Zenfolio; All good things must end ?

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I've had a professional level account with Zenfolio for over 10 years. I did a good bit of research before selecting them and they fit my needs best at the time. After they were bought out a few years ago things started to go down hill. Gradually at first with GUI changes etc. Now for the past couple of years they have been marketing/upselling really hard. I've communicated with them a couple of times about stopping the pop-up advertising that randomly interrupts when I'm on the site working on something. Maybe it's just me but when I'm paying for a pro level account it doesn't seem reasonable to have their marketing gimmicks bothering me. Their response was essentially that no one else complains, what's your problem? Most recently and the final straw has been frequent technical issues when attempting to upload multiple images at the same time. I keep getting kicked out and have to log in again. So with my annual renewal coming up soon it looks like it's time to move on. Interestingly when I started searching for alternative hosting sites Zenfolio didn't show up in the top ten recommended sites on any of a half dozen or so review sites that I read. So I guess it's not just me. It's a shame. I really liked them for ease of use and the fit for purpose tools when I started. And the fact that I paid my dues and they left me alone unless I asked for help.
 
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Joined
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I've only used Zenfolio and am relatively pleased but I'm using the least expensive account. I don't remember seeing any pop-up advertisements. I also haven't had any issues uploading multiple image files at the same time. No doubt I'll incur both problems in the coming week, in which case I'll blame you for bringing up the subject. :ROFLMAO:
 
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I've never had the upload problem until recently. I only mention it because that was the proverbial last straw for me. The pop-ups that I get are not third party advertising. It's "suggestions" from Zenfolio to try other features/services that they sell. Most recently they've been pushing a "book me" app/service by which clients can book you for shoots(per my understanding). It does sound like an awesome feature but if I don't need/want it don't be wasting my time bothering me with it when I'm trying to get something done on the site that I pay you quite well for. Heck send me an email. Actually it just occurred to me that's probably why they've started with the pop-ups. They are legally required to give you a means to opt out of email advertising. Maybe the pop-ups are a loop hole. At any rate, it's to the point that it has become as much a matter of principle as a real issue. If I want to be bothered with advertising I can go use a free service somewhere else.
 

Butlerkid

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My husband has used Zenfolio for years for housing all his videos. About 6 months ago he has discovered that some of his videos have "disappeared" from the website. Zenfolio's answer....just upload them again. Months later, Justin finds another 3-4 videos that have "disappeared". Zenfolio's answer is "we don't know what happened. Just upload them again.". ZERO effort to SOLVE the problem. ZERO concern about the customer.

Recently for his birthday I bought Justin his own URL. And yesterday - for his Christmas present - I started setting up a trial account for him on SmugMug. I have used SM for years and really like it. (Yes, SM made foundational changes to their s/w years ago that upset some users. But the resulting site if FAR better and more flexbile than Zenfolio. ) Justin had a problem logging into the trial SM account yesterday afternoon....on Thanksgiving! I got an email about "unauthorized log in attempts". I responded indicating that the log in's were OK. I received an answer from SM support withint 6 hours - on Thanksgiving evening! That is the kind of support I have gotten from SM for years!!!!!

If Justin uploads a few videos successfully on SM, he will cancel his Zenfolio account we will finish setting up his SM site.

Why stay with Zenfolio if they can't ensure that the data that is uploaded is secure and stable?
 
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Now that I think of it, many years ago immediately after Zenfolio released an update, the font in the text that explains the contents of one of my galleries automatically changed from left-justified to center-justified. There was nothing I could do to return it to left-justified. I even deleted all of the text and retyped it. No luck. The folks at Zenfolio were very unhelpful and told me to recreate the entire gallery. I left the text the way it is because I wasn't about to recreate the gallery.

If any of my photos disappeared, I wouldn't know it though I suppose it's possible that could have happened.
 
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Just for kicks, I just now tried fixing the problem with the text explained in my previous post. There is no tool that changes the justification in the text, so there is no way to fix the problem. Considering that there is no such tool, it's a mystery as to how the justification changed on its own.
 
Joined
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I've used Zenfolio for years. Lately I haven't paid much attention to it. It's more of just a place I can keep jpgs of my photos as a sort of backup and a place my kids have access to download what they want. Maybe I need to rethink the amount I'm spending there, although I just have the least expensive account.
 

