All About Images Blog


Panstoria is now Forever. Well, nothing lasts forever, but it is as close as it can get since Forever has now acquired Panstoria.

Forever has an interesting business model in that they purport to store your photos forever (actually your lifetime plus 100 years), including migrating them to new file formats as necessary. Forever isn’t cheap, but if it really does what it says is is going to do, it may be a good deal since it eliminates any worry about how to preserve digital photos, at least for the next 100+ years.

See Meakem’s Forever acquires Panstoria for more details.


If you have any money left after next week’s Ahni and Zoe by Creative Memories liquidation auction, you might consider purchasing Snapfish. That’s right. Another photo site is up for sale.

The real problem is the endless array of promotions and sales that have driven the entire industry to unsustainable prices and few profits. In the short run consumers may benefit, but in the long run, I’m not so sure.

See also Shutterfly Up For Sale.


As part of an effort to eliminate potentially toxic BPA from thermally printed receipts, Appvion has introduced a new paper that uses Vitamin C instead of BPA.  The new Appveon paper is yellow so it should be relatively easy to tell when it is being used.

Unfortunately, this paper is 10-20% more expensive than current paper, which may limit its adoption in the absence of government regulation requiring its use.


OK, 4-year old Cadence accidentally deleted a photo of Uncle Dave. I get it. I watched the video. She is really upset. I get that too, but what I don’t get is why her parents haven’t set up a system to backup their photos so they can’t be accidentally deleted. I mean, you have a four year old in the house. The possibilities are endless, and then you are surprised when something is accidentally deleted. At that point, blame yourself, not the poor, little girl.


Orange Tangerine 1

Orange Tangerine 2_edit2What do you think is in Orange Tangerine Juice?

Yes, that’s right. You guessed it. Apple juice is the primary ingredient in notables’ Orange Tangerine Juice.

It’s 100% juice, but not what you think it is.

Apparently, the image of an orange sells better than the image of an apple.

Yesterday was the last day for orders. Ahni, Zoe, and Creative Memories are now dead, although there is some hope that the Flowerdale Group will resurrect them later this year. Consultant Donna Lyn recently wrote about the Creative Memories Bankruptcy Roller Coaster. My roller coaster was like hers, only running about two years ahead of hers. I started with Creative Memories in 1998,. The late 1990’s and early 2000’s reflected the growth of Creative Memories to a 300 million dollar business. The incentive trips were spectacular. At the time, it appeared that Creative Memories could do no wrong.


1999 Incentive Trip to Acapulco

The peak was around 2002, when Creative Memories memories booked the Millennium twice for incentive trips to accommodate the number of qualifiers. 2002 was also the year I gave up film and started using a digital camera. Monica Lee has described this time as The best job I’ve ever had, and I agree with her.

The 2002 Fantastic Voyage incentive trip.

The 2002 Fantastic Voyage incentive trip.

The financial problems came with the opening of the new manufacturing and distribution facility in 2004. Around this time, Creative Memories remodeled the headquarters and replaced all the perfectly good office furniture with new, more trendy furniture. The company was spending a lot of money on projects that did nothing to drive sales. As sales started to decline, the new state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution facility proved to be a white elephant, and the company’s financial restructuring compounded the problems.

The Creative Memories 8th Avenue Manufacturing and Distribution Facility

The Creative Memories 8th Avenue Manufacturing and Distribution Facility

The decline continued. Creative Memories started direct sales business unrelated to its core scrapbooking market, including ZeBlooms for flowers and Our Own Image for African Americans. At the same time, Creative Memories continued to deny that digital would affect the future of their business, investing in custom framing and other projects that complicated their direct sales business model.

Creative Memories filed for bankruptcy in 2008 but did little to change its overall business practices. It continued to focus on  direct sales and refused to seriously consider alternative business models. Sales continued to decline at about 20% per year, and by 2011 it was abundantly clear that unless sales increased, another bankruptcy was inevitable. I left in 2012 when I received an offer from another company. By that time, I had given up hope, and it was time to get off the roller coaster. Six months later, Creative Memories filed for bankruptcy for a second time.

Two PNGs are combined into a single composite image.

Two PNGs are combined into a single composite image.

Again this year, I ordered school portraits from Lifetouch, including the “high-resolution” CD. Unlike previous years, however, Lifetouch is now giving parents an opportunity to provide feedback on their site and product offering. If you have children and are wondering what to say to Lifetouch, I have a couple of thoughts. Feel free to add additional suggestions in the comment section for this post.

1. Free the PNG. Lifetouch removes the background from each photo they take and then saves the photo as a PNG file. Unfortunately, they do not make this file available to customers, even on the disk that supposedly contains high resolution photos. The PNG file is important because it allows you to combine photos of multiple kids on a single page, making it look like they were actually together when the photos were taken. The PNG file also allows you to bring a photo into Artisan and select a custom background of your own choosing, giving your photos a unique appearance (see example above).

2. Multiple kids. Recognize that families may have more than one kid. Provide the opportunity to order products and packages that contain more than one child’s photo. For more on this issue, see Lifetouch Reinforces One Child Policy (satire).

3. Multiple years. Lifetouch takes photos each year. Keep all photos for each child in a single account and combine them into a collage, mug, mouse pad, or other photo gift.

I have tried writing to Lifetouch in the past without success. Maybe if Lifetouch gets feedback from lots of parents, they will finally update their antiquated business practices and address the needs of today’s customers.


All opinions expressed in this blog are mine, not HID Global's.

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