Twitpic is shutting down

UPDATE: It’s with a heavy heart that I announce again that Twitpic will be shutting down on October 25th. We worked through a handful of potential acquirers and exhausted all potential options. We were almost certain we had found a new home for Twitpic (hence our previous tweet), but agreeable terms could not be met. Normally we wouldn’t announce something like that prematurely but we were hoping to let our users know as soon as possible that Twitpic was living on.

I’m sincerely sorry (and embarrassed) for the circumstances leading up to this, from our initial shutdown announcement to an acquisition false alarm.

You can export your data and photos at: http://twitpic.com/account/settings

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Twitpic will be shutting down September 25th. You will be able to export all your photos and videos. We’ll let everyone know when this feature is live in the next few days. (The export tool can be found at http://twitpic.com/account/settings)

This is an unexpected and hard announcement for us to make and we want to lay out what led us to this decision.

A few weeks ago Twitter contacted our legal demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API. This came as a shock to us since Twitpic has been around since early 2008, and our trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009.

Here is some backstory on the history of our trademark:

We originally filed for our trademark in 2009 and our first use in commerce dates back to February 2008 when we launched. We encountered several hurdles and difficulties in getting our trademark approved even though our first use in commerce predated other applications, but we worked through each challenge and in fact had just recently finished the last one. During the “published for opposition” phase of the trademark is when Twitter reached out to our counsel and implied we could be denied access to their API if we did not give up our mark.

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic.

On a personal note I (@noaheverett) want to thank you for letting us be a part of your life and helping you share your experiences over the past 6 years, it’s truly been an honor. I have learned so much through running Twitpic over the years. Through the many mistakes I’ve made and lessons learned, to the bad days and the great days. Thank you again everyone…I will miss and cherish the days of Twitpic we had together.

Five Things You Should Know about Noah Everett

For those of you who are unaware, today is a special day that occurs only once a year: National Boss Day.  It is on this day that we are asked to take some time to commemorate the person who keeps the company running, the money flowing, and the employees happy.

Here at TwitPic, we wanted to celebrate this day in style.  Rather than posting a tweet saying something lame like “Happy National Boss Day!”, we’ve decided to put a little more creativity behind it.

So, without further ado, I give you: Five Things You Should Know about Noah Everett.

#1. Noah is really Johnny Knoxville in disguise.

While most of the time Noah does an awesome job of covering this up, sometimes Johnny begins to show through.  Who would have known the crazed stuntman who appears in such films as Jackass, Jackass 2, Jackass 3D, and Men in Black II is also a successful social media entrepreneur?  We were surprised when we discovered this too, but we have to admit… we’re cool with it as long as he doesn’t decide to play frisbee with our Macbook Pros.

#2. Noah is an aspiring mirror model.

When you’re an entrepreneur, your job is to keep an eye out for whats hot and whats new. Attempting to stay ahead of the curve, Noah has been practicing his mirror modeling skills in order to keep up with the latest trend in personal photography. I think the pictures speak for themselves here.

#3. Noah has had a love affair with his computer.

“Hello clarice, it’s good to see you”

This racy photo was posted to his TwitPic account back in December, 2009. The photo caption seems to be hinting at some kind of complex love affair that only a true programmer would fall into. It is believed that TwitPic is the child produced by Noah and this computer, although a different computer may be the real father. The investigation continues.

#4. Noah is such a pro photo-bomber that he even bombs his own photos.

This photo-bomb was taken at the latest Chirp conference in San Francisco with none other than the musical genius that is BT. As you can see from Noah’s crazed expression, he clearly couldn’t pass up an opportunity to photo-bomb a picture as epic as this. For shame, Noah, for shame.

#5. This is what sexy looks like.

@twitpicmom thinks this has something to do with buying the pink plastic swimming pool instead of the toy machine gun that he wanted for his 8th birthday.

Ok, but really…

So maybe not all of these things are true, but one thing definitely is: Noah is an awesome boss. His laid-back attitude combined with his passion is what helps to make our job so enjoyable. His views are truly that of a “startup company”: avoiding rigid corporate hierarchies, allowing flexible time schedules, and letting us pursue our ideas makes TwitPic a fun company to work for, and has helped to contribute to its success. So Noah, we hope you are having an awesome Boss Day and we hope that you will continue to run TwitPic with just as much awesomeness.

