PetaPixel

Photography Website Service liveBooks Acquired by WeddingWire

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Yesterday we shared some news coming out of photographer Vincent LaForet’s camp that the website service liveBooks — which is used by many photographers — was quite possibly on its way out. This after a month of silence and “knowledgeable sources” indicating that the US branch of the business was all but shut down.

A few hours after that news broke, however, we found out what was really happening: liveBooks has been acquired by the online event marketplace WeddingWire.

In addition to dropping several apologies to liveBooks customers for the past month’s “transition period,” CEO Andy Patrick wants to make this clear that this is a good thing.

“We are thrilled to announce that liveBooks has been acquired by WeddingWire,” says Patrick in the press release. “They are … passionate about being great stewards of the liveBooks brand, and focused on maintaining our leadership role in all aspects of the photography and creative professional industry.”

weddingwire

At this point, liveBooks customer service — which, according to LaForet, has been nearly impossible to get ahold of for the last 30 days — is back up and running, ready to answer any questions you might have regarding the brand and its services from this point forward.

As far as what this means for liveBooks customers, the change shouldn’t have much of an effect yet beyond another transition period (which the company is promising to make “as seamless as possible”). But once the integration is complete, clients can expect more in way of exciting innovations.

“We’re excited to partner with the WeddingWire team to continue to serve the liveBooks community,” says Patrick. “The acquisition means more resources will be available for product innovation and we will be sharing the details of these developments in the coming months.”

Details of the deal have not been disclosed.

(via Vincent LaForet)


 
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  • http://www.ceaserphotography.com/ Sid Ceaser

    This is probably the point when all the commercial photographers that use Livebooks like McNally ditch Livebooks and it becomes a defacto wedding photographer template.

  • Dave Collyer

    I’ve been planning my departure for years mostly because their Flash websites are outdated. This wedding takeover seals their fate. I’ve always liked the look of my site on a computer, but most of my clients are seeing my images on a mobile device and the layout is less than desirable. Bad customer service doesn’t help. Anyone love their website company (that’s not flash)?

  • Stefan

    To be seen whether WeddingWire made a good choice there, it depends on who is in charge now. LiveBooks have screwed up Fotomoto big time during the last few weeks. They acquired the brand, technology and people several months back. Suddenly, from one day to the next, the service stopped working. There is a nice thread about it here: https://getsatisfaction.com/fotomoto/topics/is_the_fotomoto_website_down

    They have let down paying customers (and continued charging!). I lost any trust in them, forever. Now paying zenfolio, and not finding it too bad. Shame about the time and effort I put into making Fotomoto work on our website. I thought it was a neat idea.

  • Stefan

    Time will tell whether this is good or bad for their customers. Given the recant debacle with Fotomoto, I’m not so sure personally. Livebooks recently acquired the Fotomoto brand, technology and people several months back. Suddenly, from one day to the next, the service stopped working.
    They have let down paying customers (and continued charging!). I lost any trust in them, forever. Now paying a different supplier, and not finding it too bad. Shame about the time and effort I put into making Fotomoto work on our website. I thought it was a neat idea.

  • David Charles

    Dave, I’m a LB customer thinking of leaving as well. My biggest question is about my e-mail. I’m looking at Squarespace, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep my LiveBooks e-mail addresses somehow. That’s my biggest concern about leaving. Can’t seem to get a solid answer about how to do it.

  • http://www.intensitystudios.com/ Antonio Carrasco

    No one should be using livebooks after this debacle. Going dark for a month and then spontaneously announcing that they have been bought by some random other entity with little to no industry experience? Awful.

  • Dave Collyer

    I own my domain and hence own my email. They can’t hold you hostage, but definitely something to work on with ‘customer service’. Squarespace does look good. Any users out there that want to chime in? Thanks!

  • ProSurfPhotos.com

    Do any of the Livebooks users remember the complete shut down of our sites due to technical issues for more than 2 days about a year or so ago? Not happy with them since then. An arrogance has surrounded them for the past year and they keep adding these cheap wedding oriented features. This move is no surprise in a continuing spiral downward like the demise of their Flash platform.

  • Andy Patrick

    liveBooks is alive and well and never “went dark”. The brand will remain exactly the same as it has for nearly nine years. The design, both custom and predesign, will continue to cater to ALL types of photography and creative professionals. The acquisition provides greater stability and greater resources. I think it is good for the entire industry. We do really apologize for the period of time that there was not much information offered, but we we were in the throws of trying to figure out solutions, and rather than provide a bunch of possibilities, we chose to wait until we had solid answers. Our apologies. I believe truly that the best is yet to come. WeddingWire, their name refers to their roots, is a technology company that provides a comprehensive business marketing and management solution, called eventOS, to enhance marketing, customer relationships, reputation and more. This is what is great for you and the industry is that liveBooks, over time, will be able to provide more in an integrated approach. hang in there, stay tuned. If you need help or have questions contact me directly at andy (at) livebooks (dot) com. All the best form liveBooks.

