142 Comments

Summary:

Webshots, one of the original photo-sharing companies founded in the 1990′s, is re-launching this fall after coming under new ownership again, attracting top Silicon Valley investors as the group works to achieve the difficult task of promoting older photo-sharing sites in the age of Facebook.

iPhone Camera Roll
photo: Ki Mae Heussner

Believe it or not, Webshots, the photo company founded in the mid 1990s, is still hanging around, but soon its service will go by a slightly different name after another change in company ownership. Threefold Photos plans to announce Tuesday that it has purchased Webshots and will re-launch the product this fall, transitioning it to become a more modern photo experience called Smile by Webshots.

Threefold Photos (see disclosure below) has purchased Webshots from American Greetings for an undisclosed sum, and has taken investments from groups and individuals including Freestyle Capital, True Ventures, Chris Sacca, Biz Stone, Mike Hirshland, and others.

Smile will roll out a variety of features this fall, but core to the experience will be a photo stream aggregating user photos that are easily searchable and shareable, targeting a user demographic that might not always upload to Facebook or iCloud. However, it’s hard to say how a photo-sharing site can compete in the age of Facebook and Instagram, which dominate the photo upload and sharing experiences. Older photo sites like Photobucket and Flickr have certainly struggled to find new footing.

Webshots was founded in 1995, and by 1999 had moved the product into photo-sharing as well as the original screensavers and wallpaper. In 1999, the founders sold Webshots to Excite@Home for $82.5 million in stock. In 2001 Excite@Home declared bankrupcy, and the founders purchased Webshots back for $2.5 million. In 2004, CNET bought Webshots for $71 million, which sold it to American Greetings for $45 million in 2007. Former Webshots executives Julie Davidson, Narendra Rocherolle and Nick Wilder are now on the Board of Directors for Threefold Photos.

Beginning Tuesday, existing Webshots users will start receiving notices that their photos will be migrated to Smile, which currently has iPhone and desktop apps, with Android coming within a month. Rocherolle and CEO Mike Sitrin explained in an interview that they want Smile to be the easiest way to search and share photos, although they were light on specifics as they focus on transitioning existing users to the new service.

Disclosure: Threefold Photos is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.

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  1. Gregory Lewis Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    Hi, I’ve actually been a member since 1995……Will the new Smile affect my current membership in any way? To be somewhat redundant, I’ve been with you guys since the beginning….Good Luck with,”SMILE”……Gregory Lewis

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  2. If “Smile” is not ready to fully launch, why did they ask us to transition to a new platform and disable our photo download features? Like many other paid member, all I want is just a place where I can download some professional photos to my desktop. I’m not interested in their networking functions at all. However, after I followed their email to convert to the new platform, I couldn’t do anything with Webshots at all. I could not download any photos, so I tried to cancel my subscription. Guess what? That didn’t work either. How could they do this when they’re not ready for a transfer? Paiid members are the biggest victims.

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    1. I am at a loss, this isn’t good business number one, and obviously, you haven’t many happy followers. Though you may just shake your head at all of us, we are PAYING and without our monies, you all haven’t much. PLEASE let us know how we can SIMPLY, click into your sight, look at our Daily Photos, and download what we want. You may be all excited, but WE AREN’T, and actually, we don’t want to bare with you during the transition, we just want what we PAID FOR. Don’t YOU? I am very disappointed and obviously, I’m not alone. Come on guys, get with it and let us all know what to do……. Marylou

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      1. I feel exactly the same, and also a paid member

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      2. I agree. I can’t get my webshots pictures to do anything. I have the same fish looking at me everytime I log into my computer. You forced us to download it, but then it doesn’t work. How about refunding our money. I want my Webshots back and they better work when you get yourselves straightened out!

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    2. I too am not happy. I have had Webshots for 14 years and my primary usage was for wallpaper and screensavers and the calendar. I did what they said and now I’m having all kinds of problems. Screensaver shuts down showing a black screen, wallpaper doesn’t give an option for Smile. I too have been a paid member and would like the old webshots back!!! The old Webshots was user friendly. This one is a horror show. It they can’t straighten it out, I would like my money back.

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      1. I agree totally. Paid member for years and now I go in and no albums.. Where are my paid for pictures? I am so not happy about this I could cry! What did you finally do? Ever get your pics back?

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    3. Jean Chao – thank you for stating what I’ve been thinking and wondering! My biggest quesion is where the hell are my screen savers? Like you, I could not be less interested in the networking…all I want are my pictures back and have no clue where they are! What a mess and what a lousey way to introduce themselves…. Jo Anne aka arizonaroper

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    4. I was going to post a new post but I can pretty much recite yours, Jean Chao, to describe my experience exactly on my laptop. Now, the Smile Icon appears on the lower right corner of my computer but the library of pictures that I had do not scroll on the desktop properly. Some pictures appear too close and others do not fit the laptop dimensions. i am also not interested in networking functions. I do not own a smart phone and I don’t text. I still have a flip phone, my Christ’s Sake, and I am dragging my feet on making changes I deem unnecessary for me. I have also seen pictures appear on my desktop that I did not download from Webshots and I do not want. I resent the CONTROL Smile seems to have over my laptop, particularly when there is no one I can call to discuss this with! I see it as an unsolicited INVASION. However, anyone from this Threefold Photos can call me to tell me specifically how I can maintain my current usage of the photos I have in my library, many of which are mine. (239) 247-0339

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  3. James Williams Thursday, October 4, 2012

    All I want is to be able to download pictures to my Desktop to use as a screensaver and background pictures. I also like the feature where I can put up a calender on my screen in the Old Webshots. I was able to recommend the Old webshots to one of my Nephew (he liked the Calender too) when he asked about the calander on my screen.
    They have a section where people can upload pictures. It shouldn’t be to hard for them to add photo sharing to the Webshots program for those subscribers that want to share photos. All they are doing is pissing off all those subscribers that want to use it for a screensaver.
    I was able to download Smile and found it far less capable than The Webshots program they are dicontinuing. I won’t be using The Smile software They have lost a customer. The only way to get me back is to bring back the old Webshots.

