A native New Yorker, ScanMyPhotos CEO Mitch Goldstone has never shied away from a fight. He’s taken on competitors big – like Visa/Mastercard – and small in his 30-year photo-industry entrepreneur career. His latest crusade is against Epson America, which positioned its FastFoto FF-640 desktop scanner as a home solution equivalent to ScanMyPhotos’ own industrial scanners.
The FastFoto FF-640 is bundled with easy-to-use software, with a scanning speed of about 1 photo per second. ScanMyPhotos has positioned itself as a low-cost, high-volume photo-scanning service provider, primarily serving the online “mail-away” market, and has scanned about 500 million images since 1990. As such, internet marketing, SEO and Google search results are vitally important.
And that’s where the problem is. Goldstone contends Epson is using misleading claims about the FastFoto FF-640, which is siphoning away approximately $150,000 a month from this business.
“There are 3.5 trillion photos waiting to be scanned,” says Goldstone. “I am all about competition. The problem is their scanner is not the world’s fastest scanner. The user is out $600 before they even scan one image, and it can take someone days to do what I can do in an hour.”
Goldstone’s objection isn’t to the scanner itself, just the claims of being the “world’s fastest.” What he objects to is what he claims are misleading ads, often placed right next to his own search results, proclaiming the device as the “world’s fastest.” When the scanner was announced in September, 2016, the footnote at the bottom the press release noted: “World’s fastest photo scanner is based on its class, as compared to other consumer photo scanners priced under $1,000 MSRP USD (sold into the United States and Canada as of November 2015)” (There are certainly other desktop scanners exceeding the Epson’s speed, like the Kodak Picture Saver series, but they are not readily available on Best Buy end-caps.)
The analogy is similar to the arguments made for home inkjet printers in the early 2000s. They were certainly convenient and produced reasonable results, but there was no question – at the time – a traditional silver-halide print was superior.
Goldstone has not revealed his plans for how far he will take his case against Epson. As of now, he wants to raise awareness of the issue.
“As a staunch pro-business consumer advocate, this is a teachable moment to show a small business can take on a large, multinational conglomerate,” declares Goldstone.
(Full disclosure: InfoCircle LLC, the publisher of The Dead Pixels Society, provided industry research and content to Epson, which supported the development of the Epson FF-640 scanner.)