April 14, 2010, 12:00 AM

Snapfish.com pictures a better future for online photo services

To diversify and generate more digital photo services business, Snapfish is creating a more open technology platform for creating content. The unit of HP also is adding more licensed content from Life.com.

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Snapfish.com sees a wide open future for online photo services in the U.S.

To reach that market, which Snapfish says generates more than $1 billion in annual sales from a base of about 85 million users, is opening up its platform. Snapfish is a unit of Hewlett-Packard Co. , No. 16 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Snapfish, which was acquired by HP in 2005, also is launching more value-added photo sharing services and developing a new licensed content agreement with Life.com. Under a new program called Snapfish Publisher, which Snapfish will officially launch this summer, users will be able to employ an open platform to create, upload and share broader forms of online photo content. In the first phase, a limited number of designers will be able to use the open platform to access the Snapfish network, develop a storefront with e-commerce capability, and launch broader lines of personalized products for cards and photo books, HP says.

In the fall, Snapfish Publisher will be expanded to include a wider user base and more options to develop personalized photo products such as labels and invitations. “We are propelling personal publishing by making Snapfish the place that is both inspired and developed by its members,” says Snapfish general manager Ben Nelson. “When Snapfish Publisher launches this summer, it will serve as a platform for individuals and companies to market and sell their creative designs, merchandise and services.”

Snapfish, which currently offers digital photo services that enable users to upload and create photo books, calendars, greeting cards, scrapbook pages and other content, also is adding more licensed images from Life.com, a unit of See Your World LLC that sells contemporary images and content published over time in Life magazine. Under the agreement, users can create greeting cards, note cards and notebooks using more than 100 famous images from the Life archives. Snapfish, which already has similar arrangements with Sony Music, Nickelodeon and the National Basketball Association, will charge content creation fees beginning at $1.99 per item.

“Snapfish plans to unlock new revenue streams and explore future growth opportunities in the consumer publishing market by combining its publishing technology with content from Life and other popular brands,” says Nelson.

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