Hiring an Advertising Manager

Twitpic is seeking an experienced Advertising Manager to develop, implement, and manage our advertising strategy, both from a business, sales and technical perspective with advertisers, agencies and networks. You will work on cutting edge monetization projects within our Ads and Commerce team. Dealing with advertising campaigns large and small.

If you’re an enthusiastic Twitter/Twitpic user with relevant sales/account management experience, analytical skills, and a passion for learning, who thrives at the intersection of business, technology, data, and marketing we invite you to talk to us about our advertising sales organization at Twitpic Inc.

This is a full-time salary position that could be worked remotely (US residents only).

Responsibilities

  • Manage all aspects of an ad server
  • Proactively seek ad sales as well as monitor current ad sales
  • Collaborating with advertisers to understand their objectives, recommending best practices, and developing effective campaigns
  • Executing, optimizing, and analyzing advertising programs using internal tools and dashboards
  • Resolving campaign issues in a timely and productive manner, and identifying and implementing process improvements
  • Managing contracts and renewals, and assisting our with payables and collections
  • Providing feedback to our product and tools teams to help us scale our advertising platform
  • Mentoring new team members as our organization grows
  • Other duties as needed may include: general office administration and customer support

Requirements

  • 2+ years of experience managing digital marketing programs for advertisers or their agencies
  • Demonstrated ability to create, develop, and enhance customer relationships
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, attention to detail, and a bias for proactively resolving issues
  • Aptitude, creativity, and a preference for working in small, collaborative teams with minimal supervision
  • A passion for Twitpic and our mission
  • Demonstrable experience in Ads or Commerce (managing large scale ad systems infrastructure, serving, targeting or e-commerce systems; digital goods/gaming systems a plus)
  • Good understanding of web technologies (HTML, Javascript, Flash, CSS)
  • Overall we need someone with a positive attitude, who is a great communicator, great leader and very, very proactive

How to Apply

Please email your resume to jobs@twitpic.com with a subject of “Advertising Manager”.

Add Photos to Events Automatically with Triggers

Today we launched a new feature to improve our Events system and to make it easier to organize your photos.  This new feature is called an “Event Trigger”.  Basically, it lets you specify a hash tag that, when present in a photo’s tweet, will place that photo in a certain Event.  This makes it very simple to organize your photos on the fly, and from your mobile phone, without having to manually go through all of your photos and add them to events later.

Event Triggers can be added for both new events and events you have already created.  Heres a quick guide for both cases:

Setting a Trigger for New Events

When creating an event, there is now a field below the Description named ‘Trigger’.

Screen shot 2010-07-06 at 2.29.30 PMThe trigger must be a valid Twitter hashtag.  This means it can only be comprised of letters, numbers and underscores.  No spaces, dashes, or other characters are allowed.  The form should only let you type in valid characters, but just in case, we will strip any invalid characters from the hashtag if they somehow make it into the form.

Now that you have an Event Trigger setup, all images uploaded to TwitPic with the hashtag #concert (as shown in the example above) will be automatically placed in the Concerts event.  This includes uploads from the website, 3rd party Twitter clients, and TwitPic Email.

Setting a Trigger for Existing Events

So lets say you already have some events created, but you want to add a Trigger for them.  To do so, navigate to the event page on TwitPic, and then click the small pencil icon on the right side by Event Info.  This will open the Event editor.  There is a new field below Description named ‘Trigger’.  Here, you can specify any valid Twitter hashtag to use as the Event Trigger, as shown below:

Screen shot 2010-07-06 at 2.37.18 PMAgain, the hashtag must be a valid Twitter hashtag so it can only contain letters, numbers and underscores.  After you have entered the Trigger, click Save.  Now any photo uploaded to TwitPic with the hashtag (in this case, #sunset) will be added to this event.

Final Notes

There are a few things that you should know when using Event Triggers:

  1. Only you can use your own Event Triggers.  In other words, everyone must specify their own triggers for their own events.
  2. Your event triggers must be unique among your own Events.  It’s ok if someone else uses the same trigger as you since this does not affect you, but you cannot use the same Trigger twice among your events.
  3. You can put as many Event Triggers in a tweet as you want.  The photo will be added to each Event whose Trigger is put in the tweet.
  4. Triggers are optional.  You do not have to specify a Trigger for every Event you create.

