that virtually all of the forum moderators and volunteers have been here for five or more years, I'm not sure what "recruitment" you are referring to. There was always the possibility that photo.net could get sold, that is the way of companies.
          • "The evasiveness that seems to greet us at every turn regarding the frequency, the type and number of ads served to us."
            I don't think that I can be accused of being "evasive" regarding the advertising. We have had some mistakes with an ad-serving company that have been annoying. But I haven't been anything but open about the problems and actively asked people to contact me with questions or issues they have been having.
            • "Again ? how long does it take to inform your contributors? Several month to put up a thread?"
              the fact of the matter is that with any large company, there are business reasons that dictate why announcements can or cannot be made. If I could have told people any earlier, I would have. The only option was to state the situation the way that it happened, or to lie and say that it had just happened 24 hours earlier. I didn't really think that lying was the way to go.
     
  52. "Josh can you try and get an domain name for that link we are familiar with? I definitively do not click on something I can not follow that has nothing in common with the domain it is supposed to come from."
    Walter, I predicted that this would be a problem, but the newsletter mailing company really likes to have it's own formatted links in there so that it can gather information on how many people are unsubscribing. I think they also like to not have to worry that programmers from a specific website will screw up on unsubscription implementation and that it will come back to haunt them with anti-spam litigation of some sort.
    In any case, the short answer is that I am going to try and get a "http://www.photo.net" link in there for unsubscribing. At the very least, I am going to get it set up so that you can unsubscribe from the my workspace area.
     
  53. Josh, thank you! I am now done talking about it as I will only say your quote. "The icon situation is being worked on. Look for it to change in the next few weeks." AND your Icon will be... :)
     
  54. My icon will be a little frowning devil head that says "I am the evil photo.net! My goal is to lie to the users, cheat on the ratings, and steal the images!"
     
  55. LOL ~ no it will be a heart with an arrow going through it. &hearts;
    <BR><BR><BR>

    You have always come back to me with a solution that works for all of us and had an open ear. That is why I like you (personal opinion). Consider the heart.
     
  56. The newsletter company that Josh is refering to is an email marketer called Silverpop. The email marketers use a throw away domain like mkt691.com in case email filters filter them out.

    http://www.silverpop.com/about/clients.html

    From their website.

    "With Silverpop?s extensive and detailed tracking and reporting services, Golden Key now knows not only which members are receiving its emails, but also if they?re opening them, and if so, which links they are clicking. Anbari explains that ?solving the deliverability challenge alone was not enough. We have used Silverpop?s reporting to tell us what our members were actually viewing, which has helped us refine our messages to meet our customer?s needs.?

    So there you go.

    See for yourself, when you mouse over each link in the email you will see an address links.mkt691.com/XXXXX=YYYYYY, that's how they track links. They even hash the email address so you don't know that they are communicating your email address back to them. Pretty clever,

    Also the terms of service state that photo.net does not sell information to third parties but since their parent company is a large search optimization firm, well you get the idea.

    It's not really unethical but Josh is not being honest when he describes the company as a company that sends out newsletters.
     
  57. "See for yourself, when you mouse over each link in the email you will see an address links.mkt691.com/XXXXX=YYYYYY, that's how they track links. They even hash the email address so you don't know that they are communicating your email address back to them. Pretty clever,"

    Hmm ..... I can't see that address Sam .... must be just your computer and not mine.... or something. Interesting. Regards.
     
  58. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    t Josh is not being honest when he describes the company as a company that sends out newsletters.
    That's all they do. They do it for US Air, HP, MOMA, etc. Your effort to portray them as something other than that is baseless.
     
  59. In all fairness Jeff and Josh are correct about this. Silverpop has a good name in the business. The kind of tracking Sam is talking about is normal and it allows the senders of newsletters to see how many of the recipients receive them and read them. I don't think there is anything too nefarious about that. Silverpop also has a decent (and surprisingly readable) privacy policy with language like this:
    Silverpop does not retain email address information after our users [such as photo.net] delete from our servers. Silverpop does not monitor or limit our users from creating email messages. We do, however, quickly and fervently respond to notification of violations or abuses of Silverpop Terms of Service, including failure to honor opt-outs.
    Personally, I think it would have been preferable to have an opt-in email newsletter, but so long as all the parties are trustworthy and responsive to opt-out requests it's not so bad.
     
  60. Chuckle ... chuckle .... my newsletter just arrived ..... and like any email with an attachment ..... adios amigos. Trustworthy. Is that a word anymore. Regards.
     
  61. "That's all they do. They do it for US Air, HP, MOMA, etc. Your effort to portray them as something other than that is baseless."

