29 July 2009

[misc] Fotomat To Go Away Completely

2178.In the last missive, I mentioned Fotomat, the one-day photo finishing service that sprouted like blue-and-yellow weeds throughout America from the 1960s through the 1990s, when one-day photo service was equivalent to the speed of light, commercially.

While data on the ebb and flow of this former consumer photo giant is scanty at best, the trajectory is pretty easy to infer: As one-hour photo services became popular, Fotomat's one-day service became less and less popular, in the same way that traditional photo finishing of any type is being driven into extinction by digital photography and home-photo printers.

Fotomat didn't entirely go away, though, they relocated to the Web, offering Kodak-brand photo finishing and photosharing with a toolbar assist. But, as it's turning out, with services like Flickr and Picasa, even that model isn't working anymore. So Fotomat is, at last, going away itself:

On September 1st, 2009, Fotomat will be closing its online Fotomat photo printing and sharing service and all current accounts will be closed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. All Photo orders placed prior to September 1st, 2009 will be honored. In the coming weeks, we will be sending out email updates about the closing of Fotomat.com to our Fotomat customers.

All Fotomat customers who maintain their photos locally on their PC through the "My Fotomat" feature with the Viewpoint or Fotomat toolbar will be able to continue to maintain their albums as before. However, all features that connect to Fotomat.com such as ordering and sharing photos will be discontinued.

We sincerely appreciate your patronage as a Fotomat member. We're recommending that all our Fotomat customers start transitioning their photo servicing needs to Kodak Gallery.

Sic transit gloria Fotomat. Another icon of the 20th Century dwindles away. It was a good run, Fotomat.

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