If any cloud photo storage provider knows how overwhelmed its customers are by the sheer quantity of their photos and the challenges they face to find the photos that matter, it’s Photobucket. No wonder that, in the last few years, they’ve allocated substantial resources to solve these problems for their users.
12-year-old Photobucket is headquartered in Colorado, a long way away from the startup buzz at the coasts’ technology hubs. Still, each month, Photobucket quietly serves 60 million unique users 120 billion photos and videos through more than 3 million websites.
The company is going through a remarkable transition in their product offering, their monetization strategies, and their business partnerships, according to CEO Tom Munro, who will participate in the Prospering in the emerging “Photos at your fingertips” era panel at the upcoming Mobile Photo Connect, along with Flickr’s head of product, Rajiv Vaidyanathan, Orbeus’ CEO, Yi Li, and Magisto’s CEO, Oren Boiman.
Several years ago, the company embarked on a major initiative to not just develop top-class photos apps, but also to make its website fully responsive and usable from any device. With success: 85% of the photos currently uploaded to Photobucket are taken with mobile devices.
Last year, the company shifted its monetization strategy, from advertising and storage subscription revenues to generating revenues from a wide variety of photo output products, including photobooks, home décor products, prints and various photo gifts. Photobucket produces these products in partnership with multiple output service providers.
“Print revenues are now our primary revenue source,” according to Munro, “and the easier we can make it for our users to discover meaningful photos, the more they will print. It’s that simple.”
Partly for this reason, Photobucket acquired Lasso, a company founded by Alex Welch, who originally co-founded Photobucket back in 2003. Lasso is a private photo-sharing and chat app that makes it easy and efficient to request and aggregate photos from, for instance, family and friends who attended a school soccer game.
Lasso is not the only acquisition Photobucket has made in the past six months. It also acquired Milyoni, a company that last year launched “madcards,” mobile-optimized multimedia presentations that may include videos, photos, text, polls and other content, and can be shared to social networks, as well as via email or text messages. With the Milyoni technology and products, Photobucket has yet another toolset to offer its “photo-overwhelmed” users a way to generate engaging and rich visual stories.
Finally, in order to gain additional users, Photobucket has a history of offering its B2C services via high-profile partners (such as Twitter in the past, and more recently AOL). With the company’s current emphasis on mobile, new partnerships with high-profile mobile vendors are in the works, according to Munro. Through these new partnerships, Photobucket will increase their mobile users numbers even further, while their new partners will share in Photobucket’s print output revenues.
Stay tuned for the major mobile partnership announcement Photobucket will make at Mobile Photo Connect on September 29!
Author: Hans Hartman
Hans Hartman is president of Suite 48 Analytics, the leading research and analysis firm for the mobile photography market and organizer of Mobile Photo Connect, a yearly industry conference about mobile photography.