Fotomoto, we’re breaking up
September 17, 2013 Update
Having realized that a lot of people are still coming to this article from searches, I wanted to run a quick update on our relationship with Fotomoto:
We're back together!
I'm happy to say that Fotomoto announced that they're now part of Bay Photo, and their service has been restored! Some of the original team is back on board as well, and my contacts at Fotomoto have assured me that it's back to "business as usual".
I've already re-enabled support for Fotomoto in CE3 Gallery, so it's safe to use Fotomoto on your sites again.
If you've got any questions about the Fotomoto situation, feel free to contact their support team at
Our original post from June 11 appears below in full.
Good people make good business.
When I first contacted them in 2009, Fotomoto was a promising, young startup company. They were good people with good ideas, designing an amazing service for photographers. We quickly struck an accord and formed a partnership. Fotomoto has been a part of TTG image galleries ever since, and our early work together helped to shape the API that many other third-parties would come to rely on for Fotomoto integration.
Over the years, Fotomoto continued to improve its services, backing them up with passion, commitment and excellent support.
In February this year, Fotomoto was purchased by liveBooks. Some of you are already familiar with my low opinion of liveBooks as a company and as a product, so it should not surprise you that news of the purchase set me at unease. I reached out to my contacts at Fotomoto, however, and they assured me they were still with the company and would stay the course. They sounded optimistic about the acquisition, and all appeared to be well, so I set my unease aside.
Fast-forward to present ...
Earlier this month, the Fotomoto website went offline for most of a week. To my knowledge, liveBooks acknowledged the outage not at all: not on the blog, nor on Twitter, Facebook, the support forum ... total silence on all fronts. I reached out to my contacts within Fotomoto, great fellows every one. The former CEO Ahmad Kiarostami was quick to respond, as usual. Unfortunately, his response only restored my unease over the liveBooks acquisition: the original Fotomoto team is no longer with liveBooks. Insofar as he is aware, there is no longer a support team at liveBooks to answer messages about Fotomoto.
About the current situation he said, "This is really frustrating and painful, and I really wish I could do something about it, but as you know Fotomoto is owned by liveBooks now, and there's nothing I can do."
There is more, but I do not feel comfortable sharing everything I have been told in confidence. Suffice to say, I do not feel good about what I know.
I have attempted to contact liveBooks CEO Andy Patricks directly for clarification of the situation, wanting to make an informed decision on how or whether to proceed with Fotomoto support for The Turning Gate and TTG customers. Also to inquire after unclaimed affiliate commissions which I am owed in the amount of $868.37. Andy Patricks has not replied to my messages.
As of today, the situation continues to devolve. Parts of the Fotomoto website are back online, but the site is broken; many pages and much dashboard functionality remain unavailable. The liveBooks website has been redesigned within the last 24 hours, removing all mention of the Fotomoto brand. I have been in conversations with other Fotomoto members, equally frustrated and some reporting recent orders having gone unfulfilled and unrefunded. And of course, liveBooks has maintained total silence on the matter. At this point, I think it's clear what needs to be done ...
Good people make good business.
Fotomoto was an excellent company full of good people, offering brilliant service to photographers. Thus far, liveBooks has proven itself to be a poor steward for the Fotomoto brand. Their apparent mismanagement of the brand, and their total lack of transparency regarding this situation and their intent for the brand only shows how little respect they have for their customers and partners. With a heavy heart, I have decided that a continued partnership between The Turning Gate and a liveBooks-operated Fotomoto is untenable. For all I know, Fotomoto may cease to exist tomorrow.
Going forward, Fotomoto support will be dropped from TTG plugins, beginning with the next update to TTG CE3 Gallery. Those of you currently running Fotomoto-enabled image galleries, I strongly advise that you remove or replace those galleries immediately. If you're managing those galleries with CE3 Publisher, then you should only need to replace the gallery template; if not using CE3 Publisher, then it's going to be a larger job.
This is an unfortunate situation, and I can only apologize to those TTG users who have come to rely on our Fotomoto implementation. I wish I might have taken action sooner, but this situation has come without warning and has rapidly escalated to disastrous proportions. I think Ahmad said it best: "... Fotomoto is owned by liveBooks now, and there's nothing I can do."
Update, 2013.06.12 9:00 p.m.
Response to the above has been overwhelmingly supportive, for which I thank you all. I sincerely appreciate all of your understanding.
But I have also received several messages with questions -- variations on the same basic questions -- and so I felt it might be a good idea to offer clarification on a few points ...
"What's Fotomoto? I don't understand how this affects me."
Fotomoto is an e-commerce platform for selling images, and has been an optional feature in TTG plugins since 2009.
Were you using Fotomoto, then you would have signed up for the service and setup your galleries to interface with your Fotomoto.com account. These steps would have been very deliberate on your part.
Galleries not setup to use Fotomoto contain absolutely nothing related to it.
So if you were using Fotomoto to sell images from your galleries, you would know it. If you have not been using Fotomoto's features in your galleries, then you need not worry, and need take no further action.
"I'm using Fotomoto in my galleries. How urgent is this?"
Very urgent, I think. Fotomoto has been broken in the most insidious way that I can imagine:
To the visitor, the gallery and sales interface appear to be in perfectly working order. Purchase buttons continue to function, the Fotomoto widget allows items to be configured and ordered, and the system accepts and processes payments for orders.
From what I have heard from other Fotomoto users, however, that's where functionality stops. Orders are not being processed on the back end, and are not being sent to printers for production. The Fotomoto system is accepting clients' payments, but failing to deliver the ordered products.
I cannot verify the situation either way at this point, but if these reports are true, then this is a potentially disastrous situation for photographers running Fotomoto-enabled galleries. Erring on the side of caution, I therefore advise that taking your Fotomoto galleries offline be made a **very high priority**.
Update, 2013.06.13 01:49 a.m.
Someone in the Fotomoto forums suggested something I hadn't thought of for disabling your Fotomoto galleries. Log into your Fotomoto account, and you should be able to kill all sales functionality by turning everything off in the dashboard. Of course, this assumes you're able to access your dashboard ... in my experience, and what I've heard from others is that dashboard access has been flakey these last few days. Still, worth a try. If it works, then it's going to be the easiest way to ensure people aren't attempting to order images until you're able to remove or replace your existing galleries.