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Chapter 11. Share Your Photos > Selecting an Online Service

Selecting an Online Service

Although you can use more than one service for different things, in practice most people stick with one, or at most two, favorites. You can spend a significant amount of time uploading pictures to a site, and if you use more than one site or change sites after you've uploaded, most of the time you'll have to upload all over again. So when it comes to online services, it pays to read the fine print. Some things to consider when choosing your online service:

  • Are the photos secure? Sometimes we share photos with friends that we might not want everyone else in the world to see. Like cell phone conversations, material online can be vulnerable. Every reputable service should have a prominently posted security policy.

  • Is the service financially stable? Although you've got a better shot with photo services supported by companies with deep pockets, it's sometimes hard to tell which ones those are. If the service is slow to respond to your questions, frequently threatens changes in pricing or policy, or doesn't inform you at all when it makes changes, you should start looking for a new service.

  • Do you have to pay to use the service? Some services are only free for a trial period; after that they charge a monthly fee to store your pictures.

  • Does the service have a maximum storage limit? If so, what is it? Most photo services limit the amount of space you can use to store your pictures. Three exceptions are Ofoto, Shutterfly, and PhotoAccess. But even with limited storage, if you don't post a lot of pictures or you only upload pictures at low resolution, that limited space may be unlimited for your purposes.

  • Are the photos there for the foreseeable future, or will the service erase the files eventually? Some services don't limit the amount of space you can have on a server, but do limit how long you can have it there. Some services, like FotoTime, give you 30 days to decide whether or not you like their service. If you don't subscribe by the end of that period, they delete the images in your storage space (Figure 11.7).

    Figure 11.7. FotoTime offers excellent free album software for both the Mac and the PC. But you must pay to maintain your storage at the site.



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