Stay connected and up-to-date with internet discussion groups

Chris Lydle, editor

Call them what you will - internet user groups, forums, bulletin boards. It's a way in which the internet and e-mail have made it easy for affinity groups to share ideas, build friendships on line, and find answers to all kinds of questions. 

A "forum" is a bulletin board to which the subscribers can post replies and new topics. Setting one up is actually quite simple, it only takes about 5 minutes. Getting people to come to it is more challenging. 

All the messages ever sent remain in an archive, so over time a huge knowledge base evolves. Although manufacturers are often allowed to view the messages, and sometime send a message, it's mostly the input of people who are really using the equipment day-in, day-out.

Photo Marketing Association's Marketing Community is the newest of the forums. Open to all members of PMA, it's intended to share great ideas on making money. is the address. You'll need to sign up and probably remember a new password, but it's well worth the effort.

Kodak Image Center Solutions list, founded July 23, 2004, by Ben Belhorn: "I am starting a new recruitment drive for the KICS user group. If there are any KICS stores out there who are not members of the user group you can join by sending an email to Please include in the email your name, store name, location and website if any.

"We now have 74 members in the user group and feel that this is becoming a great tool for communicating our needs to Kodak." The website is

Bestphotolist Bestphotolist is designed for lab operators who use Noritsu equipment with DLS software. It's open to others, but Noritsu is the emphasis. Founded September 28, 2000, its 10,000th message was posted April 14, 2004. At that point there were 408 members. To join, click on

FujiFrontier  326 members, founded May 16, 2000. 2,033 total messages by Nov 11 2002. To join, send e-mail to

KonicaQD21, a list for Konica lab operators. 118 members, 1226 messages by March 2005. Founded November 8, 2002. To join, send e-mail to

Agfa D-Lab group. 116 members, 434 messages by April 2004. Founded December 18 2002. To join, send e-mail to

Gretag Netprinters get a lot of attention at That could be really important now that Gretag is in bankruptcy.

We missed Bob's Birthday (a posting) 

Wow - BestPhotoList had its second birthday last week. It was October 2, 2000, at about 8:00 in the morning, when the very first BPL posting (shown below) came out.

BestPhotoList has become an invaluable part of my lab owning experience. I have picked up many wonderful tips and tidbits about that wonderful wacky software known as DLS. I have also learned many things that have helped to grow my business.

BestPhotoList has created a community of like minded people. Some have become good email friends. Some have become good phone friends. BPL even created some wonderful friends who took the time and trouble to fly down and visit us here in El Paso. That's powerful! 

I might not/probably wouldn't know these people if it were not for BestPhotoList. 

BestPhotoList also caused a unique phenomenon in the industry. BPL has, by virtue of its open, uncensored, public discussions, caused Kodak to really start listening to its users. 

Many of the features in v3.0 (don't say it) came about due to comments on "the list." By the very nature of our open and public comments, Kodak has been forced to listen and react, creating a better product for the users, and a more salable product for the creators of the software. In short, BPL has made DLS better.

More than one DLS machine has been sold only because of people gathering information and making decisions based on what others have to say here. There's probably a few DLS system sales that didn't get made for the same reason. I imagine that many more sales have been made than lost because of BPL.

I would like to thank Bob for starting this list and keeping it going. My business is better for it and I am proud to be a part of this community.

Thank You Bob.


Jim Schwarzbach
Jim's Photo Lab
El Paso, Texas

From tiny acorns grow mighty Oaks - here is the post that started it all:

Hi Folks...

With this humble start I hope this will lead to something useful for all. The idea, as you have probably surmised, is to share questions and ideas. I've only invited a handful so far, but I'm sure that will change. If you know of anyone who might benefit from inclusion, please forward their e-mail and I'll get out an invitation to join us.

I'm thinking, for example, of asking Noritsu for a list of all e-mails of owners of 2711's.
Others of you might do the same for Frontiers. Does anyone think that is a good idea? 

This is an unmoderated list so any e-mail that is sent is automatically posted to the group. One can, of course, choose in their browser to reply to anyone individually at their discretion.

Thanks for joining...I hope this proves to be a useful tool for us all! 

Bob (Banasik)

Co-operative Buying Groups all have a members-only forum. The forum for the Independent Photo Imagers is phenomenal, and the people in the group appear to be technically way ahead of the average independent operation. When I wear my retailer/lab operator hat, the forum along is well worth my membership costs. Every day there are at least a half-dozen topics which are active, and most days more than 20 postings.

PRO has two forums, as does Town and Country. Some days there's a lot of activity, some days they are quiet.

To research additional topics - there are many lists for Adobe PhotoShop users, for instance - go to

If you know of other forums of interest to photo/imaging pros, please e-mail the editor.