Chris MacAskill (father) and Don MacAskill (son) started the original company to build a new video game-oriented web service in February 2002. By August 2002, though, their focus shifted. A small portion of their video game website was spun into a full-blown photo sharing service called SmugMug, which officially launched in November 2002.
Prior to SmugMug, Chris was the founder and CEO of Fatbrain, which he sold to Barnes and Noble. His son, Don, was the first non-founding employee at Best Internet, where he designed the networks that hosted Hotmail and eBay.
SmugMug is not free. There are three levels of membership: Standard, Power, and Pro. Power and Pro level users can customize their site. Pro users can mark up their prints for sale, where the photographer gets 85% of the markup over the base photo price.
SmugMug allows the upload of an unlimited number of photos for all account types.
Includes a published API which allows programmers to create new functionality.
XML-based RSS and Atom feeds.
An email upload interface to allow camera phones to upload images.
Keyword tagging for searching and categorization of photos.
Enables Google Maps integration for photos with GPS.
Viewers can 'thumbs up' and 'thumbs down' photos to select the most popular photos using PhotoRank.
Upload from Picasa, iPhoto and other software packages
2 petabytes, of photos are stored on the Amazon S3 service
Privacy and security
SmugMug has options to allow control over the privacy and security of published photos. They have support for both account-level and gallery-level passwords, as well as hidden galleries.
There is also a friends and family social networking interface for members of the service to use, which allows sharing of photos limited to people known to the publisher.
SmugMug conducted a blind test of a variety of consumer and professional grade printing labs before choosing EZ Prints. The results of this test can be found here.
They offer a selection of both prints and gifts, including various print sizes, t-shirts, mugs, mousepads, and the like.
Members with the "Pro" level accounts can choose between EZPrints and San Francisco based Bay Photo. Prints ordered from Bay Photo can be color-corrected by hand on an individual basis, thus providing professionals with a better option for ensuring optimal print quality.
In conjunction with their print service, SmugMug has created a service aimed at professional photographers. Professional accounts have the ability to add custom watermarks to their photos and add additional forms of image protection. They can also sell prints and digital downloads of their photos through the SmugMug interface with their own custom pricing.