Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Commitment anxiety

I’m sure a lot of Squash readers are like myself and basically try out every new service that comes along. Most you never use again, a few you experiment with for a while jumping between competitors and then there are those few sites that you really commit to.

Committing to a web app is a big thing. It’s generally not easy to pull information in and out of most Web 2.0 sites, not to mention the time in training and becoming familiar with an application. What’s more, due to the social nature of most web apps, it’s quite likely you’ve convinced friends, co-workers and family to follow your lead.

Which is all very well and good, except most web apps are still pretty immature. They all have long product roadmaps, promise they’re working on new features and often can be quite buggy. So if you do decide to commit to a web app, you put a lot of faith that the company you’re going with is going to deliver on its promises.

I’ve switched photo libraries six times. I went from flickr to smugmug to photobucket back to flickr, onto picasa and finally thought I’d settled on smugug. In the end, I like how much you can customise your galleries with smugmug and the customer service is better than the larger players.

However, being smaller they don’t have the third-party support. For example, the new online Photoshop Express doesn’t pull in photos from Smugmug but it does the other services I tried and then left behind. On a number of occasions, I’ve almost switched back to flickr. It’s cheaper (I don’t mind paying for a good photo library and I’m a smugmug pro user) and seems to have almost become de facto standard in terms of having the support of third parties which has become increasingly important. But I’ve uploaded a lot of photos to smugmug and really don’t want to lose that time and bandwidth investment. Plus, I still do really like the service.

However, recently videos have been a sticking point for me. I want to use one service for videos and photos and have been hanging out for this feature in smugmug. Thankfully, they added that support but they’ve been lagging in providing a nice Flash player, which is obviously critical for embedding and making reasonable use of your videos.

It’s been promised as coming for a long time and it’s something that’s now holding up a couple of work projects as we’re hoping to use the smugmug video engine on MediaConnect websites. So when Flickr unveiled they’re really neat video service in the last 24 hours, I must admit to having pangs of jealousy.

I know the Smugmug crew will do a great job when the flash player comes but I’m afraid I’m not a very patient user. Oh commitment is tough, even in the web world.

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