  • MT Nature Photog

    A year ago I added Livebooks as a dedicated portfolio site to complement my Photoshelter site, which remained as my stock photography site. I switched because I think Livebook sites look great with the ability to have large image sizes. However, I felt like my search engine results took a hit with the flash set up. Likewise, I wanted to use my Livebooks site to sell prints and I never liked their interfaces. So, when I saw that Photoshelter was changing up their image sizes with their new portfolio set up I had planned to merge everything back to Photoshelter. It looks like this announcement just speeds things up for me. I had great service from Livebooks, so I have no complaints in that area and the sites still look beautiful.

  • Brian Tremblay

    I’ve had Livebooks for sometime. They’re customer service has been nothing but stellar when I needed them. I don’t know what it’s like lately because everything is working great. I hope the company who has acquired them can make more improvements that are helpful to the photographers who have the websites. My Livebooks site has helped my business a lot. I won’t be jumping ship that quick.

  • Dave Collyer

    Andy, Are you staying with Flash and for how long? Simple question, the world wants to know…

  • G. Fox

    I just posted a response to Andy Patrick’s announcement on blog.livebooks.com/2013/07/livebooks-acquired-by-weddingwire-inc/#comments. While waiting for moderator approval, I received an email from their billing department with an invoice for our site renewal! Who knows what, if any, of the posted content they will allow, so I’m posting it here next. For any of you who have been burned by Fotomoto, check out PhotoStockPlus.com, excellent quality and customer service. We’ve been happy with them as our storefront for many years.

  • G. Fox

    To Andy Patrick:

    We would hope for much, much better than “the same great service as always.” LiveBooks has been known to fall short in a critically important area – communication and reassurance when things are glitchy – and this is a perfect example. You admit that this has been in the works for months, yet you knowingly allowed your paying clients to remain in the dark about this acquisition as well as about the fact that your California customer support operation was closing down. The last liveBooks Community posting on Facebook prior to today was May 11, following a series of posted pleas for assistance. The last Tweet prior to today was June 4. The inability to reach a human person directly, the outgoing voice message that you were not offering any new web design services, with no explanation, the emails bouncing back, the weeks of cyber silence, all caused incredible anxiety to hundreds of small businesses who suddenly had reason to fear being abruptly left dead in the water. This was unprofessional, disrespectful, inconsiderate, and completely unnecessary and avoidable.

    The harm that ensued from the Fotomoto debacle, and liveBook’s poor handling of it, is astounding. We are fortunate that we were already set up with PhotoStockPlus.com for our online photo ordering. LiveBooks would do well to take a page from PSP’s book with regards to the true meaning of customer
    service.

    Your unimpressive, and completely inadequate “sincerest apologies” for “any
    inconvenience” or “bumps” doesn’t begin to cover it, especially couched, as it
    was, in the rah-rah announcement that failed to directly address any of the
    real problems that this caused to your paying customers, much less any mention
    of doing anything to try to make up for it, such as a refund or account credit
    for the down-time.

    Andy, all it would have taken to show the basic minimum respect and consideration for your “loyal” client base would have been to reach
    out with a simple, timely, honest statement to let everyone know right up front
    that while corporate changes will be taking place, everyone’s websites and
    email accounts are safe and secure. It’s swell that your staff is available now
    for questions, but where were they when your customers needed help? A help line staffed with a responsive human or two during the gap, to provide information
    and assist with problems, would have been appropriate. Even an automated
    response with some basic information about what to expect would have helped. Yet you chose to keep your “valued liveBooks customers” hanging for weeks.

    Loyalty has to be both earned and maintained. At this time, we have a very low level of confidence and trust in your company. We are a small, professional photography business, and we expect the same level of service and consideration from our vendors as our clients expect, and receive, from us. Our website is our public face and our most important marketing tool, and we do not need or appreciate being placed in this situation of stress and uncertainty, at risk for being made to look bad. We have sunk thousands of our hard-earned dollars into our LiveBooks website in good faith, and can’t even buy out the proprietary design. We are currently evaluating our alternatives. Rest assured that we will be paying very close attention to how this “thrilling” transition is handled going forward, and that we will have a very low threshold for making a decision to vote with our wallets.

  • G. Fox

    Right. Try “no information” rather than “not much,” and when websites go down, or when the host company can’t be reached, that is the very definition of going dark. You didn’t even try to communicate effectively during that time. Failure to respond at all until you had the “solutions” (to what?) is unprofessional, does not inspire confidence, and is no way to treat your clients. BTW that’s “throes,” not “throws.”

    Meanwhile, I posted a comment on your blog and while awaiting moderation, received a renewal invoice by email, so glad to know that at least one department is up and running.

  • Stefan

    Andy, please comment on Fotomoto.

    This does belong to liveBooks, hence it is (was?) YOUR responsibility. Fotomoto did go dark, simply stopped fulfilling orders, from one day to another without warning. You still charged your professional customers.

  • EM

    So what has happened now with Pinhole?