*NEWS* PRINTING PHOTOS ON LINE
*NEWS* PRINTING PHOTOS ON LINE
2005-04-29 at 10:18:00 am #9197
Printing Photos Online: the Consumer’s Best
April , 05
Over the last few years, poker has found a new level of popularity.
Television shows have made household names of professional poker players. You
can watch celebrities bet thousands of dollars on single hands for charity or
witness professional players risk amounts that eclipse your annual salary on
opponents’ placid poker faces. You can even bet your own hard-earned dollars in
online tournaments. This poker boom has highlighted America’s fascination with
gambling –further demonstrating Americans will gamble on anything, even games
that take place outside of casinos. Specifically, they gamble when advertisers
convince them to try a new product or service. However, when it comes to
deciding how to print their digital camera pictures, I think that consumers are
making bad bets.
Many consumers are betting on the convenience of printing at home with their
inkjet and dedicated photo printers. Other consumers are betting on the past,
going to traditional retailers and paying more than they should to get their
pictures processed. While retail and at-home printing provide the comfort of
familiarity and instant gratification, a consumer’s best bet is an online photo
Online sites such as KodakGallery.com (formerly Ofoto.com) and Snapfish.com
(now owned by Hewlett-Packard) are royal flushes because they provide the lowest
costs per print (CPP) in the market. Online retailers cater to customers who are
computer-savvy and have a lot of pictures to print. They offer technology that
is similar to that of retail stores at lower prices, especially if you pre-pay
for the prints. For instance, Snapfish charges only $0.15 per print, the lowest
cost per print anywhere; if you pay for 600 of them up front (the photo credits
do not expire, by the way). Some personal printers, on the other hand, have a
cost per print of more than $0.60–four times the price!
The online sites are also a big win because they protect consumers from a lot
of the drawbacks of the “old way.” For instance, they allow you to easily share
and send pictures without taking up space on your home computer or learning new
software. Digital images can become large files as digital camera enthusiasts
try to get the highest quality image to share with friends and family. Having a
safe place to store your images is one of the great features the online sites
provide. The online sites also provide the ease of classifying pictures into
photo albums, so you can share single images or entire albums.
Further, getting pictures printed through one of the online sites is more
convenient because you don’t have to go anywhere. Your pictures are delivered to
your door in a few days, making the services a winning hand for busy people.
Plus, the sites save your prints, so reprints are easy!
Lastly, consumers who keep their photos on their hard drives risk losing
their digital images to a virus. Computers are great, just like getting a high
pocket pair in Texas Hold’em. However, you can think that you have a winner and
then the cards come out and you lose to three 3’s. That is the same thing as
getting a virus on your system. You can lose all of your precious images in a
matter of seconds, just like cash at the poker table.
Because of the tradition behind retail printing, most consumers don’t realize
that it is a bad bet. If they did a little research and had some patience, they
would save money and protect their photos. Going to print at your local drug
store or photo retailer is like chasing a bad hand at the table. You think that
you have a chance to steal the pot because it seems convenient, but you just end
up losing. Printing pictures at retail is very similar; you can get the same
picture printed online for nearly half the price and in just a few extra days.
Photo printing through an online retailer, especially when you choose one of
the pre-paid plans, is the right play. It alleviates the issues of
inconvenience, price and hardware failure that can make a portfolio of digital
prints into a winning hand.