Photo-Sharing Site Focuses On Pros

Tabblo has turned its focus toward creative professionals who need IT infrastructure help to build professional portfolios.
Tabblo Inc. plans to officially launch Monday with a crop of new services and features it hopes will entice business professionals to do more than upload digital photos online.

The tools will enable users to arrange photos into pre-designed layouts or design the look of the page themselves, adjust size and crop images, and order prints and posters. The features let anyone drag-and-drop images, move them around the page, and add descriptions. Users also have the option to post photos to blogs and share hyperlinks.

Tabblo first marketed to young urban moms, social butterflies who live hours online. Now the focus has turned toward creative professionals that lack a place and expertise to build professional portfolios. "Many of the professionals don't have the IT infrastructure or the know how to build a portfolio site," said Tabblo CEO Antonio Rodriguez.

There are plans to launch a feature to let users e-mail or send photos via multimedia message service (MMS) directly to Tabblo from a camera phone.

"The really smart guys will take a picture at an unexpected event with a camera phone and upload it on the Internet for people to visualize immediately to quickly attract interest," said Andrew Rollert, founder and CEO of SpotScout Inc., a startup offering a mobile application that helps people find parking spaces before they reach their destination. "Say, for example, I just happen to walk out of my apartment building in the city and pass Bono from U2 going up my front stairs."

The Web site, packed with Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax) capabilities, will eventually let Tabblo deliver capabilities focused on tighter collaboration and authoring with other sites, Rodriguez said.

And as Tabblo begins to build on its existing "tens of thousands" of user base, Boston Data Center, which hosts Tabblo's servers, has the ability to add storage space capacity as required. Rodriguez said "the moment a bank of servers reaches 50-percent utilization, which would lower the response time for most sites, we can add a bank of servers."

Consumers won't see Web-based advertising on Tabblo. Instead, Rodriguez plans to generate revenue from selling posters and prints, and eventually postcards, calendars, and books. There's a chance users could see co-branding deals with camera manufacturers.

But Tabblo faces tons of competition. To name a few, there's Yahoo Flickr and Yahoo Photos, Google Picasa 2, Kodak's EasyShare Gallery, Hewlett-Packard's Snapfish, Sony's ImageStation, Photobucket and Shutterfly. These sites allow users to search and share photos.

Google and Yahoo in May ran the Web's most popular photo-searching sites, with 273,881 and 66,102, respectively, according to Nielsen/NetRatings Inc.

Many of the users also post photos to other sites. Tabblo integrates with Google's Picasa and Yahoo's Flickr services. Preset access requirements allow users to view pictures in any of the three online photo sites. A similar same agreement will let users access shared images through Yahoo Photos.

Rodriguez said the company's strengths are more than search, but rather giving users a more professional-looking method to display images and collaboration. The site has been in development for one year and in beta testing since May 15.

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