Butlerkid

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I've used Zenfolio for years. Lately I haven't paid much attention to it. It's more of just a place I can keep jpgs of my photos as a sort of backup and a place my kids have access to download what they want. Maybe I need to rethink the amount I'm spending there, although I just have the least expensive account.
I would rely on a hosting service to be a back up only if I had two other real backups. For me that is two copies of my images on separate external HD's - one stored in a different location. Downloading your images from a hosting service doesn't always go smoothly......
 
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I would rely on a hosting service to be a back up only if I had two other real backups. For me that is two copies of my images on separate external HD's - one stored in a different location. Downloading your images from a hosting service doesn't always go smoothly......
I do have several other backups. This is just another redundant one.
 
I've been using Zenfolio for years, since they began, and eventually dropped Smugmug altogether since I preferred Zenfolio. I haven't noticed anything missing from my galleries, but I have from time to time had issues when simply trying to upload a few images. Every Sunday after I've completed my images for the 52-Week project and have shared the chosen images on here, I also then upload to my gallery in Zenfolio, too, as a way of being able to share with friends and family, too, who are not on Nikon Cafe. It's been rather satisfying watching the gallery grow, week-by-week! Anyway, two or three times in the past couple of months I've definitely had hassles just getting the images uploaded, but usually if I just give up for a while and then go back later and try again, all works out well in the end.

My account is the fairly basic, inexpensive one, too, not a professional one, since I don't sell my images or have paying clients. I use it mostly for being able to share with family/friends or as another place to stash my images, but it is definitely not my only backup! "Redundancy" is my middle name, as I have duplicate backups of my important data files and my photo files, located at home and away from home. I also like being able to access my images if I'm out of town and not near my own computer or devices and want to show someone a particular image. I can just use any computer to jump into Zenfolio, log into my account, pull up the gallery which has the relevant image and show the person....

Sometimes, yes, a popup advert will suddenly show up, but usually it is when I'm first on the site, before I've begun doing anything, so I just close the popup and go on about my business. These haven't actually interrupted anything that I'm working on, so they're more of a minor nuisance than anything. They do seem to have increased in frequency, though, I have noticed.that.
 
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I share your frustrations with ZF and feel like we have gone in somewhat separate directions. I moved to ZF about 8 years ago when I could not get SmugMug to let me set up my site the way I wanted it laid out. ZF offered me a more flexible arrangement, but shortly after I switched SM did a major overhaul. ZF has also undergone a lot of changes over the years, and I believe was sold at least once during that time. They are now heavily focusing on marketing tools and other features useful to photographers using their platform for sales. As I am not selling anything, I have considered moving, but I am grandfathered in at a reasonable rate, and have my domain directed there, so a migration will not be that hard, but it will require time. Unfortunately, I have not yet found where I want to go, as I use the site for several different purposes, and I like that they have good password control. But, I am certainly open to moving as I find their layout controls awkward at best.

--Ken
 
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I share your frustrations with ZF and feel like we have gone in somewhat separate directions. I moved to ZF about 8 years ago when I could not get SmugMug to let me set up my site the way I wanted it laid out. ZF offered me a more flexible arrangement, but shortly after I switched SM did a major overhaul. ZF has also undergone a lot of changes over the years, and I believe was sold at least once during that time. They are now heavily focusing on marketing tools and other features useful to photographers using their platform for sales. As I am not selling anything, I have considered moving, but I am grandfathered in at a reasonable rate, and have my domain directed there, so a migration will not be that hard, but it will require time. Unfortunately, I have not yet found where I want to go, as I use the site for several different purposes, and I like that they have good password control. But, I am certainly open to moving as I find their layout controls awkward at best.

--Ken
Sounds like we are in very similar situation. I'm grandfathered in at a price that is significantly below the current pricing for the same account level. At the time I started using them they had the simplest startup for the widest variety of options. Also with the pro account all zenfolio branding is removed from the site which was desirable. The e-commerce functions are best suited to event photography/large volume sales. That worked well for me when I was shooting canine agility events. But using the platform for one-off image sales of nature photography is cumbersome at best. You can't simply set pricing/options for an individual image without creating a template, setting up packaging/shipping options, etc. And on top of that their fees are very high. On the plus side it is possible to fill/ship your own products rather than use their cadre of partnered vendors.