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    1. Yes I agree, I miss the calender also, and the screensaver does not change or even come on,i have to go to the old webshots icon and click start screensaver, that’s not right.. I do not think I will become a member of this cheap version of a webshots program. I am with you the other had a lot of options and was perfect. I miss the calender, I know I said it before but I really do. It is not worth that kind of money with all of those options taken away. That’s it fort pit!!!!!

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    2. Couldn’t have said it better! That’s exactly my issue! I’ve been a member since my first computer…..way back when!!! Screensaver doesn’t work. Can’t restore my old one! Lost the pictures I had. I’ll go back too if they bring back the ‘old Webshots’!!! Think they’ll listen to any of their customers?????

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      1. Me too! I’ve been a customer since mid 90′s. Seems like at the very least we could have received an email telling us this MAJOR change was going to happen. The update happened when I turned on my computer yesterday, it crashed and I now don’t have any screensaver, calendar etc. That is ALL I want. I haven’t received an email from my customer service request. VERY disappointed, what was wrong with Webshots? I don’t mind change but sheesh don’t inconvenience me while you do it!

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    3. Tonyandshelia Ostroski Monday, October 8, 2012

      i have to agree….i have nothing but problems as well

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  4. I, like James W. above, enjoyed Webshots as my screensaver and a place to display my select photos in a pleasing display. Now, 3 Fold Photos with this SMILE program want to load ALL my photos for whomever to view. I have NO desire to share my pix. Poor move new adventure capitalists!
    And to boot, the WS calendar seems frozen to Oct. 3 for . . . ever?
    What a loser!!

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  5. They’ve lost more than one customer. I’m another paid member who can’t get the new software to work, and won’t be joining Smile. If Webshots are so worried about their future, maybe they should stop alienating the customers they already have

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    1. i just want MY pictures back! I am a paid member for a long time. Sheeze a bit of notice would have been nice so we could have backed up our pics

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  6. How is “Smile” an improvement over downloading photos for screensavers?

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  7. Hi, I think they turned it into a cheap program, that is the new Smile webshots. I do not think that I will be using this new program.

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  8. There are curretly 975 posts on the Smile Webshots blog about the poorly handled transfer from Websots to Smile. The vast majority of these comments are very negative and I have added to this list of negative comments! I am a long standing user of Webshots since its inception and a paid user since 2000 and my membership was automatically renewed in mid-September and my credit card automatically billed for another year. I have sent emails and tried to get a refund but so far no luck. Smile is the worst pre-launch or beta release of a web service that I’ve ever encountered and the online community needs to stand-up and shut-down this mess called “Smile”. I’m sure somebody, somewhere is grinning about this but it’s surely not existing Webshot members!

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  9. So Nick and Narendra, two of the original founders of Webshots in 1995 are taking back their company by being on the Board of Directors of Threefold Photos, Inc. They sold it in 1999 for $82.5 million in stock, repurchased it and sold it again in 2004 for $71 million in cash, and have now repurchased it in 2012. Why worry what customers think when they have a cash-cow like that? Yesterday I was able to post a negative comment on smile.webshots.com, but today they have blocked all comments and their help line does not work so all customers have been abandoned.

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  10. I HATE IT … HATE IT … HATE IT!!! …

    You have lost ALL MY ALBUMS and all the HARD WORK I put in researching my photos to let my friends and the community know just what it is that they were looking at and a little bit of history about the places I had photographed …

    Once I retrieve all my photos (MINUS MY COMMENTS) I WILL be cancelling my account …

    OH! The friends I have lost … and the Camaraderie … from the community … This is a SORRY, SORRY DAY for us … AND DO YOU CARE … YOU SAY YOU DO … DO I BELIEVE YOU … THAT IS A RESOUNDING NO!!!!! NO!!!! NO!!!! Otherwise you would have, firstly let us all know what was happening … and done more research into how to save our Shots as they were and in the way WE had presented them … before changing ANYTHING ….

    To be honest I think you fellows have made the BIGGEST mistake of your lives in changing Webshots as all the Serious Photographers will be heading elsewhere. I know my friends that I have already spoken to are in the process of doing just that … I sincerely hope that this site falls into a HUGE HEAP …

    I have tried to download your new Smile desktop so I can still have a wallpaper and screensaver, but my Virus Checker is telling me not to, as it may not be SAFE!!

    Also … just what will happen to all the BEAUTIFUL photos I have lovingly downloaded from my friends and the community … WILL I LOOSE THEM TOO????

    I AM A VERY VERY VERY UNHAPPY CAMPER!!!!!!

    R.I.P Webshots …

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    1. Totally agree! I have scores and scores of albums on Webshots and they and the captions for all the photos will be lost. Why on earth would I want to say with Smile????

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    2. I agree , having problems getting my photos back. Cant get webshots to send my photos to be via zip.
      Sad to see webshots go

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    3. I could not have said it better Trish.

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  11. This is totally irritating I tried to get new desktop back grounds only to discover there is a change at Webshots. Great if I could find the download for the “Smile” software. I am kind of leaning to call it quits with this Webshots / Smile. Mostly because the change occurred before it was completed to be user friendly. Shame you will be losing customers.

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  12. I could go on and on listing reasons why, but I’ll just say that this new product, “SMILE” is completely worthless! Count me out!

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  13. It is the worst transition of a website/program I have ever seen in my 30 years as a user. They should abandon it and start from scratch if they want to keep their customers.

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    1. Tonyandshelia Ostroski Monday, October 8, 2012

      i am not using this smile……it is not worth this bull shit to put up with not being able to download pics of any thing I like to look at for screen saver or back ground pics thanks webshots smile you lost me as a customer and alot of my friend and family as well

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  14. It is obvious that the direction of the new owners is not the direction that many of us would like them to go. Does anyone know of a site that could replace webshots? Downloading professional pictures to screensavers, with a colander for starters. I have also submitted a request to cancel my membership and since you may no longer download from webshots, what is the point. Smile? What is there to smile about?

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  15. So, every single link to every photo that I have ever placed in a forum in the last 14 years will be dead.

    My photos currently get tens of thousands of views a month.

    Premium member, have been for close to 14 years now.

    It wasn’t broken and it didn’t need fixing. If they were having trouble covering costs, they should have proposed a rate increase. I would have paid it. They never even proposed it.

