As online storage options continue to gain steam, Kodak recently announced a change in the terms of service around their online Kodak Gallery storage option that might signal an interesting shift in consumer behavior within this market.
Beginning May 16th, 2009 the company’s Kodak Gallery online photo service is telling members with photo storage of 2GB or less that they now must make annual minimum purchases totaling at least $4.99 through the Kodak service model. Those with photo storage exceeding 2GBs must make annual minimum purchases totaling at least $19.99.
The company issued a statement to members that said, “Failure to meet this requirement may result in your photos being deleted from the Gallery.”
The Kodak Gallery, formerly known as Ofoto prior to purchase by Kodak, had been offering photo storage free of charge but as online archiving gains in popularity, the company clearly sees this as an opportunity to introduce these customers to the wide variety of photo gift options that are available today…though some might feel “forcing” them to buy crosses a line.
“I’m not tickled with this arrangement,” began Carrie Dooley of Birmingham, Alabama. “It’s not what we signed on for but it is introducing us to products we probably would buy. I’m just tired of this kind of ploy that forces you do something or else…”
Many online storage services, not unlike the social network world, often state in the fine print that they can change the rules of service at any time they deem necessary and Kodak certainly isn’t the first to do so.
Several other online photo services offer free storage of images in the hope their customers buy prints or other photo gift products. HP’s Snapfish site offers unlimited storage to users who make an annual purchase of any amount during the year.
Kodak added that the company has required an annual purchase, “for the past five years” without setting a minimum amount. The new policy, adopted last month and announced in recent e-mail notices to customers, sets the minimums mentioned above.
Sounds like a great opportunity for the portable storage companies that have been rushing new product to market of late, that unfortunately the photo channel seems to be ignoring. Might be time for a change of strategy on this front.