Picturelife, trust and having data out of your control

UPDATE: Just after publishing, checked my bank account and saw that I’ve been charged the monthly fee. For a website that’s down. And may not be coming back… UPDATE 2, May 12: The site is back up, no idea of photos can be downloaded. I’ve started a Facebook group for users to talk about what’s going on.

Picturelife seems to have disappeared, and with it, a good chunk of the pictures I’ve taken.

I joined the service in 2013 at a time when photo storage in the cloud was scarce. iCloud photos hadn’t been released. Other services had shutdown.

Once iCloud photos became my main place, I kept PictureLife, mostly because I had over 1TB of photos there. There were features on Picturelife, including the memories and date scrolling, that aren’t in Apple’s product. Also, the unlimited storage was very nice.

It was always a little bit slow and buggy, but what it offered was unparalleled. Especially where I had a 16gb iPhone, it was a savior.

I knew there was a risk, (heck, I read and listen to Gabe Weatherhead) but for some reason it felt like I trusted these guys.

But now it seems to have disappeared.

I’ve known for a months that I needed to get my photos out of Picturelife and have everything on Apple Photos. I remember they had sold, but wasn’t too worried (again, dumb on me).

About a month ago I received an e-mail that my account was going to be shut down because of a credit card problem. I knew I wanted my photos so I re-entered my card. I was charged $70 in back fees. While I didn’t use the service during that time, I felt OK because I was going to export my photos.

But I was wrong: Exporting didn’t work. Downloads didn’t work. Searching on social media, it appears that Picturelife went MIA. No support requests responded to. I tweeted them on got this response:

@michaelslater @fritzklug sorry for our silence. to be transparent, we’re currently reviewing all our options. we’ll come back to you asap.

— Picturelife (@picturelife) April 28, 2016

And then this:

@michaelslater @fritzklug options at the strategic level for the company. we’re also working on a new export solution for your files.

— Picturelife (@picturelife) April 28, 2016

And now the website it down. I’m glad I have many of my photos stored elsewhere (at least I think) but many others do not.

I hope they are finding an export solution, but it’s gone from a poor functioning website to one that is offline totally.

The really sad thing is, while I may have lost these photos, I feel today less likely to trust anything that’s even a little bit important to a startup.

I hope that there will be an export option available, at least. I’ve spent around $350 on the service over the past few years (and even got my mom using it). I’ve trusted Picturelife this long, let’s hope they deliver for the last time…

May 4, 2016