    No more photo sharing for me, screw it.

    These a-holes will probably get the new site up and running, and three years from now, a whole new group of a-holes will come along, and break it all over again.

    Effing idiots.

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  16. The previous comments pretty well cover what I have just experienced while trying to make sense out of this mess. So far I haven’t found the source to uninstall this ball up. I didnn’t use the old one a lot, but did like the calendar and the changing desktop features. I will get rid of it as soon as possible, but don’t know what to do about all the photos it uploaded before I realized what was going on. Too Bad.

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  17. does anyone know how to remove the webshotsupplant.exe from my computer? I don’t want to belong to the new site nor do I want this pesky exe file appearing every time I boot up.

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  18. Webshots greatest features were and are the screen saver and the Calender and with the new product they get left out, why did you throw us under the bus please explain

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  19. Marilyn
    11th October 2012
    I also am a paid member of webshots Tried that Smile and did not like it one bit it didn’t run properly on my computer They need to bring back the old Webshots as they will lose a lot of their paying members and I will be one of them as I will not be using it

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  20. Webshots has lost another client because the calendar has gone.

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  21. I have. Loaded Smile on to a laptop which has windows Xperia. Now I cannot get passed the screen saver photos to my desktop!
    M M D

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  22. i’ve been a premium member for over 10 years. i think i am cancelling because of smile. members should have been notified of the change and you should not have self installed it on my pc. it doesn’t even look finished. why are there not many options for the screensaver and wallpaper and i can’t even get out of the screensaver unless i hit escape. what was wrong with just moving the mouse. so i uninstalled it and tried to just use webshots and now that doesn’t work anymore. i can’t even reinstall smile, your download link doesn’t work. so now i’m stuck with nothing. you just lost another member, and counting

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  23. Mine came in an update and appeared to me as though it was new ‘smiley faces’ . I pressed yes and I have no pictures, no screen saver, no anything that was good. The ‘smile’ should be turned upside down – I hate this, when we have no options. I’m still fumin’ after the loss of PictureIt! Why should we even use a computer if they can just simply force us into a situation where we can not work with out pictures! New owners – if you want customers, you aren’t going to keep them or get new ones with all this negativity out there! I’m out!

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  24. Ditto all of the above-what a mess!

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  25. There should be a class action law suit. I woke up this morning with Webshots Desktop uninstalling and Smile Installing on to my computer without my permission. I don’t like the new program it’s ugly and it doesn’t work. Why am I paying a company to force a new program that is flawed when the original worked just fine. I really wish I could cancel my account but I can’t even do that.

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    1. Not only do I agree with all the comments above, but I AGREE there should be a lawsuit. I had purchased photos from another site and uploaded them to my Webshots.. I also had original photos of my own that I uploaded to Webshots so I could use it as wallpaper. NOW when I went through “there auto install” which has a file named “crash clients webshots” I about lost it. They watermarked MY PHOTOS and others I purchased and downloaded to my computer, then uploaded to Webshots and have marked them as WEBSHOT COPY RIGHTS…. I asked them how they could do that.. Their answer…. we have no idea where the pics come from so we made sure we watermarked them all with WEBSHOTs Copy Right… and they will stay that way… ISN’T THAT ILLEGAL??? How can they copy right a product that was NOT their’s to start with, but actually copy right by the original artist…. The invaded my privacy, hacked into my computer and now my over 110 albums are lost completely. All their instructions do NOT do what they say. Now they stop answering emails completely.. Seems fishy to me and wish I knew how I could somehow get my albums back…… But, I cannot find a way.

      On the Webshot community BLOG, there was a guy who said he still had his old webshots and that Smile would never get ahold of his pictures.. However, I asked if he could share how he did that, OR how to get our albums so that it is not a file that cannot be opened in any other format… But so far no response.. Does anyone know how to do that? IF SO It would be great to have some feedback.. Or contact me directly at GBsAngels@Aol.com… thanks

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  26. this sucks!!!!!!! I have enjoyed your photos for years. why on earth did you have to fuck up one of the few things in my life i enjoyed. thanks?????

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  27. I have uninstalled Smile and downloaded the old Webshots from CNET……..do it while you can. Then do not update. At least you will still have your webshots desktop.

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    1. Thanks Robin. I just got a new computer and did not want to install Smile. I have downloaded Webshots from CNET and it works fine.

      Thanks Again, Joan

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    2. Which version did you download. I went to CNET and saw Webshots Desktop AND just WEBSHOTS… Can you share which you downloaded and it worked for you?

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    3. Robin, Can you tell me if there is a way to BLOCK Smile from hacking into the computer and changing the new download of WEbshots on my computer?

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  28. Aldo Lee
    I am so upset because after several emails of inquires I still don’t know what happened to my 91.000 pictures I had on Webshots! I have been also one of the earliest members and it too me numerous years to gather my photo collection. And where is it now? They keep repeating to be patient and that they are having many problems! Very reassuring tactic! I fear that after they will say the 2 weeks time to transfer are expired and my photos got lost! 2 weeks ago I gave both of them my email but received nothing but numbers for my case.
    What good is that? At least a word of reassurance that my pictures are safe! I am not in any other hurry, they are!
    Very disappointed!
    Aldo Lee

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  29. This really sucks.
    I can’t believe that a brand that has such a good reputation can make such a catastrophic transition to a new version. I have also been using Webshots since the mid 90′s as my screensaver and wallpaper to capture all my memories from that period. Then this morning I turn on my machine and Webshots uninstalls my application with out any notification or approval and I have lost all my memories. Something has to be done!

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  30. I can’t even figure this out! I have ONE desktop picture and I don’t know how to change it! Am I going to lose ALL of the hundreds of Webshots photos I’ve downloaded over the years? It says something about verifying my membership? HOW? This is crazy!

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  31. All I want is the rotating professional photo’s like webshots used to do. I do not want the wallpaper. HELP, HELP, HELP, I am about ready to say GOODBY. How do I get my revolving photo’s like I had from webshots????

