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SmugMug is Helping Save 200 Million Photos Lost when Picturelife Died



When photo storage site Picturelife shut down, users were left high and dry without a way to access and/or download the images they had stored there. This didn’t sit well with SmugMug, who reached out to Picturelife and, today, is helping reunite those photographers with their lost images.

In all, some 200 million files were lost into the ones and zeroes of Internet history when Picturelife went under—but out of this sad tale came 200 million opportunities for SmugMug to be both altruistic, and maybe snag a customer or two for themselves.

It’s important to note that it will cost you nothing to take advantage of this offer from SmugMug. It’s something SmugMug was adamant about:

Our number one concern is putting as many Picturelife photos and videos as we can into the hands of their rightful owners. We’re making their photos available to them at no charge and no obligation. If some of Picturelife’s former customers want to become a part of SmugMug’s family of photographers, we’ll welcome them with open arms, but that’s not our primary goal.

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If you are a former Picturelife user who lost photos when the service went belly-up, you can now retrieve your photos for free. This FAQ page explains exactly how, but the basic steps are as follows:

  1. Click “Retrieve My Photos” button on this page.
  2. Verify your Picturelife info by putting in your email address/username and password.
  3. Create a SmugMug account using their 14-day free trial
  4. Select your privacy options and begin transferring.

That’s it. Once the transfer is done, you can download all of your files—photos, videos, PSDs, etc.—for free and close your SmugMug account before the 14-day trial period ends, or you can sign up for one of their paid accounts to keep your files on SmugMug indefinitely. They’ll even offer you a 50% discount to sign up (hey, it’s not 100% altruistic…).

Again, we only covered the basics here. If you want to find out more, head over to this comprehensive FAQ page.

Of course, SmugMug is hoping to get some users out of this, but given the amount of work it took to set this all up and the fact that they may not gain much of anything in the end, it’s a really cool move by a company popular for treating their customers very well. Kudos to them.