Unfortunately as you said there is a built in barrier to switch sites due to the work involved in changing. That has kept me around for the past couple of years. But I've finally reached the limit of my tolerance and have the time on my hands to make the change. My renewal doesn't come up until February so plenty of time to do it.

On another related note, I've had my domain name registered with GoDaddy for over ten years as well. When I first purchased/registered the name the cost was $15/yr. They've gradually crept the price up. My most recent renewal was $36. I didn't realize until recently that the registration can be transferred to another service provider. It looks like I can trim nearly half that expense as well by simply switching companies.
 
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On another related note, I've had my domain name registered with GoDaddy for over ten years as well. When I first purchased/registered the name the cost was $15/yr. They've gradually crept the price up. My most recent renewal was $36.
It took nearly 20 years for GoDaddy to turn their first profitable year. I always wondered how they could make money charging such low fees and then realized that, indeed, they weren't making money. It's no surprise that they started raising their rates.
 
Joined
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My needs for online galleries is extreme limited as I'm not a true "pro" but it is nice to have something to point people to at times. I also dropped ZF several years ago when the pricing started going up, and tied a couple of "free" options such as Weebly, but found their offerings to be very limited.

Since I'm stuck paying for Adobe's LR, I started playing with their Portfolio app. It's actually quite nice. Pretty easy to point my domain name there and it's certainly nice enough for my usage. Since it's included in the "Creative Cloud" it's also "free"!!

Have a look HERE!

Cheers!!

Ken
 
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Sounds like we are in very similar situation. I'm grandfathered in at a price that is significantly below the current pricing for the same account level. At the time I started using them they had the simplest startup for the widest variety of options. Also with the pro account all zenfolio branding is removed from the site which was desirable. The e-commerce functions are best suited to event photography/large volume sales. That worked well for me when I was shooting canine agility events. But using the platform for one-off image sales of nature photography is cumbersome at best. You can't simply set pricing/options for an individual image without creating a template, setting up packaging/shipping options, etc. And on top of that their fees are very high. On the plus side it is possible to fill/ship your own products rather than use their cadre of partnered vendors.

Unfortunately as you said there is a built in barrier to switch sites due to the work involved in changing. That has kept me around for the past couple of years. But I've finally reached the limit of my tolerance and have the time on my hands to make the change. My renewal doesn't come up until February so plenty of time to do it.

On another related note, I've had my domain name registered with GoDaddy for over ten years as well. When I first purchased/registered the name the cost was $15/yr. They've gradually crept the price up. My most recent renewal was $36. I didn't realize until recently that the registration can be transferred to another service provider. It looks like I can trim nearly half that expense as well by simply switching companies.
Dan

If you look closely, you're probably paying for some extras to be charged that much for a domain name. I use GD to manage domains for clients and the prices haven't changed much at all over the years, still right around $15 a year.

But, I do decline a lot of their little add ons such as anti-hijacking, search assistance, etc.

Ken
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2018
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704
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Puget Sound
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Ken
Unfortunately as you said there is a built in barrier to switch sites due to the work involved in changing. That has kept me around for the past couple of years. But I've finally reached the limit of my tolerance and have the time on my hands to make the change. My renewal doesn't come up until February so plenty of time to do it.

On another related note, I've had my domain name registered with GoDaddy for over ten years as well. When I first purchased/registered the name the cost was $15/yr. They've gradually crept the price up. My most recent renewal was $36. I didn't realize until recently that the registration can be transferred to another service provider. It looks like I can trim nearly half that expense as well by simply switching companies.
Now I do not feel so bad about the recent price increase from my domain name host. They used to offer 5 years for $65, and I almost always took advantage of that price as it was their best offer. They just recently upped their price to about $19/yr. Not a huge increase, but enough to get my attention. If you are interested in switching, I suggest giving them a look. They are a small company out of Pittsburgh call Pair Domains. They are the sister company of Pair Networks, which is a hosting company. Their address is https://www.pairdomains.com/ .

Good luck,

--Ken
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
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Location
Alaska
I Switched to ZF from SM 10 years ago and still love it
I suspect the e-commerce has worked well for your sports photography as it did for me shooting agility. It's a real PITA for one-off image sales. Which in my case isn't highly relevant any more as I'm not actively marketing now. I was gearing up to significantly increase my local/tourist marketing efforts when covid came along. All of the venues I had set up for this summer were closed/cancelled and tourist season didn't happen. Probably just as well. May have saved me from failing at retirement :confused:
 

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