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  32. I sent Smilke an email and they basically told me they wouldn’t honor my present subsciption which in my opinion is a rip off. My sub. runs out 07/14/2013, a person by the name of Corey Nelson told me that I wouldn’t be givin credit forward after Dec. 1st and no refund for the remainder after that date……try this number and bug the crap out of them 1-800-222-8815 about this issue, somebody needs to be held accountable and not just sweep this thing under the rug, i got a feeling this post won’t stay up long before they take it down, but i will be contacting the BBB ….smells like a class action suit waiting to happen.

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    1. This number directs me to http://www.support.webshots.com which we all know is useless!

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  33. I did some digging and found this “Smile Webshots Re-imbursement” site, for any of you wanting to get some of you subscription fee refunded (albeit pro-rated), put this site in you search bar and fill it out>>> http://smile.webshots.com/refund.html this site can also be found on the Webshots blog site>>>> http://blog.webshots.com/ scroll down about a 1/4 of the way and you will see “Note to Members Re: Refund Requests” you will find the refund link in this section….Good Luck!!!!

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    1. Sent an email to support@webshots.com.
      It went into the vapors. Nothing.
      I smell a class action lawsuit cooking.

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  34. I have been a member since 1997 and 40,000 photos on my screensaver. My technician transferred my photos to Smile and my computer would freeze forcing me to shut down and restart 5 times on the first night. He just uninstalled Smile, downloaded webshots software, still available and downloaded all my 40,000 photos back on my screensaver. Without public sharing and unlimited downloading, who needs Smile, really!

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  35. Hey American Greetings! You know what you got for your $45 million? You got bupkiss, because you haven’t given us any of the features that we purchased the Webshots program for. We want to be able to have our Wallpapers rotate, we want to be able to download photos that we WANT, not be forced to have photos downloaded that we don’t want and we want to be able to figure out how to use the d*** program. You are going to lose BIG TIME!. Give us back our old features or ALL of you customers are history!

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  36. As a loyal Webshots member since the mid 90’s I thought the application was great and used as my Screensaver and Wallpaper on all computers. I download thousands of professional photos from their Website.

    Further, I do not think that I will be a customer for Smile and I have no use for cloud based photo management.

    However, I am really annoyed that this new company keeps removing the Webshots application from my computer and upgrading it to Smile without my permission. It is not even functional as a screensaver and desktop ap! I have reloaded Webshots form CNET but whenever my machine is rebooted the software again uninstalls Webshots and installs Smile… again without permission.

    This is shocking and totally unacceptable. All I want to do is continue to run an unsupported version of Webshots to continue to view all my professional photo archive, and then l I find another Wallpaper and Screensaver application.

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  37. Webshots sent me a notice that I could download my photos at Webshots, but the link is invalid! I refuse to download Smile (which told me I MUST allow the new program!). I will miss all the great photos, the calendar, wallpaper and screensaver. I too saw all the negative comments before they shut down the site forum. I am angry about the way they have made this change, with no warning to Webshots users. One day I had it…the next it was gone. Really great way to run a business. I predict that ‘Smile’ is going to turn into a ‘Frown’, when previous users leave in droves and find new photo sharing sites!

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  38. I, like the rest of the others here, will not use Webshot. It doesn’t serve my need anymore. And I hate the new SMILE by Webshot.

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    1. The biggest issue I face with loosing webshots is that the screensaver and wallpaper use the two file types. jpg for the actual photo and the wb1 file fo rthe photo data. Smile does not use the wb1 file which means all of the photos I use as screensaver and wallpaper will now not have a descrition for them. I do not use webshots to share photos but only use the wallpaper and screensaver program.

      I can sympathise with all of the photographers that use webshots site as photos sharing site and the loss of this site will form a huge hole in sharing photos

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  39. I lost most of the functionality that I use as a member for many years. I have downloaded hundreds or even thousands of professional photos, but with the new Smile Desktop I am unable to even change the wallpaper automatically. Also the screensave is never as it used to be, so I am not happy at all.

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  40. I lost all of my photo who the hell want smile desktop could not change my photo it keep flicking all the time so I am stuck with one that would not come off my desktop,got it off desktop left black we want our old program back..please

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  41. I don’t like this!! No screen saver, no pictures – but they have my membership fee!! Plus – I can’t get it to work with what they do have available. Keeps asking for me to sign up???? Pretty dissapointed in the whole mess!

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  42. I can’t get to my account page, if they still have it. At least they can’t charge on it anymore because the expiration date has expired. Eventually they will have to account for the monitary gain they have for these months we can’t download and what we have lost. They said the calendar is coming back. They say a lot of things. Time will tell. They have a lot of work to do for the launch first of the year. However I would think we would see improvements while they are doing them. I’m thinking this is all there is!

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  43. Wow – one massive cock-up is unfolding right in front of us.
    I’ll be following this one to see what happens.

    I will lose hundred and hundreds of links to webshots photos in many discussion fora I think.
    Some I will be able to edit and re-construct, some I won’t.

    Nice one Smile :(

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  44. I followed Smile’s complicated instructions, in order to transfer my Webshots photos to Smile. Somehow Smile transferred every imaginable photo from facebook. Not just all of my fb photos, that I didn’t want in Smile, but hundreds, maybe thousands of my fb friends fb photos, including everybody’s profile pic, fb advertisement photos, scads of pics I’ve never seen before, hundreds smaller than a postage stamp! I’m also a very frustrated paying Webshots customer.

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  45. Agapeluv, I agree with what everyone is saying my pics were on webshots so I could save them, and share with my family. Now I can’t even find them. There were many years of photos I had on webshots. I too had screen savers saved and desktops photos I can’t find them anywhere. I’m afraid to delete smile until I hope can help me find my saved pictures. This is more than a rip off. You have taken years of pictures that are irreplaceable to me of my family and more.I wish I had never downloaded your program.

