Shutterfly announced they were purchasing Eastman Kodak’s Kodak Gallery online photo services for $23.8 million. It is sad to see a major player like Kodak Gallery disappear, but with more and more companies entering the ultra competitive online digital photo market, there was bound to be some consolidation. A similar thing happened with Photo Works, which was also acquired by Shutterfly several years ago.
What Happens to Your Kodak Gallery Photos?
So if you are a Kodak Gallery customer, you are probably wondering what is going to happen to all the photos and albums you have stored online with them. Don’t panic, your photos are safe. Kodak Gallery is working closely with Shutterfly to transfer all their customers’ photos over to Shutterfly (over 5 billion images!). Being a customer myself, I received several emails from Kodak Gallery explaining the process. As of July 2, 2012, they are shutting down U.S. and Canadian operations and all our photos will be moved for free to Shutterfly. This does not apply to European customers, whose photos will remain at Kodak Gallery Europe until further notice.
Both companies promise a safe and secure transfer of photos and Kodak customers don’t have to do a thing. Customers will continue to receive emails explaining the status of the migration. Having a husband who participated in several bank mergers and consolidation/migration of financial data (remember Security Pacific Bank anyone?) I know there are some great techies at work making sure all goes smoothly and they will probably be pulling more than one all-nighter in the process.
Here is my understanding of what will be moved to Shutterfly: ONLY photos will be moved from Kodak Gallery to Shutterfly. Any projects already completed and orders such as calendars, photo books, etc. will not be transferred. And if you have accrued any credits or have gift certificate balances, you better use them now or you will lose them, as they will not be transferred. If you have any projects you have in progress or have not ordered yet, you’d better order them now, or you will not be able to later.
It has not yet been determined whether shared albums, group albums, and sharing sites will be accessible after July 2. Apparently this will be decided at a later date and up-to-date info will be available by checking the Kodak Gallery online FAQ.
What to Do If You Don’t Want Your Photos Transferred to Shutterfly
What if you don’t want your photos transferred to Shutterfly? What if you prefer Snapfish or another online photo service? Then you have the option of opting out and choose to not have your photos transferred to Shutterfly. You have only until May 28 to opt out, which you can do online at Kodak Gallery. If you already have copies of all your stored photos on your computer or on DVD, you are set. But if you need to access you online photos in order to use them on another photo service, you will need to download or purchase a DVD of your photos through your Kodak Gallery account. Don’t wait until the last minute – do it as soon as possible to avoid any problem.
Are You Going to Be Happy With Shutterfly?
Personally I like and use Shutterfly. While I use Kodak Gallery too, I seem to keep going back to Shutterfly because I love their photo books, they offer free unlimited photo storage, they store your photos at full resolution, and they will never delete them. They also have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I have also been pleased with their customer service, which I have used via chat and email on several occasions. They were always prompt and courteous and resolved my question or issue quickly and to my satisfaction.
So while it is sad to see a company like Kodak Gallery, which is part of such a great photo pioneer as Eastman Kodak, disappear, at least we know our photos will be in good hands. Furthermore, Shutterfly offers many of the same services and will likely give you even more options than you had at Kodak Gallery.