Since the announcement of acquisition of Lifeblob by Printo, there has been a sudden surge of interest in the photo sharing service. Infact, so many people asked me about why we are shutting down the photo sharing services that I decided to write my answer in this post.
The answer is a single word: FOCUS
The mission of lifeblob was to be a photo sharing that allows people to explore photos through relations in a visually engaging format. For the first two years, we were solely focussed on growing the photo sharing service, but since we were finding it very hard to monetize it, we decided to extend the service to include merchandising of personalized photo gifts. By then we had over 4 Million photos and the plan of acquiring users through the photo sharing service and then monetizing them by selling personalized gifts made perfect sense.
However, as we started executing on our plans, the reality dawned on us – “People who use our photo sharing services are not necessarily the ones who would purchase personalized gifts from us”. Infact, pretty soon, we realized that there is very little overlap between the two segments and we ended up splitting our marketing effort into two parts, one targeted towards growing the photo sharing service ( contests, events etc ) and the other targeted towards increasing transactions ( adwords, SEO, coupons, mailers etc ) in our personalized gifting store. The segments were so dramatically different in all respects that we simply couldn’t leverage a user acquired from one segment to the other.
Despite this realization, we decided to continue running both the services under Lifeblob because in our minds, discovery of photos through relations was our primary service with merchandising being necessary for revenue generation. However, the scenario changes when you combine Lifeblob with Printo.
Printo’s mission is to provide excellent printing services to their customers and Lifeblob’s simple and elegant personalization platform perfectly fits the bill. However, that doesn’t rule out an interest in photo sharing service because it was growing at a good pace and common sense suggests that photo sharing + printing service is a good combination.
Over the past few weeks, Manish and I have had several discussions regarding the photo sharing service and based on our experiences over the past year, it has been my recommendation that the photo sharing service be shut down so that the combined entity retains FOCUS on its mission and not divide its efforts.
As much as it pains me to make a recommendation that will put an end to three years of hard work, I feel it is my responsibility to suggest what is right – the final decision still rests with Printo though.