Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Snap Shots previews - now brought to you by...

If you use Snap Shots to allow your site visitors to see where hyperlinks will lead them (uses small screen shots as visual cues), be aware that they've decided to monetize their little endeavor. (see their newsletter announcing this)

You may think - I'm alright, I never signed up for Snap Shots, never deployed it on my site - but beware - if you have a or Blogger-based blog, you have Snap Shots. So now your blog has advertising courtesy said service. Without your express permission.

I know it's ignorant to imagine that this wouldn't happen. MONETIZE IT! is the rallying cry around the web these days. It's just a damn shame that Snap Shots couldn't have warned us, that and Blogger couldn't have allowed us to opt out, that Snap Shots only exampts .gov & .edu sites - instead of including .org sites (which many educational and governmental institutions use) in the mix. I'm very disappointed that this potentially useful service decided to sneak things in through the back door like this. I'll never trust them again. Anyone know of another hyperlink preview service that I can use - one that (even if I have to pay for it up front) will be straightforward with me about what their little previews will include?


Anonymous said...

Hi, Sharon,

Saw your post and wanted to respond.

First off, I'm sorry that you're unhappy with our decision to include advertising within Snap Shots.

Rest assured that we value your opinion and actually gave all of our users numerous opportunities to comment on potential monetization options for several months on our and which has been announced repeatedly via email.

In no way we did just sneak this on our users without significant warning.

As for considering alternative services, I monitor them daily and here's why I think they'll make you appreciate Snap Shots more:

1. Snap's level of performance--it's MUCH faster.

2. Snap's breadth of offerings--12 different Snap Shots covering everything from Wikipedia to Flickr to YouTube.

3. Snap's dedication to a quality user experience with multiple sizing, link icons, and a simple opt-out.

4. Snap's minimal advertising. Snap Shots are about 25% advertising. The others are 75-100%.

It's taken a team of 32 employees a full year of development to get to this point. It's also very expensive to deliver 16 million Snap Shots every day. We have dozens of servers, massive connections, etc.

And while we've experimented with other forms of recouping this investment, short of asking you to pay Snap Shots, advertising seems the best solution.

Truly, if you have other solutions, we would gratefully appreciate hearing them.

Also, we considered exempting .org sites from advertising along with .edu and .gov, but decided not to because anyone can launch a .org site. For example, is a political parody site.

All things considered, I hope you'll appreciate the huge commitment we've made to making a quality product that touches 35 million people in 43 languages 500 million times every month. And that you'll make the decision to stick with us and continue to hold us to delivering the best we possibly can.

Warmest regards,

Paul Angles
Marketing Director

Sharon c. said...

In fairness to Snap Shots & in the spirit of openness in blogging, I wanted to publish the comment you see above.

I'll be in touch with Snap Shots to further the conversation. Perhaps there are additional options for our own site that would not include advertising - since it is against my site (and probably many other libraries') to not include advertising. I'll let you all know what the conversation yields.