Years back I started to utilize the website ofoto to store my pictures. What a great service with its ability to share your photos immediately with others. Years later Kodak purchased the company and integrated it into its backend photo processing systems. I am still a loyal customer of what is now called Kodak Gallery but recently the company changed its policy, forcing users to order a certain dollar amount in order to keep from having their photos deleted. In my case the magic number was $20.
Interestingly I am a big fan of printing photos but haven't had time to print much lately.
I do understand Kodak needs to make a living and I also understand how hard it is for a company which was a virtual monopoly to reposition itself in the digital era.
But rather than rush to print more photos this experience made me pause a bit. After all I am not thrilled to have a company change its policy on me after it told me there would be no charge to store photos. This is not what you call a stellar CRM experience.
This is probably the reason I didn't act quicker and logged on today to find all my photos gone. Wiped. My kids being born... My wife as fiancé, my cousins, parents, sister, friends. All gone.
The shocking screen I saw today
I learned when I called the company at 1-800-360-9098 that my photos are actually not deleted but hidden. I suspected as much but I am still having seriously mixed emotions about the company. After all if they did delete my photos I would likely be on my way up to Rochester to have a frank talk with the CEO.
Its all fun and games until someone loses every photo they ever took
I was told my photos should come back in 24 hours or so but I will not receive an email when they are restored. The operator suggested I keep checking online for when they appear. (See my thoughts on free time above)
If this happens to you, don't worry. You see I was told 72 hours after the photos appear they will disappear and I have to make a purchase between the time the photos are there and aren't. I didn't ask how long they are kept hidden but I should have.
On a separate but related note, Kodak is looking for help from its community of fans to help it name its new pocket-sized video recorder. My first thought is the new Kodak - Better Late Than Never but I think this moniker may be a bit too long for a small device and not quite in line with the company's business practices. Instead I invite them to have it use the above online photo storage practices and proceed to call it the the new Kodak iHostage.