Photo sharing services for a club

A decade ago, I wrote an article about a photo sharing service for groups called ZangZing. Sadly, it didn’t survive as a business, nor did PhotoRocket, which was mentioned in the comments.

Subsequently, I found and used Yogile, which ticked most of the boxes but just didn’t excite me the way ZangZing did. On the plus side, it’s a small, profitable company that has stuck around for many years. I even mentioned it briefly in TidBITS in 2012.

I’m faced once again with the problem of how an arbitrary group (ie, I don’t want to make accounts for everyone) can share photos that anyone can access without a lot of manual effort. Apple’s Photos and Google Photos both nibble around the edges of the problem, but ultimately, they’re designed for individuals. Yogile is still around and is the leading contender I’ve found so far. (There’s another service called DropEvent, but for multiple events, its pricing gets stupid expensive—$2000 per year, and that’s for only 25 events.) You can see how Yogile works (for 7 days, since this is a free test account) in these race pictures, including a few of my friends:

My question is if anyone knows of any other photo sharing services that are aimed at groups. The criteria I laid out when writing about ZangZing still apply (and I think Yogile has all but the last two):

  • Easy upload of photos. For me, that means uploading from iPhoto, but it should be equally easy to upload from any folder. If uploading is too hard, it simply won’t happen. Ideally, uploading photos shouldn’t even require an account, since that’s a significant hurdle for many people.

  • The capability for multiple people to upload to the same album. This should be the killer feature, since the entire goal is to collect photos from different photographers.

  • URL-based sharing of individual albums. I want to be able to share the album with people via email, often on mailing lists, so I want to be able to send it myself rather than relying on the service to do it for me.

  • Simple access controls for both viewing and uploading. Some events are completely public, like a major festival. Others are public, but the participants may behave (and thus be photographed) in ways they wouldn’t want just anyone seeing — consider a large Halloween party. And while posting compromising photos (“Our Trip to the Brothel!”) is clearly just dumb, it’s still conceivable that you might want to share photos with a small group and password-protect access to them.

  • The capability for anyone to edit a photo’s metadata. Here, I’m mostly thinking about the names of people in the photo — at many events, only some people will know who certain people are.

  • Social features, such as commenting. Many photos are improved with the context that can be provided by a brief description, and photos may also serve as launchpads for conversation.

Any recommendations? It’s hard to research this topic because of keyword overlap and the fact that a lot of promising services never managed to find a sustainable business model, like ZangZing and PhotoRocket.

What about an email group?

I use to handle mailing lists, and it can also handle group documents, databases, and images. There’s a paid level and a free level. The paid level is $100 per year, but it allows you to create subgroups, so people can be placed in different subgroups. Users can handle their own account by subscribing and unsubscribing from the different groups (you can setup if they need your approval or not to join a group).

Hmmm, ‘aimed at groups’ is the issue. I’ve not had to consider that. Flickr Pro would have 1, 2-ish (with shared login), 3, 5 and 6. But not 4 at all. But multiple users of varying involvement… hmm. Kind of surprising nothing comes to mind.

In this case, I don’t think so, because it would largely be replicating what we’re already doing with Discourse. It’s certainly possible to share photos in Discourse threads, but it’s not an ideal viewing environment, and they tend to disappear.

Yeah, it really does seem to be an unusual desire. Or rather, it’s a somewhat common desire that’s not met by hardly anything, despite several companies appearing and disappearing in the space over the years. What surprises me is that none of the major photo sharing services have added features to support groups in a real way since they have all the basics covered otherwise.