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  46. Please write a follow-up article to this horribly botched ‘transition’. Smile is installed on a PC without the user’s consent which has caused major issues. People can’t find their photos, they can’t download their photos. If you need to talk to a real person, good luck. There is no email or phone contact information. The owners are nowhere to be found. They won’t even respond on their own Smile Facebook page. Please check out some of the comments – it will blow your mind. https://www.facebook.com/webshots?vhost=www

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  47. Oh good, its not just me. When Norton warned me not to download this program, I started doing some searching, wondering if I was just being a luddite and not wanting change. Nope – its about sharing on different devices that I don’t even use. Apparently, based on the comments above, if you do download the new site, all sorts of problems happen. Over the years we have downloaded tons of photos of places we have visited, mainly for websavers but also for sharing. They are all gone. Im incredibly unhappy about this. What were they thinking? I do hope that they take a look at comments like these. It not, they are going to take a very big fall.

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  48. I’ve been a paying member since 1995. I’ve gifted many with paid memberships and have turned on many others to the blessed images of webshots.

    I don’t want a refund. I WANT A DECENT APPROXIMATION OR BETTER OF THE OLD WEBSHOTS. AND I WANT THE HIDEOUS HUGE COPYRIGHT NOTICE oblitering many Scriptures on many photos webshots had NOTHING to do with TOTALLY REMOVED. Put a thin verticle copyright notice on the left margin. Sheesh what an unmitigated mess.

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    1. I AGREE 100% about the copy right issue. I bought pictures from another website with the idea that I would not be sharing them or sending them out without giving credit to the original artist and photograher in some cases. However, SMILE took not only that away from me and put me in an horrible position, but now they have WEBSHOT copy right all across every photo I had in my albums including my family photos etc. I do not think that is legal. Any ideas from anyone who we can contact regarding computer fraud or computer hacking of our personal property??? I’m open to suggestions…..

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  49. I really hope that the customers that paid will sue them for that. I happened to say I want the new Smile Webshots and they introduced a bug, mysearchresults.com which took over my home page. I got rid of it doing a restore point quickly enough and removing webshots, but now, whenever I turn on the computer, they want to install again the unfunctionnal Smile. Too bad, I loved my changing desktop and nice screensaver!

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  50. I do not want smile, I do not want to share my pictures with others, I do not want ‘friends’, I do not want it on my iphone or ipad. I pay to store my photos with you and access all the pro photos for my desktop and to access all of this by my shortcut on my desk. If I can keep that as it is, fine, but I do not want all this other stuff, including the fact the that the min. time I can display photos is 10 seconds, that there are automatic downloads, etc. There was no warning of this change, just changed when I started the computer up. I never received any notification of this change in advance.

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  51. Squeaky Wheel Sunday, October 28, 2012

    Updates on the search for a lawyer to bring a class-action suit against Threefold Photos/Smile by Webshots will be posted here: http://smilebywebshotssucks.com/

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  52. As all these disapointed clients say, I’m totally upset. Now I have a small pop up window telling me to accept a webshotsupplant.exe to get into my PC, and it shows as an unknown editor. How can a serious company launch such a thing. We all aoround the world, not only in the US are really desapointed with this. How can I know it isn’t a virus?

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  53. Mere words cannot describe the contempt i have for SMILE. How stupid are these idiots launching a product before it works. WE ALL NOW KNOW THIS SMILE DOES NOT WORK AT ALL!
    no matter how many updates and re install uninstalls i have done i can’t even delete a photo in one of my files and its a pic i don’t want to see on my screensaver or wall paper but there it is…and delete after delete it still remains.
    I find that this new Smile needs to make a trip to ACE or True Value, they are having a sale on balls, they might find it advisable to pick up a couple of pairs I am beginning to believe all these idiots are past Obama admin ppl and we all know the lying and actually no common sense.
    These Smile people should at least have a live chat 24/7 if only to appease or to actually solve the too many problems that are inherent with Smile
    I suspect if i was not a PAYING MEMBER I’d not give a ratz ask but I have paid for the Premium membership and I’m boiling mad

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  54. Don’t download the new smile program… it will move all your saved webshot desktop photos & place a huge new watermark in the lower left corner of your screen. On Win-7 it will sit behind desktop icons & looks really bad. It will also changes high resolution images to a lower quality & modify the ratio of saved files. If you’ve already downloaded do a system restore to get back webshots desktop, then uninstall the smile program as fast as possible.

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  55. I agree totally with Marylou, Jean Chao, James Williams, and what looks like the rest of your paying community. BRING BACK THE OLD WEBSHOTS. It was far more capable. This new Smile doesnt cycle my desktop pics.
    I think what most people wanted was a place to download high quality, attractive wallpapers and screensavers. Not a social media experience. Totally wrong direction Smile…

    Share
  56. I have to add. This is a classic case of trying to fix something that was NOT broken.

    Share
  57. Melissa Brookstone Sunday, November 4, 2012

    I just commented and then used facebook to login, but where did my long comment go???

    Share
    1. I don’t know, but it’s happened to me, enough times in the past! Now, before I post a comment or even send an email, I copy what I wrote, in case it gets lost. ♥

      Share
  58. Amenda Alexander Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    SMILE WEB SITE STINKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT LIKE WEBSHOTS BY FAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Share
  59. and how about us, the senior citizens? We have no choice but to pay for the subscriptions?

    Share
  60. Webshots was a wonderful website. I will never use Smile… I predict it will fold up like a tent… because no one is smiling. You can share pictures on face book… It is amazing that a popular web site could be transform into something that is nothing like the original. I have been to smile a couple times and there is nothing there…. what have they done? .sad to Webshots go… I will try to find another place to browse the world…I am not Smiling

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  61. I have been a Webshots member since windows 98… I have been able to change to smile on my Vista Computer,but my laptop is Windows 7 & won’t accept the change.What do I do?

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  62. I too have been a long time customer (1999 – paid member). I fortunately had my albums backed up so I haven’t lost anything. However I certainly won’t be moving to “Smile” – how ironic. Not sure if this will hwlp but to remove to startup file “webshotsupplant.exe” I suggest using CCleanrer. Under Tools > Startup you can disable or remove any file set to start automatically. Regarding refunds, I’m a Canadian user but no options for that on the refund page– am I surprised — not really. To get the old version search for “wbsamp5.exe (8.76 MB)” Someone suggested using both “S****” and Webshots in parallel, but should we really have to? I think not.

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  63. An alternative to Webshots is John’s Background Switcher (http://johnsadventures.com/software/backgroundswitcher/). I’m testing this presently.

    Share
    1. Thanks for that. I’m on it!

