I received an email from Ofoto with the subject line "Your Ofoto images will be deleted on September 30, 2004". Yeah, that got my attention. According to the email, your account expires if you don't make a purchase every 12 months. At first, I assumed this was some sort of Phishing attack trying to get me to click on their bogus links. (NEVER click!). But I wrote customer service and sure enough, this was a legitimate email. They will delete my photos and pointed to the Terms Of Service (quoted at the bottom).
Fair enough, I can respect that the company wants to monetize its users. It's a nice service and they have every right to enforce such a policy. But it makes me wonder if this is a sound business practice or if it is a short sighted policy. For me, it just means that I'll move my photos to http://photos.yahoo.com/.
Up until right now, I was a fairly active user of Ofoto and often shared my album with others (those who did and didn't have ofoto accounts. It was viral marketing.). And I have made purchases in the past. In fact, my first gift to my wife (just after we first met) was from Ofoto. Given that, I wonder if the cost of storage of my photos is greater than the potential revenue loss of losing me as a user.
If they kept my photos, there's a greater chance I might make a purchase again than if they delete my photos. In that case, I'll certainly never make a purchase. And, I won't be spreading word of their site. Apparently Ofoto feels they can't make any money off of me. That's fine, it's business. See ya Ofoto.
Here's their storage policy if you use Ofoto.
Our storage policy is as follows:
When a new Ofoto member first uploads photos, they get 12 months of free unlimited storage, beginning on the date of that first upload.
When a member makes any Ofoto purchase, their free storage automatically extends for 12 months, beginning on the date of that purchase.
If a member purchases from another member's photos, both people get 12 months of free storage, beginning on the date of that purchase.
If 12 months pass without a purchase, the free storage expires and the stored photos will be removed from Ofoto.
To view our complete Terms of Service, please click the following link: http://www.ofoto.com/TermsOfService.jsp?
Please note that any purchase will extend your storage: That means a single Kodak print, an Ofoto Archive CD, or any of the goodies in the Ofoto Store will keep you in free storage for another 12 months, on a rolling basis.
If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your Ofoto account or the Ofoto service, please let us know.