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Phanfare is an online subscription-based photo sharing and video sharing service. It was introduced in November 2004 by Phanfare, Inc, a company founded by Andrew Erlichson and Mark Heinrich.


Phanfare is targeted at prosumers and serious amateurs who desire archival photo and video sharing. Consumers can upload their digital photos and videos to Phanfare. Phanfare provides each customer with a destination URL where they can direct viewers. Phanfare integrates address book and invitation tools to allow the consumer to efficiently send out invitations to view albums. It backs up and holds original fullsize images using Amazon S3, allowing the consumer to retrieve their original digital assets in the event that they lose their local copy. Aside from providing consumers a destination web site of their digital photos, free of advertising, Phanfare aims to significantly improve the consumer workflow behind digital photography and video. Phanfare was acquired by Carbonite on 6/2/11.

Uploading of photos and videos[edit]

Phanfare distributes a photo and video organizing program called Phanfare Photo (Windows and Mac compatible) that uploads photos and video in the background while the consumer adds captions, edits and organizes the content. Phanfare Photo converts images to smaller sizes well-suited for web browsing, and uploads these images first, before full-sized images and videos get sent. As a result, albums appear on the web with the smaller-sized images very quickly. Phanfare overlaps productive user work with network latency, giving users the perception of faster uploads. Phanfare can import JPEG, Adobe Photoshop PSD images as well as AVI, QuickTime, WMV and MPEG-2 movies.

Phanfare also provides an Apple iPhone app, Phanfare Photon, for uploading and viewing photos and videos as well as plugins for major photo and video organizing programs.

Phanfare has been noted by the Wall Street Journal for its novel approach to video sharing [1] and its media retention policies.[2]

The ideas for cache-coherent synchronization of photos and videos to a local application cache can be traced back to work in Cache Coherence in shared memory Multiprocessing.

History of Phanfare[edit]

First released in November 2004, Phanfare initially provided simple web hosting of photos and videos at short URLs in the Phanfare domain. Phanfare provided viewing and sharing without requiring that viewers register with Phanfare. Phanfare sites were optionally protected with site passwords.

Until the 2.0 upgrade in January 2008, Phanfare customers could buy a lifetime plan for $299.95. This would include unlimited storage for life for the purchaser.

In January 2008, Phanfare introduced social networking features to the Phanfare system, de-emphasized the desktop clients, and began offering a freemium level of service (initially 1GB free, and later reduced to 256MB free).

In 2008, Phanfare introduced printed products including silver halide prints, digitally printed books and cards.

In June 2009, in response to customer feedback, Phanfare deprecated the social networking features introduced in January 2008 and instead substituted conduits for Facebook and flickr.

At the same time, Phanfare eliminated their freemium business model, instead offering a 14-day free trial and then only paid accounts. Advertising never materialized as a revenue stream. Phanfare's revenues come only from subscription fees and selling merchandise to subscribers.

On June 6, 2011, Carbonite acquired Phanfare. Carbonite declined to honor Phanfare lifetime memberships, instead granted lifetime members $299 in Phanfare credit which would expire after three years if unused.[3] Two days later, Phanfare founder and CEO, Andrew Erlichson notified lifetime subscribers that customers requesting a refund will be paid not by Carbonite, but what remains of Phanfare, Inc.[4]

In May, 2012, Erlichson left Carbonite exactly one year after the purchase.

Since Erlichson's departure, there have been no new features or updates to the service's applications, no new content on the Phanfare blog,[5] nor any company participation in the Phanfare forum. On December 31, 2012 Andrew Erlichson commented in the forum that "Phanfare is frozen in carbonite".[6]


Phanfare is licensed for consumer use. As of July 2006, there are no storage limits but consumers are limited to 10GB of upstream and 15GB of downstream network traffic per month.

Revenue model[edit]

Phanfare is a subscription-based service. Phanfare offers three subscription plans: the Basic subscription at $29/year then Phanfare Premium for $99/year and Phanfare Pro for $199/year. Phanfare also sells photo books, cards and prints.

System requirements[edit]

As of August 2006, the optional desktop software requires either Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X. Other operating systems such as Linux are not supported.

Phanfare provides a full suite of web-based tools as well as plugins for Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, Google Picasa, and Apple iPhoto.


  1. ^ Vauhini Vara (5 July 2005). "Family movies find new home on the web". Wall Street Journal. 
  2. ^ William Bulkeley (1 February 2006). "The downside of photo storage sites". Wall Street Journal: D1. 
  3. ^ George, Kendall. "Newsflash: Phanfare Sucks Again". Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  4. ^ George, Kendall. "Phanfare Update: Sucking Less, Again". Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Erlichson, Andrew. "Post at". Retrieved 15 February 2014. 

External links[edit]