Thanks for sharing, +Ed White.  Means the world to me right now.  

Funny thing is, our hearts were in the right place.  Every year for the last 7 years, we'd ask ourselves "You know, our margins are thinning.  Cameras are getting bigger, customer demands for engineering and support are getting louder.  Our competitors are charging more than we are.  Shouldn't we raise prices?".  

And every year we'd say "Nah, we'll just tighten our belts a little more and do what's right for our customer.  No price increase." 

I was wrong.  We finally found ourselves with very strong growth and thinning margins, which isn't a place you want to be when you run a business.

We should have raised prices slowly every 2-3 years instead.  Lesson learned.
So, +Dallas Nagata White and I have been watching this whole +SmugMug saga unfold, and I can't help but chuckle at the irony that photographers--a group known for whinging about not being paid what they are worth--aren't willing to give SmugMug the courtesy they so stridently demand for themselves. 

A lot of these photographers are saying that the $100-$150/year price increase will put them out of business, to which I say (because SmugMug can't) "if the price of a monthly trip to Starbucks for a snack and a latte will put you out of business, Smugmug's pricing probably isn't the problem!" 

And most ironic? A lot of these "spurned photographers" are threatening to give their business to Zenfolio, which charges merely $50 less for "the same service," which couldn't hold up to SmugMug's vendors in terms of print quality when Dallas pitted them head-to-head. Seems to me these "professionals" are more concerned about price than value.

I, for one, have actually always felt that SmugMug was somewhat underpriced for the services and value it offered us, and for how it gave us the ability to keep our overhead so low. Not to mention, Dallas probably has hundreds of gigs of photos on there, so we are a prime offender to their bottom line. Additionally, they have always treated us well and been straight with us. To us, they have been an invaluable service that we are always discovering awesome things about. 

In short, I trust SmugMug and their leadership, and if they say they need an extra $100-$150 every year to keep their business healthy and to keep the relationship directly between us and them (instead of investor intermediaries), I believe them, and am happy to skip Starbucks for 12 days in order to help them to continue helping us.
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