At long last, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Thursday’s late afternoon announcement regarding a tentative (subject to court approval) agreement between Panstoria and Creative Memories really got the social media sites buzzing! I first saw the announcement on the News Feed in my StoryBook Creator program, and rushed to grab a screen shot and post it on our Facebook page, then I quickly checked some other sites for more information. The version in SBC was written by Panstoria, and Creative Memories Consultants received a similar but slightly different version from the CM Home Office. As is often the case, a bit of information spawned even more questions and lots of speculation.
Here at pixels2Pages, we do our best to wait until there is solid information to share and to resist wondering about what might happen. We’ll all know soon enough, but we realize how hard it is to wait and wonder. So, here’s the most recent information shared by Panstoria – there has already been an update to the original post:
After reading lots of questions from Consultants and customers, and after consultation with our partners, Panstoria, I will attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. Please keep in mind that while this announcement is BIG NEWS, it is by no means a done deal. It still requires court approval, and this was also posted yesterday: “there are additional conversations happening between Panstoria, Creative Memories, and a third interested firm. If that negotiation is successful, it will supersede this agreement.”
I have done my best to ask the right questions to the right people, but I still may not get it 100% right. Based on what the above announcement says, and on the research I’ve done, here are my best answers to some of your potential questions.
Q. Why is activation support for Memory Manager and StoryBook only available through the end of this year?
A. Creative Memories has decided not to market and support MM and SBC as part of their new business plan. This agreement is intended to provide a way for current users of MM and SBC to continue to use those programs until they are able to purchase and install Panstoria’s branded programs, Historian and Artisan, which are very similar to MM and SBC. As noted previously, Panstoria created and developed all four of those programs.
Q. What exactly does activation support mean?
A. Currently, if you need to install MM or SBC onto a new computer, you may need to contact Creative Memories to get a new activation code. After 23 September 2013, when CM ceases its support of these programs, there would be no way to get a new activation code without this agreement.
Q. So what happens if I need to install MM or SBC after 31 December 2013?
A. You will no longer be able to get a new activation code. To continue using similar programs, you would need to purchase Artisan and/or Historian.
Q. What about other support for MM and SBC?
A. Panstoria will not be providing tech support, bug fixes (other than for printing issues), updates (again, other than for printing), or upgrades (to new versions of the software) for Creative Memories programs, Memory Manager and StoryBook Creator. They will be providing all of those things for their programs, Historian and Artisan.
Q. Regarding printing, what happens after 31 December 2013?
A. As stated above, you will be able to print from SBC to the Panstoria Print Shop AT LEAST through 31 December 2013. While you may be able to print from SBC at Panstoria Print Shop beyond that date, you may want to be planning to convert to Artisan to insure printing capabilities continue.
Q. What does ‘similar, though not identical’ mean?
A. Printing will not be done at the Creative Memories Digital Center, so the results won’t be identical. Some products currently available may not be available in the future, while some new products may be available. The print quality will be high. The Panstoria Print Shop is under construction now, so look for more info on printing later this month.
Q. Does this mean I can upload books and projects directly to the Panstoria Print Shop from my SBC program? What about from Artisan?
A. Yes, that’s what it means. Same process as is currently available. Artisan users do not need to be concerned with the 31 December 2013 date.
Q. Will I have to pay for this update that will let me print books at PPS?
A. No, there is no fee for this update.
Q. So this is the biggie, right? I’ll be able to use all of my content in Artisan?
A. That is correct! Your investment in content has been protected! No converting content required – you’ll be able to use your SBC content in Artisan as it is!
Q. What about my tags and categories?
A. Tags are no problem. We are working on some strategies for categories.
Q. How do I make the switch from SBC to Artisan?
Q. So are you saying that I can buy some of the CM content I missed earlier? Even if I live in Australasia?
A. Yes, for up to six months after court approval. No matter where you live!
Q. What happens after that?
A. Panstoria is in the process of finding quality content for its store, but CM content will not be available for purchase after the six months have expired. You will still be able to use content that you purchased prior to that.
Q. I’m a Consultant, and most of my business is digital. How will I be able to make money now?
A. First, you will need to check with Creative Memories to see what is permitted if you plan to remain a CMC. Panstoria offers an affiliate program – click HERE for information about becoming a Panstoria affiliate. Being an affiliate allows you to earn income when people purchase anything from the Panstoria Store (NOT the Panstoria Print Shop) after clicking on an affiliate link on your blog or website. pixels2Pages is a Panstoria affiliate, so we’d appreciate it if you click HERE to purchase Artisan or HERE to purchase Historian. APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers) members are eligible for a higher percentage of affiliate earnings.
pixels2Pages is exploring affiliate program options now, but it may be next year before we are prepared to offer such a program.
Q. What about printing? Can I get a commission for that?
A. Panstoria is not a direct sales company – they are an online business. They do not have Consultants, and they do not intend to ‘replace’ Creative Memories. At this point, the only way to earn income via digital sales is to become a Panstoria affiliate.
Q. So are you saying that even if I have MM and SBC, and they work just fine, I should buy ANOTHER program? Why?
A. For reasons (mostly regarding support) mentioned above, we recommend that you at least begin planning to purchase Panstoria’s software. Also, please consider that Panstoria is in business, too. For all of us to be able to continue to use the software programs we have come to love, we need to make sure Panstoria is able to remain a viable business. Without Panstoria, we’ll all be looking for new digital scrapbooking software!
Q. So will there be a discount, since I’ve already paid for MM and SBC?
A. Artisan and Historian are both reasonably priced at $39.95. Artisan can be loaded on TWO computers – at this time, Historian can only be loaded on one machine. The programs are VERY SIMILAR to SBC and MM – most of you will not notice a difference – but they are not the same! Creative Memories has made a business decision to simplify their offerings, and part of that decision means they will no longer support, promote, and market StoryBook Creator and Memory Manager software. Creative Memories has worked with Panstoria to come to an agreement that provides the best possible solution for CM customers. Panstoria is stepping up to offer us a solution for our digital scrapbooking needs. I believe Panstoria deserves our support.
Q. What does that NOTE mean? What third party?
A. No clues about the identity of the interested third party. It sounds to me like a company may be interested in purchasing the digital portion of Creative Memories. I am not sure what that would mean for any of us, so we’ll just need to be patient and see what develops.
The bottom line for me is that no matter what happens – whether conversations with third parties turn into deals or not – as long as the court approves of this agreement, we will be able to keep scrapping using software that we love, and using the content we’ve invested in! pixels2Pages is looking forward to great things to come with our new partners, Panstoria and APPO. We invite you to follow our path to the future!