This last week, I’ve been following the ongoing launch of Zooomr, an up-and-coming photosharing website. The whole web application is programmed by just one man, Kristopher Tate, backed up by photographer Thomas Hawk. Kristopher is just 19 at the time of writing, and despite criticisms of “copying Flickr”, he has made a huge achievement with Zooomr so far.

The latest version of Zooomr, known as “Mark III”, is a complete redesign of the whole system, from the ground up. Unfortunately, being such a major upgrade, it necessitated taking the whole site offline in order to perform the upgrade. This included migrating all of the content to a new server, as well as populating servers across the world to make the system faster for users outside the USA.

Kris Tate launching Zooomr Mark III

If I remember correctly, Zooomr (Mark II) went offline over a week ago, and Kristopher hasn’t had much sleep since. He and Thomas have spent much of their time on live streaming cameras via ustream.tv, explaining the different obstacles that they have come across during the upgrade. Their transparency in communication has been commendable, and despite the site being down for so long, ‘old’ users and would-be users alike have been informed of everything along the way.

I have been visiting zooomr.com several times daily, and following the streaming video to catch up with the latest gossip about the upgrade. It’s been like a very geeky soap opera that is very addictive. My friend James at work has also been following events at Zooomr. We’ve unashamedly swapped gossip like a couple of old ladies at a bus stop! It’s been fun to watch so far…

I’ve watched the criticisms, the support, the pizza being sent in by Flickr, not to mention the problems that hounded them the first time they tried to launch it back at the beginning of April.

Considering all of the problems that Kris Tate has had to surmount this past week, I really do wish him well with Zooomr. If Mark III delivers the promised functionality, it will be a tremendous achievement for him, and great fun for us too.

So good luck with Zooomr, Kris, and after Mark III is up and running – please take a few days off!