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ZangZing and QOOP Closing Their Doors

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It can be hard to imagine sometimes, but the non-stop founding of Internet startups comes with a high rate of attrition. While it would be nice to think that the companies with the best technology will survive, that’s obviously not the case. ZangZing and QOOP, two companies that we’ve written about, and whose services we’ve used, will be closing their virtual doors soon, and we’ll miss them.

ZangZing’s goal was to provide a service that would make it easy for members of groups to share photos with one another, something that’s difficult to do well with the better-known photo sharing sites. I ran across ZangZing while looking to make it possible for parents of the Ithaca cross-country team members to share race photos, and I was struck by how well it met those needs and how slick its Web interface was, without relying on Flash (see “Group Photo Sharing Grows Up with ZangZing,” 3 October 2011).


Alas, on 27 June 2012, ZangZing sent email to all subscribers announcing that signups and photo uploads would be halted as of 2 July 2012, and that the service itself would be shut down entirely on 31 August 2012, at which point all photos, contact information, and account information will be deleted permanently. Luckily, a feature I requested at some point makes it easy to download all your photos stored at ZangZing. Just log in, mouse over the album you want to download, click the i menu, and choose Download to get a Zip file containing all the photos in that album. Download each album sequentially, since some browsers can cause simultaneous downloads to become corrupted.

Although I haven’t been able to touch base with Joseph Ansanelli, one of ZangZing’s founders and a Claris Organizer/Newton alum, to learn more about what went wrong, I suspect that the company simply wasn’t able to implement its business model quickly enough before funding ran out. It’s also likely that ZangZing’s group photo sharing niche either wasn’t as large as anticipated or that the company was unable to get the word out sufficiently to groups that would use it.

While ZangZing was a relatively young company, the print-on-demand firm QOOP had been around for 7 years, providing print-on-demand services for our Take Control ebooks as well as any Internet user who wanted to sell photo prints, books, posters, calendars, mouse pads, business cards, and more. We started using them early on in 2006, since Joe Kissell had previously worked with one of the founders of the company, and we were able to integrate them into our systems.


With revenues no longer keeping up, the folks at QOOP have been looking for a buyer for the company for a few months now. But since no buyer was forthcoming, they’ve said the site would close for good on 30 June 2012. Outstanding orders will be fulfilled. We removed links to QOOP from the Take Control site recently, when it became clear that it wasn’t likely that a buyer would emerge from the wings to revitalize the firm.

We’ll certainly miss ZangZing, and if anyone has come across a similar site that enables multiple people in a group to upload photos to a single central location for sharing with the group, please let me know. But we’re feeling the loss of QOOP more keenly, since it was a part — a small part, admittedly — of the service we provide with Take Control. We’re all about ebooks, but there are people who prefer to read on paper, and we were pleased we could offer QOOP’s print-on-demand service for those people. Finding a replacement for QOOP is non-trivial, since although there are a vast number of companies that offer print-on-demand services, sorting through them to find one that can integrate with our systems and create the books we want for a reasonable price is a daunting research task.

For the moment, anyone who is interested in printing a Take Control PDF should investigate FedEx Office Print Online (née Kinkos), Staples Copy&Print, or Office Depot Copy & Print Depot. We’ve heard from readers in the past that these sort of services — and copy shops in general — may fuss about the fact that you’re trying to reproduce a copyrighted work, though most don’t pay any attention. We’re looking into changing the copyright page for future books to allow a print service to output a single copy for personal use, but in the meantime, if you have trouble, let me know and we’ll see what we can do.

 

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Comments about ZangZing and QOOP Closing Their Doors

Terry Casper  2012-06-29 11:56
Ugh. This is disappointing news. After considerable research, I had been recommending ZangZing, and had actually moved several clients there in the last couple weeks because of the MobileMe shutdown.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-06-29 14:28
Yeah, they were my go-to site for taking over from MobileMe Gallery too. Very sad.
boblevitus  2012-07-02 13:50
I wrote a column about ZangZing and recommended it as a replacement for MobileMe Gallery. Two days later they announced they were shutting down. :-)
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-07-02 16:34
So it's YOUR fault. :-)
Indeed the shutdown of ZangZing is frustrating. They did a first rate job of replacing MobileMe's photo sharing capability, and thanks to your tip Adam, I moved all of my 70 some odd albums over. Then three days before MobileMe closed down I received the email from ZangZing. By all means publish any services that could replace it as you discover them. I've just spent a couple of hours trying to figure out SugarSync's photo service, but not yet figured it out. There seems to be a disconnect between Help and what happens on the web site/File Manager.
Dave Price  2012-07-13 23:53
I've been a user of SmugMug for several years. SmugMug's Guest Upload feature makes it easy for friends to upload to a gallery. It's not free, but there are so many other features that it's a good deal.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-07-16 11:31
The guest upload feature of SmugMug looks very new - from May 2012 - but it would seem to meet the basic needs of group photo sharing. You can read more here.

http://news.smugmug.com/2012/05/07/new-guest-uploading-lets-your-fans-join-the-fun/

Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-07-16 11:36
Looks like Afolio offers some of the basic group sharing features that ZangZing had. Check it out!

https://www.afolio.com/
Rob Adams  2012-07-19 21:21
It's not a replacement for ZangZing, but if you download the Opera browser and enable Opera Unite from the Tools menu. Opera Unite will allow free and safe file sharing. Sadly, Opera is no longer developing this feature and it too will be discontinued in an upcoming release. Read more at unite.opera.com
Gil Woolley  2012-11-13 16:45
I have an intriguing residual problem with Zangzing. I still have the application on my computer and cannot move it into the trash. I tried Option trash and that did not help. Is there an uninstall procedure that anyone knows about?
Gil Woolley  2012-11-13 16:49
Here is the answer to my question above:
Go to the Zangzing menu at the top of your window, choose Quit. Then go to Applications and move Zangzing to the trash. I found that on another web page.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-11-13 17:25
Good tip, Gil, thanks!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-11-13 17:26
For anyone looking for a replacement for ZangZing, I used Yogile with success this year for cross-country. It's nowhere near as good as ZangZing was in a lot of ways, but it does work, and people don't have to pay for accounts to share photos.

http://www.yogile.com/