Smugmug, take 2
First, I am impressed that the CEO of Smugmug, Don MacAskill, commented on my post yesterday, mentioning that they were having issues. Hey, issues do happen, and Flickr is just as guilty, since I was having problems with them yesterday, and I remember back in like July when they were down for nearly a full day. Smugmug's issues yesterday weren't as bad as I've seen with Flickr, it just didn't make for a great first impression.
I am going to continue to check out Smugmug though, since I had been meaning to write a Smugmug Lightbox module for CS to accompany my Flickr Lightbox module. Hopefully their web service API is prettier than Flickr's (haven't looked at their yet, but Flickr's is too big). That piece aside, I am impressed with some of the customizations and theming you can do with Smugmug. Don't get anything but the stock layout on Flickr. They also seem to have a very active community, though in a different way than Flickr. Flickr is mostly a photo community, where Smugmug has an accompanied forums site.
The biggest thing that impresses me is that Don found my post and took the time to comment on it. That right there could convince me to switch. Why? I like companies that are in touch with their userbase. Brad, the CEO of ClearContext, had commented when I've mentioned them. The person who wrote YNAB got back to me when I posted about their product on another blog (what, I have more than one blog? yes). The CEO of Flickr or anyone there hasn't posted on my blog before. As a user, it is always nice to know your opinions (good and bad) are heard, so it is nice to see companies that keep their finger on the pulse of the community.
On a side note, the name Don MacAskill sounded familiar when I saw the comment. With a quick Google search, I saw that he goes by "onethumb" which rang a bell. I remembered that name from back in '96-97, because he worked at Best Internet Communication, my old old old ISP. Best had a pretty active set of community newsgroups, and I remember him as one of the administrators. Then I remember running across his name for working with the guys at iD Software back around Doom 2 / Quake, and then again at Ritual Entertainment for SiN. Damn, that was a long time ago. That was when I used to use the screenname 'SeaDawg'... wow.