I have to say that, when adding up all of the services and functionality that ipernity does provide, neither one of these issues are reasons for such disdain from the ipernity community - at least not from my point of view. Here are my thoughts on the matter.

First: limited customization

Sure, ipernity (at least as I write this) has drastically cut back on the ways you can customize your account's home page. But, really, how much does this affect your visitor's overall experience to the content that you share? With the old ipernity, the customizations only went as far as the home page. As soon as anyone viewed any of you content, it was back to the standard ipernity layout, no customizations make it to the albums, blogs, or group pages.

So, to leave ipernity simply because your home page, which is probably only viewed for a few minutes when someone visits your account, is not as customizable as before is a little excessive - if not irrational - I think.

Second: limited storage for "free" accounts.

It's a bit of a shock to go from "unlimited" to "limited", but this is a matter of business. While the customer base is small, companies can get away being a little more generous with their services. But, as business grows, things become a little more expensive to maintain and what used to be limitless space and bandwidth start to get a little more limited. A greater number of people compete for the same amount of resources. So, in order to survive and provide for everyone, a small business either has to lower the quality of service, or expand. Expansion usually means more cost and now, what used to be enough to get by, isn't. That's just the way of things.

Because ipernity is made up of a community of people, the amount each of us has to contribute is lower than what we'd have to pay if we were to do it ourselves. And if you don't want to pay or contribute to the service that is being provided, then you still have an option to take part in things; you just can't expect to use up as many of the resources as the contributors do.

Let's really look at what we've being asked to pay. For me, here in Canada, the cost for a membership is about $25.00 a year for unlimited storage space and access. And with this membership, I use ipernity as a back-up storage space for many of my files. Not only do I use it to store (and share) my photos and videos, but I also use it to back-up certain music files, PDFs, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, Commodore 64 disk images, and other non-media files.

I could not pay for a club membership with ipernity, but what would be my alternatives if I wanted to do the same thing with other resources? Well, I could just go out and buy a USB hard drive and back-up my files that way, but I'd have to spend a bit more than $25.00 - unless I just wanted to have a few hundred gigabytes. Also, I'd have to carry my USB device around with me, if I wanted to have the same accessibility that ipernity provides me. But that doesn't make it very safe for my files, as they'd be just as vulnerable as the computer - at getting lost, stolen or damaged that is.

I could use other web-services, but I'd have to use several content storage providers to accomplish the same as ipernity (one for photo sharing, one for video sharing, and one for other files). When you compare the limitations that many other "free" content sharing companies actually provide to what ipernity offers - with a tiny staff of 10 dedicated people - you realize it is quit remarkable.

Besides all of this, I believe in showing support of "the little guy" when ever I can afford to do so - especially when I'm getting a service that I consider to be valuable to me. So, I don't mind supporting ipernity, as it seems to be that they're trying to improve (I wasn't sure a year ago, when it seemed that they were going to stay in "beta" forever).

I guess I'm getting long winded here, so I guess I'll wrap it up. But I think you see my point. With all that ipernity can deliver and at the cost they are asking of their clients, I really don't think the changes in their services is all that unreasonable. I think some people just need to stop taking the changes personally and just take a step back and look at it from a different point of view.