    They are a marketing firm. There is nothing wrong with that.

    I already know that they do it for US Air and others which is the reason why I chose Golden Key as my example as it is a non profit.
     
  62. I got the newsletter with sender photo.net.

    Thats better than an unknown sender (even though a sender name can be forged).
     
  63. Josh - Sorry, but as I mentioned before, those "opt-out" links are the devil's work. But you're wrong about farming out your spam being an effective way to keep photo.net from getting blacklisted. When people report spam, the blacklisting organizations also look at who hired the spam company. Check some of the blacklists, bet you're appearing already.

    "...now knows not only which members are receiving its emails, but also if they?re opening them..."

    Oh, they won't know that about me, because I block all remote images in email, even the 1 pixel image they use to detect if I'm opening the newsletter.

    I've "opted" for a more conventional solution. I didn't go out of my way to get photo.net blacklisted (I'll let others do that, there will be many of them). I just picked a few good keywords and should have it pretty effectively filtered.
     
  64. Joseph,

    We're not looking to force anyone to receive the newsletter. If you don't want to see it, we'll do our best to make sure that doesn't happen. There is very little benefit to us in sending people something they don't want.
     
  65. Josh, you are forcing everyone to receive the newsletter. You cannot opt out before hand.

    I can't show someone porn and then ask them to opt out. The damage is done. Personally I can care less.

    You should put something about newsletters in your terms of service or privacy policy.

    People should read the privacy policy.

    Here is an interesting clause.

    "If photo.net is sold, pledged or disposed of as a going concern whether by merger, sale of assets, bankruptcy or otherwise, the user database of photo.net could be sold as part of that transaction and all User Information accessed by such successor or purchaser."

    This means that if photo.net ever changes ownership, they reserve the right to sell information to a third party. There you go. Also what's surprising is that passwords are kept in the clear.
     
  66. Yes, users received one email, if they tell us that they don't want to see them again, and then they won't get any others. It's pretty simple. We're trying to improve communication, increase visibility for some of the quality work on the site, and help others notice things that they might have missed. I don't see how this can be viewed as some sort of evil plot.

    Here is the official photo.net newsletter announcement. It also discusses some common questions and known issues that we are working on:

    http://www.photo.net/info/newsletter
     
  67. Well, forgive me for being on your side Josh. But, I just spent a few minutes reading the newsletter and I must say I was very impressed. I was over here in my chair pouting because my husband got his newsletter and I didn't. I thought maybe I deleted mine and he was holding his over my head for favors ;)

    I am so glad you posted it so I could see it. Seeing that I am the only girl that talks around here I would like to give you a nice big toss of my hair (tossing it now) and pat on the back. I know you have been working hard to please everyone the last few days (ok me). No there is no plot out there cooking and we all know it. (me smiling)
    It is a GREAT newsletter and I am sitting here just wondering if I'm going to get to talk my hubby into letting me buy that Nikon 300. (still smiling) or will it just be that D80 (ha)

    Great JOB!

    ~ micki
     
  68. ""If photo.net is sold, pledged or disposed of as a going concern whether by merger, sale of assets, bankruptcy or otherwise, the user database of photo.net could be sold as part of that transaction and all User Information accessed by such successor or purchaser."
    The idea that a website's data will go with the website if it is sold is pretty standard. The wording could be better, and I would like it if we had something about "users will be notified....etc" in there. But the fact is that every one of us agreed to the TOU and the Privacy Policy as a condition of using the site. If these terms were an issue to anyone, they should have been addressed before using the site. Not after. This isn't some bait and switch, this specific TOU has been here for over a year. And a close version of it has been around since the site started.
    I agree with you that the "passwords being kept in the clear" issue isn't the greatest. And it is something we are working to update and change. Believe me, I don't like telling people that they cannot answer a "security questions" to access their old account, because we do not have one. I would rather have the password system completely hidden and totally up to the user. But we have an old system and we don't hide that fact.
     
  69. Josh,

    I never said there was an evil plot. You just have to choose your words carefully. You lose credibility when you say they are not forced but clearly it wasn't optional. The reason why it's not opt in is clear, you won't have as many users seeing the newsletter. I understand that.

    You also have to understand that there is nudity in Photo.net which is filtered which may not be proper depending on location. Some countries and workplaces ban the the domain Photo.net and sending a newsletter which may contain nudity to members who do not want to see it during the times when they open up their mail and when you bypass the domain by using mkt691. It's asking for trouble.

    Also it is clear that when an account is marked deleted, it is not deleted, that email records are kept for some reason.