      Share
  64. Yup, they screwed a lot of people and instead of just making some improvements to the existing webshots to better compete with Facebook, Flickr, Picassa, etc. they re-write the entire thing and give it a new name. Webshots is dead, Smile is not even a replacement, its a brand new company, so I question what in the heck these people bought. All I know is they’ll lose their shirts cause Smile ain’t going nowhere but the toilet!

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  65. I am totally disgusted with this new Smile (what a misnomer) crappy imitation of the Old Webshots !!!
    I lost all my photos and could not use my downloaded old Webshots screensavers and I am a paid member since 1999 – not any more, I will be cancelling my credit card, that’s the only way to stop Smile from automatically deducting my subscription fees !
    Smile obviously care nothing for their customers – if they do not lift their game, BANKRUPTCY is their only reward ….
    Give us back the old Webshots & our photos – you may stand a chance of making this work …..

    H Tang

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  66. What I can’t understand is how you can take money for this crap. The old webshots…you got what you paid for. I am not Smiling now. You sent e-mails to change over to the future. This future appears bad. Get it right or go away. The network capabilities don’t appear to be important to anyone that cares. Give us back our simple pictures to download and our beloved calendar. When you add the new calendar you only get only month and are unable to get rid of the picture. I just need the calendar and more than one month to work.

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  67. I would like to know when the photo scenes I have that were transferred from the Webshots
    is not going to have a lot of print in over one-half what should be and could photo scenes.
    They have to be deleted – I did not put them there = my web.shots wee downloaded
    but not by me/
    jholsapp@nycap.rr.com

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  68. The new desktop app is useless. None of the previous features transfer and I don’t have the time for this. What a con! If the replacement features offered something useful, an improvement, I might be pleased. As it is I feel that money has been taken from me under false pretences. Webshots was perfect, this is not a Smile, but a heavy frown. I’ve been a paid member for 10 years and am not happy. Do we get a refund for the rubbish we are now expected to like?

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  69. I have to agree with ALL the people before me! I HATE SMILE!!! I am a paying customer who has been with Webshots for years and every day I want to be able to go there, look at my new pictures and download what I want. This new system does NOT WORK AT ALL… I can’t change my background or screensavers and I am over it… PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE bring my Webshots the way it was!!! It was perfect and I want it back!!!

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  70. You can bet this is about MAKING MONEY, not customer service and satisfaction. Investors will be chomping at the bit until they read these posts. If they don’t fix the bugs, investors might as well head to Vegas where they can lose as much money as they want.. As of right now, betting on “Smile” has not shown itself to be investment worthy if anyone involved gives a damn about the consumers.

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  71. Hi to everyone, i’m an italian paying member since the beginning of webshots. and like all of you i absolutely need to only dowload professional photos for my desktop and screen saver.
    I absolutely don’t need all that crap that they offer now.
    So i will ask for a refound(don’t think they’ll make it but need to try).
    i stopped downloading pro photos in may 2012 and would like to get at least the collection from may to september 2012.i went to webshots a week ago and found this “smile” instead of webshots.
    I asked this favour tho smile’s webmaster and they answered with a standard email saying nothing.
    well, maybe thousands emails unsucribing to smile will mean something to them…
    Just would like to ask to all of you, does any of you has just the collections from may2012 to sept2012?
    so i can complete all my collection from the beginning of webshots to the end.
    If any of you need some part of the whole webshots collections (19gb,from 1995 to may 2012) fell free to ask and will find the way to share it!

    Share
  72. It looks like I am joining dozens (or hundreds?) of other who are NOT AT ALL HAPPY WITH THE SMILE TAKEOVER of Webshots. Like many others, I have had Webshots for years . I have a large collection of their professional photos–and I have had a paid premium membership. My primary usage was for wallpaper and screensavers and the calendar. BUT NOW ALL THAT IS USELESS! I CANNOT OPEN ANY OF MY BEAUTIFUL WEBSHOTS PHOTOS after I got the new “smile” software. PLEASE SOMEONE, CAN YOU GIVE ME THE USER FRIENDLY OLD WEBSHOTS BACK ? No way I want anything to do with just another photo sharing site called Smile . It’s making me frown!!

    Share
    1. hey, sure i can give you the nice old webshots software, where can i post it for you?i stopped downloading my collection to april 2012, do you have the other daily from apri to sept 12?so i can complete my collection!!

      Share
      1. You can download the old webshots software but it will not install. I takes you to the webshots site and crashes the installation. As soon as possible I am cancelling my subscription. Smile is NO GOOD.

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  73. SMILE does not WORK. My folders gone and there is no discernible way to organize my photos. Now I have about 4,000 photos in SMILE in no particular order with no way to sort, search or filter them. The “action icons” are missing, except for the little heart, so there is no way to select more than one photo at a time for deletion. I suggest renaming the site FROWN, because that is what I am doing.
    Randy Lent

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  74. to everyone, why not build a big database with all the pro photos we have payed, so we can share and complete the whole collection and also the nice old webshots software??
    i’ll soon unsuscribe to smile, so if anyone is interested please contact me at khoxi@hotmail.com, actually i have the whole webshots collection from 1999 to april 2012 and missing from april 2012 to sept 2012..if anyone can help.
    Thanks!

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  75. Terrible software. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, EVER.

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  76. Smile is horrible. I will cancel and delete. It stinks!!!!!

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  77. As others mentioned, as a paying member, all I want is just a place where I can download some professional photos to my desktop.

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  78. I agree with all here. I’ve been very unhappy with the change over. I’m looking for an old version of Webshots to put back on. I’ve had nothing but problems with Smile.

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  79. Just found out about this when I tried to access my Webshots photos & to my suprise & horror there is nothing there. American Greeting can go to HELL

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  80. I HAVE BEEN USING WEBSHOTS TO UPLOAD MY PICS IN IT, BEFORE I SHARE THEM ON MY BLOG! AND NOW, ALL I SEE IS ‘TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE’ FOR ALL MY PICS FOR ALL THESE YEARS! OMG!!! I HAVE SINCE SWITCHED TO USING PHOTOBUCKET TO UPLOAD MY PICS, BUT MY OLDER POSTS WITH THOSE PICS WITH IT ARE ALL GONERS! IM SO LOST!!!!!