We hope everyone likes this new feature and finds it as useful as we think it will be!

Twitter Places with Photos

Today we officially announced a new feature for TwitPic that integrates some great location-aware features using Twitter’s new Places service.  For a long time, we have wanted to be able to put a location with a photo.  It adds meaning, and it is also a great tool for businesses to stay on top of things.  Since we are using Twitter Places, you can not only say that a photo was taken in “Charleston, SC”, but you can also say that the photo was taken at “Starbucks, 239 King St., Charleston, SC”, for instance.

Adding a location to photos is simple.  There are two ways you can do this:

Adding a Location to a New Photo

When you upload a photo using the TwitPic website (not a 3rd party Twitter app), there is a checkbox in the third step (Post Options) that says “Include location data”.  If this box is checked, this means that you want to specify where this photo was taken.

One thing that is important to note is that we rely on your camera’s ability to store the coordinates of where the photo was taken in order to provide you with better location services.  Almost all moderately new cell phones have this ability, and some high end digital cameras do as well.  If there is no location data stored with your photo, you will not be presented with a page to choose the photo’s location.  If you would still like to choose a location for the photo despite this, you can follow the instructions in the next section.

So once you click the Upload button on the upload page, and if your photo has location data, you will see the new Places page as shown below (click to enlarge):

Screen shot 2010-06-24 at 6.15.07 PM

From here, you can save where the photo was actually taken.  You will see nearby options listed based on where the photo was taken, although if the correct location is not shown, you can search for it, as shown below (click to enlarge):

Screen shot 2010-06-24 at 6.18.46 PM

To select a location, click on it in the list, and it will become highlighted in a pretty blue.  Click the “Save with Location” button at the bottom and voila!  It is important that you click either “Save with Location” or “Save without Location”, or else the tweet with your photo will not be sent to Twitter.

If your photo was not taken at any particular location, but you would still like to show where it was taken on the photo page, you have the option to “Use Exact Coordinates”.  This will show a pinpoint on the map showing exactly where the photo was taken.  Normally, if you choose a Place for the photo, it will show that place instead of the photo’s exact coordinates.

Adding a Location to an Existing Photo

If you would like to go back through your already uploaded photos and assign locations to them as well, then you can do that too!  Simply navigate to the photo you would like to set a location for, and click the link “add/edit location” to the right of the photo.  You will be presented with a page very similar to the one shown above.

If your photo does not have location data stored with it, you will have to search for the place manually.  In the search box, type in the name of the location and be as descriptive as possible.  We are working on refining this search, but for now it may take a few tries to find the right location.  We will also add the ability to choose an exact location by clicking on the map in the future.

Once you have chosen a location, click the “Save with Location” button.  Clicking “Delete Location” will remove the location currently saved with the photo.

Some Final Words

Twitter Places is a very important milestone in our development, but keep in mind that it is an extremely new feature.  Twitter is constantly working to improve the feature, just as we are working to improve our implementation of the feature.  If the location you are searching for is not found, chances are it will be added in the near future as Twitter expands the feature.

We hope you like the new feature, and let us know what you think!

We hit 10 million users today!

It’s a big milestone day for us here at Twitpic and we want to say thank you to all of our users…all 10 million of you (not to mention the 40 million different people who visit the site every month)!

I launched Twitpic 2 years ago over a weekend as a pet project and I had no idea it would turn into what it has today – Twitpic would not be what it is without all of you, our faithful users, and you truly do mean a lot to us…*queue group hug*

To show our thanks we are also releasing a new feature today called Face Tagging. With Face Tagging you can tag people in your photos and also let them know when they’ve been tagged. If you are familiar with Facebook’s photo tagging then this should be very familiar to you.

Face Tagging in action

Twitpic Face Tagging

We hope you enjoy the new features and we have much more in the works!

Also we will be giving out free hugs to all of our users to say thanks…@noaheverett likes hugs.

Get your Twitpic stickers

Update: The deadline for us to receive your SASE to be part of the Twitpic sticker contest is December 31st. You can still send us an SASE after December 31st and you will still get free stickers.

We were overwhelmed by the response to the Twitpic stickers we just got in, so we have been working on a plan to get YOU these stickers.