    My argument is not that Silverpop will sell your email address. But Namemedia can and may use personal information among its other properties. In other words if a user clicks on a lot of Garden photography he/she may be sent an invitation for Daves Gardens. I am also not saying that its a good or bad thing. It is what it is.

    Also you have quite of bit of typos on the announcement.
     
  70. The issue of nudity is one that is serious enough that we would not ever send an email or newsletter that included nude photography. Not only is that ethically a bad idea, but it may border on being illegal.

    As for typos, it would be much more helpful for you to send me an email so I can correct them. That is, assuming you were bringing the typos up so that they could be fixed, and not just to try and make me look silly.
     
  71. "Also it is clear that when an account is marked deleted, it is not deleted, that email records are kept for some reason."
    There are logistical/database reasons why something needs to be kept in the "email" field. But the fact of the matter is that anyone who wants to mark their account as "deleted" can change their email to anything they want, delete all of their photos, and even ask me to change their name before doing so. There is no reason that once you leave that we have to have any of your personal data. The only thing that the site requires you to leave is your forum and other text contributions.
    This has always been the requirement at photo.net. Removing posts wholesale leaves large holes in forum threads and critiques. It would take very little of this to render a decade of photography knowledge useless and unreadable.
     
  72. "The issue of nudity is one that is serious enough that we would not ever send an email or newsletter that included nude photography. Not only is that ethically a bad idea, but it may border on being illegal."

    But that is contrary to the position at photo.net that it will not censor photographs and that this site is for adults only. In other words, if I as a photographer was posting mostly nudes I would not get covered in the newsletter.

    These are not my issues. I don't care if Photo.net sends me stuff. I don't really care if they sell my address to spam sites. But I can see why people would care.

    "As for typos, it would be much more helpful for you to send me an email so I can correct them. That is, assuming you were bringing the typos up so that they could be fixed, and not just to try and make me look silly."

    The issue is credibility. Whether or not Photo.net sells info or not, or does anything with its list of email addresses has to be trust in two issues, 1) Do I trust that these people will not lie to me and 2) do I trust that these people to safely guard by information from unauthorized access.

    Typos on announcements show a user that Photo.net is not careful with your announcements. It also shows that if Photo.net is not careful with announcements what else they might not be careful of.

    If I wanted to make you look silly I wouldn't have told you at all.

    Deleting your account is actually a new feature and is a welcome change. I didn't realize that you implemented a self delete feature. Kudos for that.
     
  73. "Typos on announcements show a user that Photo.net is not careful with your announcements. It also shows that if Photo.net is not careful with announcements what else they might not be careful of."
    It is a balance between getting information out to those who need it and being perfect with everything. Obviously my writing is not perfect. But there was confusion about the newsletter and some of the functions relating to Silverpop. I stand behind my decision to release that information.
     
  74. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Sam, maybe you should consider spending your time on a forum with ownership you prefer. It would be infinitely better for everyone, including you, if the complaining was terminated.
     
  75. Jeff, I am not complaining. In fact I posted a defense of Photo.net use of the share this page feature.

    I am pointing out issues which will cause people to leave Photo.net. Anyways since my presence is unwelcome here. I will leave.

    Josh, please change the name of my user name after I delete my account.
     
  76. Sam,

    Would you do me a favor and email me with that request? While I realize that it may seem silly, since you are obviously posting successfully. But in order to change user names, we require members to verify the login and password on the account.
     
  77. Sam I personally prefer to have such topics discussed in an open way. I therefore want to remind you that there is no single internet forum where you will never find someone tell you that you are not welcome. I personally would not want to confuse such statements with a poll or an indication that your presence is not welcome here for more than perhaps just one person- who can tell?

    Anyway have a good time on other places - the internet is large.

    Jeff is your style "infinitely better" than complaining? What I got from Sam's comments was not that he disliked the ownership but the way the change of ownership came about, the way information about this change and the consequent policy was handled and the way information is send back from clients to a commercial company but still talking about photo.net "community". I see a possible discrepancy between a formerly internet "community" and a source of income that deserves clarification. This clarification should be available in the "about us" statement and discussion like this thread.

    Telling someone it would be better for everyone and for him to leave is not a becoming style. How do you know what is better for me?
     
  78. I was not surprised to read about the change of hands here. In fact, there were strong indications, a while ago, there was a drastic change!

    I do not have any problems with change of ownerships either. This has happened to every other organization and will happen to every other new ones.

    No big deal.

    As much as I appreciate the "Newsletter" (and any future email thingies), I do not wish to receive it and I resent the fact that I have to go and say that I don't want it.
     

Share This Page