|Acquired by||Threefold Photos|
|Acquired by||American Greetings|
|Acquired by||CNET Networks|
Webshots, the pioneering photo sharing site founded in 1995, released its Webshots Wallpaper & Screensaver in May 2013.
The original founders re-acquired the company from American Greetings in October 2012, making this the third time that they have owned their own company. Webshots Wallpaper & Screensaver offers a Gallery of 1,000 professional photos and new photos published daily.
Among many milestones, Webshots created the first versions of photo uploading, public photo sharing, image search, cloud-enabled photo management, and social network “following” way back in 1999. By 2004, it was a Top 20 media property and in the mainstream long before Flickr became the photo sharing icon of the Web 2.0 era. At its peak, Webshots had more than 40 million members and the most downloaded wallpaper/screensaver software in history.
Webshots’ corporate timeline serves as a Silicon Valley history lesson in itself. Riding the wave of the .COM boom, Webshots was aquired by Excite@Home for for $82 million. Once the bubble burst and Excite went bankrupt, Webshots’ founders reacquired the company for pennies on the dollar. As Web 2.0 gained steam, it was sold again to CNET for $71 million. CNET in turn sold the company to sold to American Greetings for $45 million, as competitors like Flickr and Facebook began their ascendancy photo sharing market. In 2012, it returned to the original owners again in the form of Threefold Photos, Inc.
Webshots allows users to upload and share photos and videos. Users have the option of a free or premium account. Free accounts are for a limited time only. After the free “trial period” you must purchase a “plan” to continue membership. Free accounts are limited to 1000 photos, plus an extra 100 for each month you are a member. Video uploads are capped at 5 minutes. A premium account allows for 5000 photo uploads, plus an extra 500 per month, and 10 minute videos. Photos can be used to make sideshows, which can be embedded in other sites. Photos made public can be searched by any user. Webshots also allows users to print photos of any size and make custom mugs, t-shirts, and calendars. Unlike all the previous ownership transfers since Webshots inception in 1995, the Smile team did not option to automatically “migrate” Webshots members photos to the new servers. Less than one month (October 2 - December 1, 2012) was allowed for Webshots members to login and download their photos from the Webshots servers at American Greetings. Unless you hunt down comments from hundreds of members who lost over a decade of photos, you will never hear this fact from those responsible for most of this “public” wiki. Obviously I have firsthand experience with this heartbreaking lack of compassion.
There is a mobile version of Webshots with most of the same functionality for a mobile phone.
Smile by Webshots