Here’s how it works:
Just send a Self Addressed, Stamped Envelope to the address below and we will send you back some Twitpic stickers!

Feel free to include a note confessing your undying love for Twitpic or a stick figure that you drew, since @noaheverett himself will be receiving this mail at his apartment and he likes real mail (not junk mail full of coupons that he never users…except for the pizza ones, those were good)

A note will be included with your stickers with instructions on a photo contest we are running in conjunction with these free stickers…and yes there will be a prize for the winner.

So to recap just send a self addressed, stamped envelope to:

Attn: @noaheverett
7736 Farr St Apt 907
Charleston, SC 29492

..and you will get Twitpic stickers! and maybe some lint

Email posting vulnerability fixed

Yesterday we were made aware of a vulnerability with our email posting system that would allow someone to brute force someone’s Twitpic email PIN by trying every combination until one worked. A fix has been put in place to prevent this from happening.

I want to stress that no account information was compromised, the vulnerability only allowed someone to post a photo to Twitpic/Twitter on someone’s behalf, but did not allow access to their account in any way. Once we were made aware of the issue we immediately began work on a fix and also shut down email system to prevent any unauthorized postings. Also any account that was affected by this was remedied. Less than 10 users were affected by the attacks.

I want to make it clear that this was NOT a Twitter issue, but a Twitpic issue, and I take full responsibility for it. Once I contacted Twitter about the issue on our end, they worked with us to help remedy any unauthorized postings and they were extremely helpful. Kudos to the Twitter team.

We have already begun working with the ISP’s where the attacks originated from to find out who they were initiated by and to investigate what action should be taken. The ISP’s have been helpful and have already given us information about the accounts where the attacks originated from – (@noaheverett has already broke out the ninja suit…on snap).

I want to apologize to anyone this has affected and I want you to know that we take security seriously. Thank you very much for being Twitpic users and allowing us to be part of your photo sharing experience.

Hiring a Software/Systems Engineer

If you spent 15 hours a day on the computer growing up like I did and drink enough caffeine to kill a horse, then this may interest you.

The technical challenges and work load have become too much for just me (@noaheverett) to do alone, so Twitpic is looking to add a Software/Systems Engineer because it’s growing and it’s growing fast. Twitpic has close to 1.5 million users over 3 million users now and is accelerating at an astounding rate.

What we are looking for:

  • Experience with all aspects of the LAMP stack (aka PHP ninja)
  • Experience working on web platforms that receive millions of request every day and scaling those platforms (including web serving, database optimization, & code optimization)
  • Knowledge of standards compliant HTML/CSS/Javascript a plus
  • Self motivated, passionate & a team player
  • Someone who loves Twitter and its community

Responsibilities:

  • Maintain existing and engineer new functionality
  • Continually improve the performance and scalability of the Twitpic service
  • Monitor service stability and performance
  • Design, implement, and maintain PHP-based application and infrastructure components
  • Refactor and improve maintainability of the codebase
  • Rapidly fix bugs and solve problems
  • Provide user support when needed
  • Do @noaheverett‘s laundry…just kidding…but seriously

NOTE: this position is located in Charleston, South Carolina

lolcat-job

Send your resume to jobs@twitpic.com.

Be sure to include the title of this position “Software/Systems Engineer” in the subject.

Bringing the Rain

Hello everyone, I wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been up to at Twitpic and some new things that are coming.

First off, the data center move was completed last week and things are running much smoother now. The move is now allowing us to scale easier as Twitpic grows and boy are we growing at an astounding rate. Thank you so much for your patience with us these last few months as we’ve learned to handle Twitpic’s growth.

Secondly, I wanted to address the issue of pornography being uploaded to Twitpic and some users posting harassing comments and tags on photos. Let me just start by saying that this will NOT be tolerated and in the next coming weeks any user found in violation of our Terms of Service, uploading inappropriate content, and/or posting harassing comments/tags will be banned.

This has not been a huge issue in the past, but since Twitpic has been growing by leaps and bounds lately its become something that has to be put in check. I know I personally wouldn’t want to be presented with this kind of content and neither should you have to be presented with it either. My goal is to create a site that is family friendly. Also, the ability to delete comments/tags from your photos is being added this week.

Some really exciting things are in the works so stay tuned and THANK YOU for allowing us to be a part of your photo sharing experiences.