August 13, 2008, 12:00 AM

Shutterfly launches photo-based social networking service

The online retailer of digital photo and social networking services has rolled out new tools that enable members to share and add photos, build photo books, and add comments at Shutterfly.com.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

Shutterfly Inc., an online retailer of digital photo and social networking services, has rolled out new tools that enable members to share photos, build photo books, and communicate at its e-commerce site, Shutterfly.com. Called Shutterfly Share Sites, the new service combines photo, blog, and social networking features.

Since the beta version launched earlier this summer, Shutterfly customers have created more than 55,000 individual Share Sites, the company says.

Registered Shutterfly members can create a free site that includes a personal URL and e-mail address. They also can post and share their photo books on their personalized sites, and once a photo book has been added, members can preview the book, add comments and order their own copy. Members can then create their own version of the book through a one-step process that enables them to save it to their Shutterfly account and edit the contents.

The beta version of the program launched earlier this summer and customers already have created more than 55,000 individual Share Sites, the company says.

The new service from Shutterfly, No. 76 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, provides web site templates, backgrounds and styles, organized across categories including family, baby, wedding and kids’ sports. Site “owners” can add features such as calendars, weather information and polls, as well as set site privacy permissions before inviting friends and family to become members.

Members can add photos, share photo books, write journal entries and post comments. They also can build photo books, cards, calendars and other photo merchandise using the photos from their Share Site.

The new features are the next logical step for Shutterfly, because “our customers are already engaged in ‘social networking’ with their own communities, whether those are family and friends, sports teams, hobby groups, or their children’s school,” says president and CEO Jeffrey Housenbold, whose audio-visual presentation at IRCE 2008 is available on CD-ROM.

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