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PicMonkey Rolls Out Royale, Charging For Some Features

Yesterday afternoon, the photo editing site PicMonkey well beloved by the blogosphere launched its Royale service, with many popular features no only available for a small monthly fee of $4.99.

PicMonkey had been warning folks for months, and has made it clear for a while that they would be charging soon. Even so, the move startled some folks.

I asked Lisa at PicMonkey about the change (full disclosure: I’m a huge PicMonkey fan, and have a professional relationship with the company). “We love what we do, ” She said via email. “We are proud of the easy, fun and creative tools we provide our visitors.  We are a self-funded company and it is important to us that we can keep cranking out that top notch experience. Since the launch of Royale we have heard some great feedback. As PicMonkey continues to grow and change we will certainly listen to that feedback just as we always have and always will. ”

Reaction from the blogosphere was mixed.

Some folks weren’t thrilled. Vera Sweeney of Lady and the Blog said, “While I would prefer for the service to be free, it has become such an integral part of my blogging routine that I am wiling to pay.” Shana of Shanamama feels more strongly. “It sucks!! While I wish it were free they still offer a decent amount of free options and for those in a pinch that don’t have an editing software at hand it’s still a great site to use,” she says. Melissa is also upset. ” I for one am SO upset- I just started to use it and it made me feel so talented– and I loved that it was free,” she says. “I wish there was some kind of reciprocal link program they could do with bloggers instead of charging.”

But most bloggers don’t mind. “It has become vital to my work to make images better especially when taken with a mobile phone, to resize, and to watermark,” says Elena of Live.Do.Grow. “Now I wish that the paid membership came with an app for the ipad so that we could use it directly from there.” Melissa of Rock and Drool loves the app. ” I love PicMonkey,” she says. “Even photoshopping illiterates, like myself, can use it and create decent images. LOVE it!”

Personally, I think the fee is reasonable, and I am happy to pay it. I use it every day. I also know that by charging a fee it will be easier for PicMonkey to stick around. I also know that building and developing a site like PicMonkey isn’t cheap. So basically, I agree with Lynette’s tweet here:

 

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