CNET's Webshots, one of the world's first photo-sharing sites which launched back in 1999 and has had 10 billion photos uploaded on it since, relaunched today. The new Webshots comes with a brand new design, a bigger quota, and plans to move into video. Included also are new sections of the site and a more seamless process of uploading and sharing.
First of all, let me start on the new design. I'm really glad they decided to take this step and their well-researched effort certainly shows. Something noticeable is that they offer two other colors and versions to their red-centric theme (for all the non-red-lovers): green and blue. It is notable that this change hasn't been implemented in all of their pages on the site (infact most, as of today) – but I'm guessing the change will come through sometime soon. Meanwhile, for a quick comparison, here is their new design (left) to their old one (right) – big difference.
Business Plan and Limit
Something they've also decided to change in their relaunch is their quota, business plan, and what they have to offer. While it isn't a dramatic change, it is one that I think keeps intact with what most other services offer today. They basically have two types of membership accounts to offer: free and premium. In their new system, members on a free account can upload upto 1,000 photos with an 100 photos added to their quota every month (as opposed to just 250), and those on premium accounts which cost approximately $2.50 per month ($30 per year) can do 5,000 photos with 500 added to their toll.
This is an interesting business plan and certainly one that I haven't seen before – they're going by the number of photos (which, by the way, have a 1.5MB limit on each) than on a fixed MB/GB storage. If you work it out, presuming each photo is 1.5MB, it adds up to about 3.3GB of storage for the first year, then 1.8GB added every year and so on – relatively a really good offer. It's great to see them up this and for their current users, no doubt it will mean a positive change.
They don't stop here, oh no, they've also lined up something more fascinating, perhaps the most of all: video. Coming November of this year, users will be able to upload and share video. Like YouTube, they also plan to encode the videos into a universally-excepted Flash format. In today's growing age of media sharing, as we all know, photo storage and sharing simply isn't enough (hint hint, Flicker) – video is becoming much easier to manage and to organize, and added to the prices of video cameras which are rolling-down extensively, more people are starting to make use of it, and people simply aren't going to go to you for photos.
Webshots is currently the third most-used photo sharing site, coming marginally after PhotoBucket and Yahoo! Photos, and beating ImageShack and Flickr (although not by much). Their current users are certainly going to love the changes they've made, and added that video is coming, I have no doubt they'll be gaining some in the next few months. Although, the question is, what would it take for them to truly excel in front of their competition – is a new design, more storage, and the added capability of video enough?