Phan Fare

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Phanfare is an online subscription-based photo sharing and video sharing service. It was introduced in November 2004 by Phanfare, Inc, a company founded by Andrew Erlichson and Mark Heinrich.

* 1 Overview
* 2 Uploading of photos and videos
* 3 Phanfare 2.0
* 4 Licensing
* 5 History of Phanfare
* 6 Revenue model
* 7 System requirements
* 8 References
* 9 External links

[edit] Overview

Phanfare is targeted at consumers looking to network socially and share photos and video without advertising (Phanfare has alluded to an upcoming change with advertising being added). Consumers can upload their digital photos and videos to Phanfare. Friends and family can create an account and then view the photos and video from any web browser. Phanfare integrates address book and invitation tools to allow the consumer to efficiently send out invitations to view albums. Phanfare backs up and holds original fullsize images centrally, allowing the consumer to retrieve their original digital assets in the event that they lose their local copy. Aside from providing consumers a destination web site of their digital photos (formerly free of advertising of branding), Phanfare aims to significantly improve the consumer workflow behind digital photography and video.

[edit] Uploading of photos and videos

Phanfare distributes a photo and video organizing program called Phanfare Photo (PC and Mac compatible) that uploads photos and video in the background while the consumer adds captions, edits and organizes the content. Phanfare Photo converts images to smaller sizes well-suited for web browsing, and uploads these images first, before full-sized images and videos get sent. As a result, albums appear on the web with the smaller-sized images very quickly. Phanfare overlaps productive user work with network latency, giving users the perception of faster uploads. Phanfare can import JPEG, Adobe Photoshop PSD images as well as AVI, QuickTime, WMV and MPEG-2 movies.

Phanfare has been noted by the Wall Street Journal for its novel approach to video sharing [1] and its media retention policies [2]. However these citations pre-date the release of Phanfare 2.0, which significantly changed the business model and sharing policies.

The ideas for cache-coherent synchronization of photos and videos to a local application cache can be traced back to work in Cache Coherence in shared memory Multiprocessing.

[edit] Phanfare 2.0

In Jan. 2008, Phanfare launched a completely new version of their service. All new accounts were part of "Phanfare 2.0", which included 1GB of free storage. This launch marked the beginning of migration of beta users to the new system. "Phanfare 2.0" was a closed, self-described "Friends and Family" system that required a user to send e-mail invitations to viewers that request that they sign up for Phanfare before they are allowed to view that user's photos.

Initially they mitigated the hassle of forced sign-ups (a la Kodak Gallery and others) by sending an e-mail invitation with a link to the galleries that when clicked, would confirm the account creation. They were criticized for spam-like behavior on their own forums, and have since gone to a more traditional "sign up" e-mail invitation link.

The major upshot of the changes was that open public albums were no longer allowed. Additionally albums protected by a shared password were no longer offered. For small businesses or professional photographers, these limitations were essentially deal-breakers, which Phanfare acknowledged. Phanfare claimed that they were narrowing their focus to the friends and family market to better serve those customers, but at the same time, were changing to a "free" model in order to shift their revenue stream from paid subscribers to advertising.

Phanfare claimed that the big benefit of the new system was better notifications, with friends and family automatically getting notice whenever a new album is created. They also touted their Facebook-like "dashboard" where you can see all of your connections' activities (new albums, new connections, etc.) They publicly stated that at some point they intended to start running advertising on this dashboard.

After conducting a survey of users in May, 2008 decided to again allow open public albums. They have stated that they will evaluate bringing back password-protected albums as well in the near future.

Other forum members have complained that having only two broad categories of relationships available (Friends and Family) is not deep enough for complex relationships that may be formed by different circles of friends within the same family, not to mention divorces, estrangements, etc. Phanfare has stated that they are looking into the possibility of offering more a rich relationship management scheme that would allow for the creation of groups that have very granular access controls.

[edit] Licensing

Phanfare is licensed for consumer use. As of July 2006, there are no storage limits but consumers are limited to 10GB of upstream and 15GB of downstream network traffic per month.

[edit] History of Phanfare

Phanfare began in 2004 as a photo and video web hosting service with no free level of service. In 2008 the company changed the service to include a free level of service for users with under 1GB of photos and video and added social networking features.

[edit] Revenue model

Phanfare is free for all members and includes 1GB of photo and video storage. Phanfare makes money from the sale of storage plans ($54.95 per year for unlimited storage).

[edit] System requirements

As of August 2006, the optional desktop software requires either Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X. Other operating systems such as Linux are not supported.

Since the Phanfare 2.0 upgrade, the usability of the web client for operating systems such as Linux is vastly improved. Nearly all of the functionality of the desktop software is available except for the initial conversion to and upload of web-sized versions of photos before full-sized versions (which then upload in the background.)

[edit] References

1. ^ Vauhini Vara (5 July 2005). "Family movies find new home on the web". Wall Street Journal.
2. ^ William Bulkeley (1 February 2006). "The downside of photo storage sites". Wall Street Journal: D1.

[edit] External links

* pyphanfare Project Tracking
* pyphanfare

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