Kleiner-backed photo site drops service

Zing.com, an online photography site backed by VC powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, will shutter its consumer operations next month.

Zing.com, an online photography site backed by venture capital powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said it will shutter its consumer operations next month.

Zing becomes the latest Web company to shift its strategy despite a partnership with one of Silicon Valley's most influential VC firms. Many companies were created to tap the nascent online photo processing market, including Snapfish.com, PhotoWorks and Netscape founder Jim Clark's Shutterfly. But success has been difficult to achieve, leading many to form partnerships with bigger companies.

Zing Chief Financial Officer Gregory Kelley said the company is "having trouble converting images into revenue," citing this as the primary reason for ending the service. He added that Zing will become an infrastructure provider instead of a service aimed at consumers.

As part of the move, Zing will lay off 10 to 15 employees out of a total of 56.

Earlier this month, another online photo site, Ofoto, was acquired by Eastman Kodak. Last month, Shutterfly struck a deal with Dell Computer to offer new computer buyers photo software.

Zing will inform its customers of the closure through its Web site. A draft of the notice obtained by CNET News.com gave instructions for people to preserve their photos by ordering a CD-ROM coded with their digital photos or saving images on a hard drive. The consumer site will officially close July 2, Kelley confirmed.

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