BLIPFOTO, the Scottish photo-sharing firm, has been placed into liquidation, with all 11 staff members laid off.
The firm, founded in Edinburgh in 2004, has suffered ‘funding issues’ in recent months, with Tom MacLennan of liquidators FRP Advisory adding: “The funds available were not adequate to wind [Blipfoto] down without insolvency protection.”
But founder Joe Tree issued a statement on Tuesday, allaying fears of Blipfoto’s demise.
He said: “There is a preferred bidder and final discussions are taking place as I write.
“I apologise that our silence has been difficult and unsettling, but it has been entirely necessary and proper.
“Two weeks ago, following events outside its control, the Blipfoto Board of Directors took the incredibly difficult decision to put the company into liquidation.
“Following that decision, I and everyone else at Blipcentral have had to take a step back and let the experts we appointed take full control of the company.”
Some users had expressed fears that they would lose the photos they had uploaded to the site, with a handful having posted more than 1000 images on Blipfoto.
Others were rushing to back up their pictures on Tuesday as a result of the liquidation.
But Tree added: “The liquidator is confident a viable, long-term future for the Blipfoto platform, community and content will be secured in the coming days under new ownership.
“As so many of you have said over the last 48 hours, this is a unique place underpinned by one of the most vibrant and supportive communities on the Internet - there’s really nothing quite like it.
“Our pictures and words have come to mean so much to us individually, but the way our collective story touches a much wider audience is truly remarkable, and something I’ll always be immensely proud of.
“I can’t say any more at this stage, but I am optimistic the lights aren’t about to go out and know many people are working hard behind the scenes to make sure they shine even more brightly in the future.”
A number of users posted messages of support on the firm’s website, with colinbarber013 saying: “Thanks for the update and I hope the deal with the preferred bidder comes off.”
Stine Wiemann added: “Thank you so much for the update! Our thoughts and best wishes are with you and everyone at blipcentral.
“We hope your future as a company is as bright as the past has been. This is indeed a unique place and I am very proud to be a founding member.
“Thank you for your hard work and sleepless nights.”
The platform, which is popular with Scots politicians including former Education Secretary Mike Russell, Fair Work, Skills and Training Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and West of Scotland MSP Stewart Maxwell; Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and a host of amateur photographers - dubbed ‘Blippers’ - has close to 3.5 million photos shared on the site, and registers around 18 million page views and reaching half a million people each month.
Blipfoto was set up by Joe Tree in October 2004, initially as a website allowing him to publish one photo a day on the internet along with some accompanying text.
With contributors in more than 170 countries around the globe, Blipfoto won a BAFTA Scotland award in November 2009 for best website, becoming a full-time venture in December the following year.
It premiered a film, titled life.turns at the Edinburgh Art Festival in 2010.
In 2011 it was voted best Scottish website by The List magazine and has collaborated with the likes of the Scottish Government and the National Theatre of Scotland.
It entered into partnership with Polaroid in January 2015, rebranding and relaunching as Polaroid Blipfoto.
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