Flickr let us down; help us find a better alternative
July 30, 2007 10:24 PM   Subscribe

We need a place to upload photos and grant basic access rights, without the bugs and usability issues that have thwarted our attempt to use Flickr Pro.

Scenario: we want a place to upload a few thousand pictures, and *easily* restrict certain photos to certain people (ie "all pictures can be seen by group A, a subset of those pictures can be seen by group B, a different subset of those pictures can be seen by group C.) Members of each group need to be able to leave comments tagged with their own name.

We've tried for a week and a half to use the "new" Flickr (they just redesigned the interface, apparently) and we've been overwhelmed by how buggy* and unintuitive** it is -- and this after we dropped the money for a pro account.

Note that a lot of Existing Flickr users have been slagging Flickr after the redesign, but we're not in that group -- we're coming to it post-redesign with fresh eyes and no preconceived notions.

Also note that the best (theoretical) candidate from this thread, picturesup.net, no longer seems to exist, and the others suggested don't have access rights to the degree we need them (technically, neither does Flickr.)

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

*Example: many invitations have been sent, and about 50% of the people invited end up able to see the photos, and the other 50% can't -- and they're all set up and share the same access rights. Meanwhile, the invite history says none of the invites have ever been accepted.

**Example: to add a contact, you have to search for a person, then mouse over an emoticon to reveal a dropdown, then click that dropdown to see an option to add them as a contact -- and returning to the site and clicking "Contacts" just shows an information page about contacts, you have to mouse over the Contacts link to reveal a drop arrow, click it, then select "Contact List" from mid-pack in the choices. I'm no neophyte, but it took me several minutes to figure the first part out, because you have to hover to reveal the dropdowns, and there was a sizeable delay between hovering and the reveal...and let's face it, if you click "Contacts" you want to see your contacts, not marketing information about how awesome contacts are.
posted by davejay to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
 
You can set up an MSN group (or Yahoo group, or Google group, though I have no experience with those and can't recommend them with any degree of knowledge ~ but MSN groups work well for what you're describing, as they incorporate picture albums) and set it to "private"... Then you can "invite" the people you want to be able to see your pics. (Set up as many different groups as you need in order to separate subset group A, subset group B, etc.)
posted by amyms at 10:29 PM on July 30, 2007


Zooomr?
posted by evariste at 10:53 PM on July 30, 2007



Heard good things about SmugMug, but this review roundup might help you: link
posted by sharkfu at 12:14 AM on July 31, 2007


I need to correct a few things:

**Example: to add a contact, you have to search for a person, then mouse over an emoticon to reveal a dropdown, then click that dropdown to see an option to add them as a contact

You just go to their profile and click "add x as a contact".

and returning to the site and clicking "Contacts" just shows an information page about contacts, you have to mouse over the Contacts link to reveal a drop arrow, click it, then select "Contact List" from mid-pack in the choices.

Clicking on "Contacts" shows Recent Photos as a default, and then you click "Contact List" to show the list of people.

I'm not sure why these were hard for you to find, but not everyone views a site in the same way. The dropdowns are slow, but not the only navigational tool.
posted by saturnine at 4:19 AM on July 31, 2007


I'm happy with Smugmug.
posted by desuetude at 6:07 AM on July 31, 2007


Smugmug seems to be the standard for professional photographers. It seemed that 75% of the wedding photographers we talked to last year pointed us to a portfolio there.

I don't think Flickr will give you the kind of access control you're after, at least not in a friendly way for non-Flickr-users who you want to show pictures; Flickr is really designed around showing everyone everything.

I've been using Flickr as a pro member for a little over a year now and didn't notice any redesign. There's been incremental changes (collections, for instance) but it seems to work the same. There was a redesign in early 2006, though, when they moved from Flash to AJAX, maybe you're thinking of that?
posted by mendel at 6:13 AM on July 31, 2007


I've had great success with smugmug.

- I don't believe it offers access rights quite the way you want to handle them. Galleries can be public or private (whether they show up on your homepage and in public indexes or not) and password protected or not. You can create share-groups that are basically private URLs that index a collection of galleries.

It's a fantastic service, and well worth the money.
posted by TravellingDen at 7:59 AM on July 31, 2007


You shouldn't be inviting people to Flickr, unless they have to be able to sign in, eg, to make prints.

You should be using the Guests Pass feature on Flickr for just giving access to images. Then organize your sets by which (sub)sets of people get access (eg, configuring the Guest Pass to only show a given set or show other pix with the same privacy level).
posted by caitlinb at 8:55 AM on July 31, 2007


Sorry, I can't read. I didn't see the comments part.

From actually reading your requirements, it sounds like you want something more like Menalto Gallery. (I don't know what Smugmug's feature set is - do they support this kind of commenting ability?)
posted by caitlinb at 8:58 AM on July 31, 2007


FYI, the people we've been trying to invite have had Flickr accounts and been able to sign in.

Also:

I need to correct a few things:...

No offense, but you have described paths to do those things that (a) were less obvious than what I was able to figure out on my own, and (b) the same number of steps, so not a real improvement there. Also, I'm a web developer/UED guy by trade, and -- um, shall we say, not unfamiliar with the way Yahoo! products typically work.

As for the folks trying to answer my question, thanks a bunch -- sounds like there isn't an alternative, at least that anyone's pointed out, because of our need to do access controls. Oh well.
posted by davejay at 11:59 AM on July 31, 2007


Oh, and caitlinb, I appreciate the suggestion, I'll try it -- but I assume commenting will be disabled. Hopefully that's an incorrect assumption.
posted by davejay at 12:00 PM on July 31, 2007


Have you looked at Snapfish? I use it to share pictures I take with friends, and they seem to have a "Group Room" that would allow the limited sharing you want. You can read through their FAQ to see if it does what you want. They do have comments.

Also, you could try using Facebook or some social networking thingy as well. That's what all my friends use to share their pictures.
posted by bluefly at 2:02 PM on July 31, 2007


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