SmugMug is one of those rare Web 2.0 companies that has the temerity to charge for their photo-hosting and sharing service. A poster child among startups that are utilizing Amazon.com’s Web Services, SmugMug has built a reputation as a quirky but well-managed startup that is profitable and is said to have annual revenues of around $10 million a year.
How do they do it? By offering a dead simple and easy-to-use service, which starting today includes HD video-hosting as part of the power user and pro-package. SmugMug is going to allow you to upload and share HD videos via its service, which can be played back using QuickTime. The new higher-definition video support means that videos will be accessible over a plethora of devices, including PlayStation 3, the iPhone and the iPod. The maximum size of video support: 1280×720 video, which makes it easy to watch on those lush plasma screens in the living room.
They will roll out a Flash version relatively soon. Up until recently, they were allowing limited MPEG-1 video playback support. The service isn’t cheap: $150 a year. The benefits include clips that last up to 5 minutes and can be uploaded. There is also a $60-a-year power user package that allows you to upload DVD-quality videos that are up to 2.5 minutes long.
Now this is not a YouTube-like video-sharing service; it is meant to be used more as a personal multimedia vault. From that perspective, SmugMug is worth the price. It is built for uploading memories, and sometimes those memories include stupid pet tricks.