Intel's online photo-sharing site is closing shop and sending members to Eastman Kodak's online photo service, Ofoto.
GatherRound.com posted a message on its Web site, saying it will
discontinue service Nov. 1 and members' photos will no longer be accessible on the site.
"We feel our customers will be better served by a service such as Ofoto, whose primary business focus is online photo-sharing and printing," the Web site said. "Because we understand how important your photos are to you, we
have developed a new home for your images."
GatherRound is encouraging members to download their images onto a computer hard drive or transfer to Ofoto. As an incentive to make the move, Ofoto will give GatherRound members who transfer their images a coupon code with a deal on wallet-size prints. The photo site also offers all new members 15 free 4x6 prints.
GatherRound is the latest of many online photo companies to drop from the highly competitive market. As some companies fail to survive the battered
dot-com economy, others have been pushing through lean times by forming affiliations and capturing pieces of the fallen.
For Ofoto, which was acquired by
Kodak in June, the demise of other online photo sites has been a boon. When
Zing closed its consumer
operations during the summer, Ofoto snapped up some of its members. Now the
company is expected to garner more consumers from GatherRound.
"It just furthers Ofoto's membership base and kind of its strength in the
online photo-sharing market," said Suzzana Ellyn, a digital imaging research
analyst at ARS. "And it leaves the privately backed
services, such as Club Photo and Shutterfly, to fend
for themselves and gain new members."
Ellyn, however, added that it is doubtful the closure of GatherRound will have a major effect on the online photo services market. She said Intel has
done little to draw visitors to the
site since it launched two years ago. With the slowdown of the PC market, "Intel has more on its plate than throwing dollars to a relatively unknown
player in a competitive online marketplace such as online photo-sharing,"
Like most of its competitors, GatherRound provided consumers a way to share
pictures with family and friends. Features included the ability to order
prints and create personalized Web photo albums online.
"This was a site that was created to grow and develop new digital imaging
technology," said Erica Fields, a spokeswoman for Intel. "And working with
Ofoto, it seemed like a natural transition for Ofoto to take over the site
and offer members a place to store their photos,
because that's their core competency."
GatherRound said Ofoto has been providing the site with the infrastructure
to process prints for more than a year.
"Ofoto is pleased to provide GatherRound members with a safe and easy way
to transfer their photos to our site," an Ofoto representative said in a
statement. "We certainly hope that a large number of GatherRound members
will take advantage of our services."
GatherRound would not disclose its membership numbers.