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  81. I HAVE BEEN USING WEBSHOTS TO UPLOAD MY PICS IN IT, BEFORE I SHARE THEM ON MY BLOG! AND NOW, ALL I SEE IS ‘TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE’ FOR ALL MY PICS FOR ALL THESE YEARS! OMG!!! I HAVE SINCE SWITCHED TO USING PHOTOBUCKET TO UPLOAD MY PICS, BUT MY OLDER POSTS WITH THOSE PICS WITH IT ARE ALL GONERS! IM SO LOST!!!!!

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  82. Just like so many users I , too, am disppointed by this switch to Smile….?
    I don’ t post pics on FB for very personal reasons. Webshots was the place where I would redirect my very close friends to view pics of my trips.

    Now I can’t even fimnd my albums. Where the hell are they??????????

    Colette

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  83. Chris Devereaux Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Well Smile sucks and no wonder. It is confusing and offers nothing the old webshots offered.

    Webshots has had problems from day 1, how to make money. It should have been an entertainment thing with a donate if you like our product.

    Chris Devereaux

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  84. I don’t like it. I liked the old one, where people sharred their photos and you could download them to your screen saver. now only profession pics. Bla…..Stinks

    Share
  85. Why aren’t my pictures displaying properly anymore? They are not filling up the entire desktop but leaving the desktop blank on the left and right. Can you fix this? Also, some pictures are way too close up, cutting off the rest of the picture.

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  86. how do I download video’s to send to friend

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  87. Webshots owners or management got too greedy and stupid to f….. up something that worked so beautifully.
    I am sure someone else will come up with even better program and webshots then can go and f.. themselves.

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  88. I am beyond pissed ALL my albums are gone including my sons birth I was never given a notice as to this change. I went to download some pictures for a Christmas present and they are all GONE over 15 albums are you serious?????? I hate this I am more than upset I am embarrassed I thought I could depend on an on line site. I will NEVER make that mistake again!!!!!!

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  89. It is really sad to see Webshots go, especially at the hands of the original creators. I used to have many beautiful landscape photos from Webshots, but lost most of them due to computer crashes, platform changes, etc. Thanks to all the photographers that posted those beautiful photos. They are in my heart forever! The end of WEBSHOTS, Is the END OF AN ERA!
    I understand that SMILE is all about posting kid pictures. FYI: No one really cares about those pictures except the kid’s relatives. And just so you know, SMILE is a moronic name.

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  90. Time for a class action guys. I have been shafted big time. 7 million hits & 1000′s of hours scanning & uploading GONE. Close on 1000 albums GONE. No warning, No nothing. The largest Outboard Motor Memrobiia website in the world GONE!!!!

    I AM DEVASTATED & YOU COULD NOT GIVE A TOSS.

    See you in court

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  91. what can we do?please if you want to share the old webshots photos i have the entire professional photos collection from 1999 to may 2012. then nothing.does anyone has the rest to sept ?(when they stopped uploading pro photos). If any one wants to share pro photos that we have payed please contact me at khoxi@hotmail.com obviously for free!i also have the webshots installer working if you need it.
    But wat can we do to make the old webshots standing on again?any ideas?does anyone knows how to contact the old owners?
    thanks!

    Share
  92. I was wondering what happened to all the photos i had put on Webshots awhile ago.?? do i have to upload them again or they are still there ?? thanks ann

    Share
  93. Ann Marie Clow Sunday, December 16, 2012

    what happened to all the photos i put up on web shot a while ago. Are they still up or do i have to upload them again thanks ann

    Share
  94. I personally do not like the new application, I and lots of others perfer the old application. Is it possible to make it optional for old timers like me? If not, I will be seraching for a new photo/screensaver company to choose from. I think you’re going to loose a lot of premium paying customers if they do not bring back the old app. Thanks for your time.

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  95. I’ve been a member since 2000 and I’m very dissappointed that the old app is gone. I personally do not like the new app. Why couldn’t you just update the older app? You have the technology. I’m very sad at this point and in the process of looking for a new company to provide what the old app provided all these many years of great services. Smile is probably not a bad company but you can’t, out of the blue, do a 180 and expect people to like. It’s bad business. I’ll miss the old unless you can bring back the old and just update it. Good-bye.

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  96. I even had a paid subscribtion and as a paid member, I should have been informed before the changes took place. I’m with KEN on this one, as well as many others. So, upsetting i want to screem. I guess greed always win out. This really sucks. If I had the resources i would start my own Webshots. There’s so much to say but I’ll be nice; the bigger of the two, even though you screwed us all.

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  97. If you want to stop Smile from installing and keep the old webshots and use it offline, see the post here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/wscommunity/discuss/72157631865562131/

    Share
  98. Ah, no need to discuss this any further. We all know the new company won’t survive till coming spring. Goodbye “Smile by webshots”…..

    Share
  99. This HORRIBLE takeover of our computers is rank!!!! The screensaver doesn’t cycle properly and all the olsd phots are displayed on a black screen. Who would even think of paying for such a mess. Also, has anyone read the terms of SMILE’s contract. It is abominable!!!
    DISSATISFIED

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  100. this is bull i never received an email and i can’t log into my account. i have been a member since the beginning. unbelievable

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  101. Today I have logged in to see the picture of my son with Santa Clause taken 4 years ago just to discover that the site is gone. It is horrible that the new site did not inform and allow me to down load my selected photos of important moments in my life.
    Smile by Webshots, you do not deserve to have a place in this world, go to hell!

    Share
  102. Sad to say that my retired husband has lost everything he put up on webshots.com after years of putting travel photos into unique and beautiful photo shows. The company offered zip files — but they are in total disarray and have lost all their tags and titles. It’s like someone ripped out thousands of photos from neatly planned albums and scattered them on a rug with no identifying information. Very poor ending to the story. We’re devastated. The people involved in this fiasco have not responded to anything and with this kind of publicity, they should head for the hills.

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  103. disgusted member Tuesday, December 25, 2012

    I HATE IT! Where did all my albums go. In the past I would create a separate album for trips I’ve taken and send the link to share the photos, with captions, to friends. The albums are gone and now all my photos are a messy collage for different albums and different parts of the world.

