If you read the comments of this blog, one might conclude that we are completely insane. By removing open public albums and adding social networking (which requires registration) to the Phanfare system, it may seem like we have angered all our users. But those commenting on this blog do not represent everyone. My blog is read by a small minority of our users, albeit a sophisticated and internet savvy group of people to be sure.
Last week I emailed all our customers and got about 300 replies. I read and answered every one of them. And they were not overwhelmingly negative. In fact, many were quite positive, especially from the exact group we are trying to serve, the family shooter who cares about privacy on the net. I got permission from folks to quote them here.
A Dr. in NYC, who has been a Phanfare customer since 2005 wrote:
Just got upgraded and I am completely and totally overjoyed it looks FANTASTIC. You guys must have done an unbelievable amount of work putting this site up. I’m already connected to one person and can’t wait to connect to more. The site has features of connectivity with others that I’ve longed for for quite a while. GREAT job!
A user from Seattle:
My immediate family of 20 are scattered from Seattle to Grand Rapids, MI to Ft. Pierce, FL and Beaverdam, OH. We were long-time users of MSN’s family website (with paid storage), but none of us liked it very well; we just hadn’t found a better alternative for our primary goal of sharing photos of nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
None of us has a problem with the changes in 2.0, and we all see the advantages. In fact, the new functionality – particularly the free 1GB of storage – will allow some of the family who would not have been willing or able to pay for storage to now share some family photos.
A phanfare user of two years:
The changes in the way access permissions are given have been very good. After using Phanfare for 2 years, I felt a need to get more flexibility in sharing specific albums with specific people – and when I contacted the helpdesk, Shannon responded that I could be on Phanfare 2.0 in two weeks – offering me that option. And after having used it for a month, I can say that the new online access is experienced as very good. The family and friends I shared it with have reacted very positively and some started creating their own albums (which they hopefully for you will grow beyond 1 Gb). I have had some struggles with the desktop client, but your team has been very responsive.
A woman from NYC:
I want to give you my congratulations and encouragement.
I think that Phanfare is a wonderful site with helpful and friendly people. I have always been impressed by everyone’s responsiveness to every question I every had. At first when I saw the changes, I only thought about my silo and wasn’t used to the new dashboard yet, so I felt a little like my old Phanfare was going away. But in fact, I personally haven’t lost anything and I quickly realized it is much better for the company and for others who want to share photos and with whom I want to share.
Thanks very much and best of luck. I know this next phase will be a success.
A user from Firestone, CO:
At first I wasn’t sure I would like the new platform. However with some use I find that I do like the changes, a great deal. The Friends, Family and Group assignments work well for me.
The biggest complainer I had on the 2.0 change ended up being the person who has used the 1G account the most, so far anyway. She is now posting vacation pictures.
I won’t pretend that everyone feels well served by the changes we are making. At the edges, there are users who are disappointed by the changes and will leave. For those people we are doing everything we can to enable them to get their media back and land safely somewhere else. But for the quiet middle, Phanfare 2.0 is working out great. We are thrilled to be able to serve a greater number of people with the new version and to tighten the focus of the product on the family shooter.