imeem, which describes itself as the "world's largest social music service," just told its community members that it plans to delete all photos and videos that users have uploaded to their profiles and groups on Jun 30th. imeem argues that it is doing this in order to simplify the service and focus on the service's core social music features. According to imeem, user-generated photos and videos weren't very popular on the site and cost a lot to host and stream. In a comment that sounds similar to what we've been hearing from other social media sites, imeem also argues that "there's no ROI for us in UGV," as advertisers just aren't very interested in seeing their content next to amateur videos.
Update: Matt Graves, imeem's VP of marketing and communications, left a comment below. Comments on the imeem blog post are now open, VIP subscribers will be able to get a refund.
The original post continues below:
Unhappy Users and VIPs
It's not surprising, however, that imeem's users are quite vocal about their dissatisfaction with the service's decision to delete the photo and video collections that many have poured quite a few hours of work into over the years. A lot of users are especially outraged by this because they specifically subscribed to imeem's VIP service in order to upload more of their own videos and photos. It's also noteworthy that imeem isn't giving users an easy way to download their content from the site. While users could right-click on every picture and save it to their desktop, there is currently no way to download videos from the site.
Not Handled Well
Overall, we would have to side with imeem's users and it doesn't look like the company is handling this current affair very well. Comments on the blog post are closed, nobody from imeem's staff (as far as we can see) is interacting with customers on imeem's forums, and the service isn't giving paying customers a chance to get a refund. imeem, of course, is under some pressure to make a profit at some point, and the service's relationship with the music industry has been rather rocky lately, but this decision to give users only five days of warning before deleting their content on the site just feels like a textbook case for how not to manage your user community.