Coincidence or Concious Choice

As you may already know, Narendra Rocherolle hosts what is known as the Serendipity Series. It is a speaker-driven event, described as ‘A celebration of tiny interactions and experiences that transform everyday lives.’

On March 5, I sent the following email to one of the participants scheduled to appear in the coming weeks. On March 6, Mike Sitrin made a surprise visit to the Smile by Webshots Sucks Facebook page. Coincidence? I think not. I suspect Narendra received not-so-positive feedback from the recipient regarding his handling of the Webshots to Smile transition. And because this recipient is a well-known, well-respected member of the community, Narendra sat up and took notice. If my suspicions are correct, this exposes Narandra Rocherolle’s Achilles heel. He cares what others think of him – if they are famous and powerful. His Webshot customers? Not so much. Names and dates have been removed for privacy purposes.

Dear Mr …,

I understand you will be appearing at the Message Bus Serendipity Series on …. The series is billed as ‘A celebration of tiny interactions and experiences that transform everyday lives.’

My everyday life, along with thousands of Webshots members, was transformed when Message Bus founder Narendra Rocherolle proceeded to demolish and destroy the Webshots global community after he purchased the company back from American Greetings. In October, users were told Webshots was being replaced with Smile – which we now know was a quickly thrown together piece of garbage with limited functionality. The transition resulted in millions of destroyed photos, broken links to established websites, and the destruction of albums and communities members took years to create.
Users of Webshots, many of them elderly, were literally devastated by these actions. When thousands of members expressed their shock and disbelief on the Webshots.com blog and Facebook page the website was removed and the facebook page was deactivated. The complete and utter disregard shown to the members of Webshots was breathtaking; I have never experienced anything like it before – and it still boggles my mind. The very people who paid membership dues year after year were discarded like yesterday’s trash.
Why am I telling you this? To show you another side of Narendra Rocherolle. The side that writes about empathy in articles like ‘The Empathetic Web’, but shows anything but when faced with the destruction he wrought. The side that let greed trump humanity. But I’ll let the people speak for themselves. Multiply these comments by a few thousand; that will give you a feel for the scope of his damage:
“You have created war with me, my family and many other users of your service.”
“I had to lay down in a darkened room for a few hours, at the sheer shock of what’s happened on Webshots.”
“This is totally devastating after years of uploads to a place I thought I could trust to keep my photos and albums intact.”
“Shame on you..you have no idea what you have done to people.”
“I’m done this is reprehensible”
“This is devastating for anyone who stored their photos on webshots to share them with the world. All this will be gone.”
“If this weren’t such a painful and devastating moment for Webshots, I would really laugh out loud. You’ve been misleading in every way.”
“We trusted you. You betrayed us”
Thank you for taking the time to read my email. I don’t expect anything but the satisfaction that comes from knowing I’ve provided you with a different perspective on Narendra Rocherolle – as seen through the eyes of customers who experienced nothing from him but arrogance and contempt.

Respectfully,

4 thoughts on “Coincidence or Concious Choice

  1. I was Teres187 at Webshots. I second, your excellent post and email.
    Neither, AG or the new owners sent an email, to Webshots customers,
    telling them of the sale and of Webshots closing. It was closed without warning on the morning of October 2, 2012. The paying members, were not able to stop the yearly bill, to their credit card. Every morning, after downloading the pro shots daily, I would read the blogs. They even shut down the download feature, with no warning. I found, out about the Smile/Slime mess, by reading the October blogs. When I renewed my membership, in August of 2012, it was a standard renewal. There was no mention of Webshots being in trouble or closing.

    Webshots was my favorite website and it was my Internet home. I spent hours there, every day. I still miss Webshots. I have reconnected to a lot of my friends and some new friends at Facebook and Flickr. Thank you, for this blog and the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/smilebywebshotsblows .

    Best wishes,

    Teresa

  2. I am stunned by this. I stored on Webshots photos of a unique animal, a beloved, record-breaking, animal adored by people around the world. If you searched for his name, you would find 2.5 MILLION hits.

    And now all his pictures–pictures from amateurs and pros, from his youth to the tragic weeks just before his death–are GONE!

    I was a paying member of Webshots for years…and I cannot believe it was legal for this company to do this. To take our money and make no effort to notify us–even though they had to have had out contact information (since we got their bills!). Their new Terms of Use includes a “you can’t file a class action suit against us” clause. Do we have to hire a law firm to find out if their own one did, I wonder, because they new one sure isn’t valid against a prior complaint.

    If the person writing here is as significant as this implies, why can’t that person help us by leading the way in figuring out what legal recourse we have?

  3. As many others, I too was done in by “Smile”. I have attempted to move my thousands of “webshotsdata” photo files to another location to no avail. I keep getting a Microsoft message saying the files are “not recognized” and to try another format. The good news is that all of my personal files were long ago backed up to DVD disks. I could go on about how underhanded Smile has been but I believe those areas have already been covered by others. I still have the original Webshots on a few of my older computers. As long as I NEVER use the update or modification feature I am safe. Whenever I want to change the frequency of pictures or anything else on that particular computer I just unplug the LAN cable from the back and then proceed.

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