While living in Silicon Valley in 1999-2000 and because MyFamily.com was in the photo-sharing space, I had the privilege of meeting with key people at most of the early photo-sharing sites. I remember one meeting in our Howard Street office with some folks from Shutterfly.com. Lots of companies wanted to partner with MyFamily.com because we had millions of photos (in private family websites) and they had ways of getting those photos into prints, calendars, mugs, and other products.)
Shutterfly had just launched. They didn’t really have a lot to talk about since they were brand new but I swear they used the name “Jim Clark” in our meeting at least a dozen times. (Not a bad strategy when your company founder/investor is the only person in history to have ever founded 3 companies that reached a $1 billion market cap.)
It’s interesting to fast forward to 2006. MyFamily.com is never even mentioned as a photo-sharing site, even though we probably one of the first sites to attract 10 million photos. (We did it by early 2001.)
Now Shutterfly is reportedly considering an IPO or potentially shopping for an acquisition deal in the $400-500 million range. Oh, how I wish MyFamily.com had stayed active in the photo sharing space!
If you want an interesting walk down internet memory lane, check out some of the site design changes at Shutterfly from 1999 to the present at archive.org. I well remember the 50 free prints offer for every new member. An expensive customer acquisition strategy (had to be funded by outside investment capital, of course.) But a very effective one. Today, the offer is 15 free prints for new members.
Note: I have not been involved with MyFamily.com as an employee since February 2002 or board member since December 2001. My blog simply contains personal opinions.