    If they can’t get their act together I will NOT renew my PAYING membership.

    Share
  104. so there is absolutely no way to access the old photos?! i am in disbelief! how could webshots do this? i have precious photos and memories dating back from the mid-late ’90s on webshots- from weddings, graduations, trips, and holidays/reunions.

    im desperate and begging for any help to retrieve these old webshots photos.. so please webshots or anyone, help me. there has to be a way to get the old photos :/

    kat
    kathryn.pictures@gmail.com

    Share
    1. Kathryn….. Are you sure they aren’t somewhere on your computer?
      Maybe you didn’t put them there, but Webshots may have.
      Start / Search / All files and folders… where part of the file name is ‘webshots data’…. and look for the .jpg files.

      Share
    2. Kathryn, go to your My Documents folder and look up Webshots Data folder and see if they aren’t in there.

      Share
  105. I’ve been a member for over 10 years and I’m disgusted with how they ‘ve treated their long term paying customers. all my photos came over in 1 clump 1000′ s of pics that were organized and now I have to spend my valuable time to fix all my memories, shame on you!!! I can’t even use the new application there is no tutorial or support. I will no longer do business with this company and I’m pretty sure THEY WILL HAVE A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT ON THEIR HANDS!

    Share
    1. Narendra Rocherolle Friday, December 28, 2012

      Webshots albums will be coming back as part of a a bunch of new search filters. The new service will eventually help you find photos far faster than the past and without having to create albums in the future.

      Share
  106. I am another loser with this Webshots transfer to Smile. I have been unable to transfer anything to Smile. I asked for my money back and haven’t seen it yet. Too bad they had to change the format.
    Possibly they can’t handle it. It seems they launched Smile before they knew what they were doing.
    That being said, all of your pictures should be in your webshots data folder in your My Documents file. Mine are but I can only access the ones with a J Peg extension. The others with a WB1 file extension are not downloadable unless your change the file extension with a special program. When I try to download the program, my virus protection tells me not to. So, I have lost my access to my albums. I only used Webshots for wall paper and screen savers and also to upload pictures from my camera to a file in My Documents. I am finding, there is life after Webshots. I hope they refund my money. To date, nothing has come my way in the form of a refund. Good luck everyone. I don’t see much hope for SMILE.

    Share
    1. I doubt there will be any refunds the way it reads on the help site. This is terrible. I’ve been a paid member for years and had numerous albums on there. They are now gone. It was so cool to just type in something you wanted to see photos of and member’s photos would pop up. I don’t need a program just to organize my pictures or whatever the heck they are trying to do. I’m very upset. I sent an email and I’ll bet I never get an answer.

      Share
  107. Narendra Rocherolle Friday, December 28, 2012

    As one of the co-founders of the original Webshots and the new Smile, I wanted to make sure people understood some of what has happened over the last few months.

    1) American Greetings was about to shut down Webshots for good. At the 11th hour (and with some investors), we were able to strike a deal to save portions of the service to try to turn it into a viable business.

    2) Paying members automatically had all of their personal photos transferred to the new Smile service for safe keeping. Subscriptions were also put on pause during the transition and continue to be on pause until the new service fully launches

    3) Free members had 60 days to download or transfer their photos. We emailed all members with photos several times to let them know about this deadline that was dictated by the deal.

    4) The existing members who are vocally unhappy are
    a) Those that used the old service to embed photos in blogs and on the Web. We are sorry, there was no feasible way to continue that service.
    b) Those that enjoyed the public community and the ability to download millions of photos to their desktop and screensaver. Again, this service was not viable.
    c) Those that loved the old Webshots Desktop Windows software to manage wallpaper and screensaver. This program was on the verge of being outdated and we could not maintain the code so a new version that had many features stripped out was released in order to provide basic functionality. It isn’t perfect yet! But we can maintain it and improve it which is what matters most. There has been confusion because this old software was on millions of desktops and in some cases upgrading revealed some bugs like not being able to find old wallpaper that had been downloaded over the years. These photos were not deleted and our help staff has been assisting with these types of issues.

    5) The new service is NOT for all of the old members. Webshots had millions of free users. The new service will be a pay service when launched so many many folks will not want that service. Again, this is a business decision. We believe that over the next few months you will find the absolute BEST way to maintain and share large personal libraries of photos with Smile. You will be able to rediscover amazing moments and find things in seconds. If you loved getting stunning images, we will still have premium content for you and now it is available not just for Windows but for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows8.

    6) Change is difficult and we take it personally when people are unhappy but not everything that is FREE on the internet lasts forever and we are putting together a new service that we believe people desperately need.

    Thank you all for the comments, gripes, and encouragement.

    We only have one true help channel so if you need help, you must visit http://help.getsmileapp.com

    Share
    1. You read all these comments…. and this is the corporate BS you respond with??
      How do you sleep???
      Just two points:
      1) Clearly, you didn’t send emails to everyone. Clearly. You didn’t.
      2) The old webshots desktop “on the verge of being outdated”…. I’m not clear what that means.
      If that means that it will be available forever from other sources and work forever offline just perfectly……… well….. OK.
      How can you not see what you’ve done??

      Share
  108. Patrick Williot Sunday, December 30, 2012

    Webshots was for us a brand new sportcar, now Smile is just a child scooter ! For years, I was an happy paid member and I uploaded all my photographs on Webshots. Now, I’m really angry !

    Share
  109. Wow, I am glad to see i am not the only one so upset. I have been a member of webshots for years as well and loved it. When i saw they switch to Smile i was suprised. Than the trouble started, Smile is awful just awful, nothing at all like webshot. It would freeze my computer, hog my memory etc… I am a premium member for years, i hate smile and tried my hardest to cancel and not only has it been very hard i send them emails for help and they donot reply they completely ignore any of my questions and so on. I had to call my bank to change my credit card number because it is the only way for me to cancel them. The bank told me they might still try to charge, if that happens i am gonna sue their a@@ I am so upset Smile not only invaded but are nothing but thieves……IAM SO ANGRY AND AM GLAD TO SEE I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!!

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