Friday, August 24, 2007

"Skip the expensive photo shoot..." - What the #%^@ !

This section of a newsletter (at right) landed in my inbox lat night - 8/24 at 5:00:26 PM EDT because I am a past Modern Postcard client, and then at 9:23:16 PM EDT, my inbox gets the following below:

One of the sentences in it is:

we stated to "skip the expensive photo shoot" by using iStockphoto instead. We sincerely apologize as this miscommunicates our intentions and our feelings about professional photography...The two co-founders of Modern Postcard started their careers as photographers and are intensely loyal to the photography profession.
Sorry - someone "intensely loyal" wouldn't do that. Maybe someone "loyal" by accident, but intense? No.
(Continued after the Jump)
They go on to stand by the statement with the excuse:
The target audience of this service is small / home office businesses on a limited budget that have never been able to afford quality photography and therefore have never used it.
No, your "target" audience was the revenue that your photographer "friends" earn serving these businesses, and I got one, so the e-mail blast certainly wasn't targeted at all. Further, I have, in the last six months, done assignments that were portraits of home office business owners and other small businesses, and let me tell you, setting up a 9 foot seamless in someone's living room for a full length portrait isn't easy.

When you say:
We enjoy a strong relationship with the artistic community and will continue to do everything possible to help them promote their talent and grow their businesses.
you can start by firing the marketing person who allowed this nonsense to occur in the first place. This would fall into doing "everything possible." Your staff should be keenly aware of the landscape of it's clientele, and the challenges we face - and the problems with microstock are well publicized to be sure.

They invite comments, so send yours:

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad they published that newsletter now and not after after completion of my planned order with Modern Postcard. Insulting customers like that is just stupid beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

You would think with all the advertising they do in PDN and other industry rags, that they would not be so penny wise and pound-foolish just to appease a "new" relationship.

I've always been happy with MP, the service and printed cards.

Even with the apology, they are going to loose customers over this and even worse, their reputation is not tarnished.

Wanna bet that PDN writes it up?

Unknown said...

Call me a bleeding hear but .... the person who will probably be fired is the one who hit the "send" button not the right person IMHO. If I were MP, I'd rather hold onto the person who had final approval because you can be sure they learned a hard lesson. The next person MP hires as a replacement may not have learned that lesson yet so they may be doomed to repeat the mistake.

The right person would be he/her who signed the iStock deal. Unless of course the iStock deal was worth more than future business from expensive photographers.

Anonymous said...

The co-founders might be loyal while the "Modern Postcard Management" is not. An interesting question to ask might be whether the co-founders are even invovled anymore? It's been 15 years, right? Hoffman and Toya-Brown could be retired or uninvolved in the day-to-day operations, couldn't they?

How is your example of the full length portrait connected to this ad? The ad is for stock photos rather than portraits of the business owners, isn't it?

Unknown said...

They have ignited a firestorm in their customer base with this blooper. I've heard about this on other blogs and mailing lists and the common reaction from photographers ahs been to ask for the names of other good postcard printers to use since they are dropping their accounts with Modern.

John Harrington said...

>>>How is your example of the full length portrait connected to this ad?

It is an example of the fact that these "home-based businesses" are in fact my client, and thus, this ad is targeted at diminishing the freelance photographer's assignment base - including me, hence the sentence:

"...I have, in the last six months, done assignments that were portraits of home office business owners..."

-- John

Anonymous said...

just ditch modern postcard and switch on over to they print beautiful work, better perhaps if you get the satin finish, and they aren't %#@^ing their main client base.

if we all vote with our pocket books, this type of derisive attitude towards professional photographers will be less frequent industry wide.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I guess the spin has started.

Sorry you lose.

narayan said...

I am so glad I saw a link to this on Lightstalkers. I was in the midst of getting some promo cards done by MP. After reading this and the PDN blurb, I thew out the sample packets I got and starting looking at the competition. thanks for the public service announcment.

Anonymous said...

unless they do something dramatic to win me back, i wont be using MP anymore. any suggestions on similar printing services?

Anonymous said...

How to shoot yourself in the foot big time.. :)

Someone dropped a large one over this and its going to be all over the net faster than you can download a CF card.

Thanks for bringing it to our attention John. Certainly focusses the mind on the next promo splurge for sure.


Anonymous said...


Why is the path everyone seems to take these days exclusively related to lowest cost/price?

I'm proofing a job right now that I'm sending to MP.

Er, was planning on sending to MP.

Hey, here's an idea, skip the expensive printing job! Gang up a bunch of copies of your promo and go down to your local copy shop. They can run them off of their copiers for about 50 cents a page.
You cut them apart yourself and bypass the expensive printing process!!

The sentiment's the

Anonymous said...

They should focus on Star Wars video remakes with employees as the actors.

SecondFocus Photography by Ian L. Sitren said...

"Modern Postcard Ends Relationship With iStockPhoto"

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately my September promo is about to go out. My promo design is based on the Triple Sumo so its too late to redesign for a different printer's format. But, after this promo I will no longer be using Modern Postcard unless they send out an email saying they will not be going ahead with the iStockphoto plan.

Anonymous said...

i've used for years and always thought they did better work than modern anyways...i'm sure sticking with them now.

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