CNET's AllYouCanUpload Is Disruptive

CNET very quietly launched a simple new photo uploading site called AllYouCanUpload last week. At first glance it doesn’t appear to be very special or disruptive. But it is.

By launching AllYouCanUpload, CNET just pulled the rug out from under at least two startups (photobucket and imageshack) that focus on providing image hosting for users who want to display those images on other websites, like Myspace, eBay and others. This is a big business – a lot of traffic flows through photobucket today, and it is a profitable and well funded company.

AllYouCanUpload is a site that makes uploading photos as easy as it can possibly get. They’ve removed all of the friction. You do not need to register for an account. You just use the uploading tool and you are shown the image along with codes to post the photo on sites like Myspace, ebay and others (I’d also like an option to have the image links emailed to me). Unlike Photobucket and Imageshack, AllYouCanUpload is completely free, and no advertisements appear on the uploading areas of the site (there are ads on the hosted part of the site, which you see if you click on a hosted image). There is no limit to the number of photos that can be uploaded or the total amount of storage that may be consumed. There is no limit on the size of an image, and images are not resized unless you request it. And possibly most importantly, there are absolutely no bandwidth restraints.

This last point is important. With other services there are caps on bandwidth. That means if a photo is particularly popular and is viewed a lot, the user account will be shut down after a cap is reached. That won’t happen with AllYouCanUpload.

This is not a destination site – if you lose or forget the URL for your photos you will have to re-upload them because there is no search feature or user account. CNET suggests you go to Webshots, their main photo site, if you want those destination site features. But for users of Myspace and other social networking sites that just want a place to store photos, AllYouCanUpload is a seriously cool site. If it gets traction (and it will, even if it didn’t have CNET behind it), it will force PhotoBucket and Imageshack to rethink their offerings. And that is great for consumers.

See Martin Green’s blog (CNET’s GM of the Communities Group) for an in depth discussion of the product, including CNET’s new back end storage solution called “Haystack”.

A final note: we are seeing more and more new web applications that keep piling on new features to the point where it’s nearly impossible to understand what they are doing. When I see something like this – a service that strives to do one thing efficiently and without friction, it makes my heart warm. Simple does not equal boring. Simple can be disruptive. I want more services like AllYouCanUpload.