Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One-time coupons available

From now on you can create coupons for single use.

Coupons have become a great marketing tool to encourage sales for many photographers since the beginning of bluemelon. Some photographers approached us with the question whether it would be possible to issue coupons for specific clients that can be used in their online photo store once only.

Here it is now. You can create the coupon for single use, such coupon will be automatically removed from the system once redeemed. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Changes to Unsorted Photographs

In the past, it was possible to upload photos to BlueMelon without specifying an album. Such photos have been displayed in a special section of the user's account called "Unsorted Photos" with the option to assign these photos to existing albums.

We have changed the way we handle such photographs. While it is still possible to upload photos without specifying an album, such photos will be placed into the album named "Incoming Photos". If it does not exist, it will be created as a private album, so do not worry about people seeing your photographs before your decision.

We have made this change to further simplify our users interface and to make BlueMelon easier to understand.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

FTP upload for your photos

BlueMelon subscribers can now upload their photographs via FTP, a highly anticipated upload method.

For security reasons, we do not allow the FTP clients to use your primary BlueMelon credentials; instead, you must set up a separate FTP user account specifically for this purpose by going to "Control Panel" >> "FTP".

After logging into your FTP user account, you will see your albums listed as directories in the FTP root directory. The albums are listed by their titles in the alphabetical order. You are not presented with your BlueMelon category structure in your FTP directory, because FTP protocol recognizes only files and directories, and can not differentiate between albums and categories. Also, any albums created using FTP will be created in your root category.

Here is a list of what you can do with FTP :
  • Create new albums
  • Rename albums
  • Delete empty albums
  • Upload to any of your albums

We do not allow the deletion of albums that contain photographs, because we consider FTP to be an insecure protocol and we do not want our users to loose any photos in the event their FTP access data got compromised.

If you upload photographs directly to your FTP root directory, they will be available in a new album named "Incoming FTP".

Why is FTP considered an insecure  protocol and how can I minimize the security risks?

FTP - the File Transport Protocol - is a very old protocol designed in times when encryption was not used at all.

Transfers over FTP are not encrypted; neither your files nor username and password data.

How can I keep the use of FTP as secure as possible?

  • Use a password that you do not use anywhere else. This way, even if your FTP password gets into wrong hands, the possible damage is minimal.
  • Avoid using public computers or public Wifi  for FTP access.
  • If you plan not to use FTP upload for a longer period of time, disable your FTP account in the Control panel. Next time you will want to use FTP, you will just re-enable it with a single click.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

BlueMelon introduces storage limits for all account levels

The aim of this update is to keep the existing low prices for our subscription plans and to offer good deals on additional storage for those who upload a lot.

As time passes by, internet connections are getting faster and photo resolutions are getting bigger. People upload more and larger files than years before. This causes the storage requirements to grow exponentially, while the decrease in storage prices does not compensate for these trends by far.

Providers of internet services use different approaches to cope with this situation. Some of them are increasing their subscription fees, while others are decreasing the quality of storage and its reliability.

We have chosen another way to keep the payments for our services as low as possible, while still offering unbeatable quality of storage by storing every photograph on three different hard drives in various locations for the safety of your files.

If you are an existing BlueMelon subscriber, you will have the unlimited storage till the end of your subscription. New users, as well as those who are renewing their subscriptions, will get a limited storage space according to the plan they choose, with an option to purchase additional storage. See current plans and pricing for more details.

The prices for all our plans remain the same. While most users will not need more storage than included in the plans, those who want to upload a lot will need to sign up for one of our new storage plans.

Why do we think Unlimited Storage is bad ?

Unlimited storage is not sustainable. As you probably know, safe storage costs a lot of money. Obviously, nobody can offer unlimited storage forever. Companies can absorb losses for some accounts until certain level is reached, but then they will start reducing their services because they are forced to do so.

Unlimited storage is unfair. Because companies are loosing money to upload-heavy accounts, those users who upload less are paying for users who upload more! We think a fair approach is to include basic storage in the subscription plans and to offer additional storage for users who require more.

This update will allow us to further increase the quality of our services for both professional and amateur photographers.