PhotoShow Goes Social With New Version

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The company SimpleStar released a new version of its PhotoShow product Friday and brought the popular photo and video sharing service up to speed with a number of developments pioneered by early adopters you’re more likely to have read about here on TechCrunch.  The service now supports the social sharing and online categorization that’s typical of other media sharing services; the change is comparable to what Yahoo! Photos did last summer when it changed for a largely private service into a much more Flickr inspired phenomenon. Photoshow combines sharing online with a desktop application for managing your media.

The most notable thing about SimpleStar, though, is the company’s incredible acumen in business development.    The company reports an amazing 20,000 new installations of its desktop software every day, thanks to partnerships with companies like Comcast, Walgreen’s and Wolf Camera.  SimpleStar received $6 million in funding from Venrock a year and a half ago.

There’s a certain flavor to PhotoShow, consisting of the product’s price point ($40), Windows-only desktop application, being in bed with big cable companies and ISPs and the photos of software in a cardboard box all over its website despite being available primarily by download.  That particular flavor makes me want to turn my snobbish Web 2.0 nose up at the company – but the fact of the matter is, they know how do get the job done.  

PhotoShow monetizes the initial product, an inexplicable upgrade for $20 that apparently consists of a number of graphic themes for your photos (“Kids, Love and Patriotic Theme Packs” etc.), DVDs of your media and anything else it can think to charge users for.  

SimpleStar says its PhotoShow service appeals not to early adopters but the the last 2/3 of the adoption curve.  It appears to be successful so far in reaching out to that market; though Alexa does indicate that the humble Photoblog.com gets 4 times as much traffic as PhotoShow.com – that’s probably less relevant because of PhotoShow’s reliance on desktop software.  

I personally find the service patronizing and obnoxious, but perhaps that says more about me than it does PhotoShow.  There’s no doubt that the company deserves recognition for its large partnerships and decision to add more social features to the service with this newest upgrade.  It may be a prime example of the strategy many people recommend – focus on making money, let the early adopters take the biggest risks and implement what sticks with the market later.

Marshall Kirkpatrick is the Director of Content at SplashCast and will be assisting with TechCrunch while Michael Arrington travels.

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