By 2001 Webshots became a profitable company with a combination of revenue streams that included advertising, freemium service, and merchandising. By 2004, Webshots was grossing $15M/year, had more than 200,000 paid subscribers, and was the #1 photo sharing site and top 50 media property per ComScore.n the same year, Alexa ranked Webshots the second largest English language privately held Web media property (behind weather.com). The company was sold to CNET Networks for $71 million in cash.
In a way, this is proof that Smile has already failed. When companies resort to charging people's credit cards indefinately, it is a sign the company is going down the tubes. AOL did this toward the end, and according to one New Yorker article, a significant portion of their income today comes from people who don't realize they don't need AOL to access the internet - people who still pay the monthly fee, without question.