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Battle of the Photo Cards: Moo vs. Qoop

I was going to do a detailed rundown of the Moo and Qoop photo card services that recently debuted for Flickr users, but as I started to write this up, I realized that it wasn't really necessary to compare these services feature by feature. It's much simpler to show you visually that Moo is far, far superior.

When I received my Qoop myCards order, I began to get worried when I opened the box and noticed that the top card was 'scuffed.' At first I thought that this was just a shipping issue, but then I decided to do a simple test: I placed the card facedown on paper and moved it around while applying moderate pressure:

Qoop Card Sample

Imagine giving out one of these cards to someone. Imagine all that ink rubbing off in their wallet.

I also tried this with Quiznos and Supercuts cards I had in my wallet. They looked a little more 'polished', but otherwise fine.

A couple of weeks later I received my free Moo sampler of ten MiniCards. Visually, they looked better than I hoped and the card felt great to hold: these met all expectations of a 'photo card'. Moo's printing process revealed some compression artifacts in my Flickr user icon that I need to fix and the midtone details were a touch darker than I expected -- I think they might have boosted contrast -- but they were beautiful. I was sad that I had to subject one of the ten cards to the same damaging test as the Qoop card:

Moo Card Sample

Can you tell which of the ten cards above I subjected to the test? (hint: middle left)

Moo cards are awesome; about their own downside is that they are weird. They are 'mini cards', as you can tell from the scan above, which means that their dimensions probably do not match any photo in your Flickr library. It will take some experimentation to figure out which of your photos still look good at half height and you might even have to tweak them in a photo editor to get it right. I think I understand Moo's motivation for these odd dimensions: they make the cards more distinct and they also help the layout for the back of the cards -- your Flickr user icon and contact details fill up the back nicely, without the significant whitespace of a full height card. So, this downside has an upside, but it is definitely something to consider.

I'm still bothered by Qoop's squandered potential, especially given how proactive their customer service is and how much I enjoy the online experience with their tools. They have many more layout options than Moo: you can place multiple photos on the front side of the card, you can place a photo on the back side, and you have more options for placing text. There are some things they could improve in the online experience: it irked me that once I 'finished' a card I couldn't go back and tweak it, and if you order two different customized cards you can't tell them apart in the shopping cart. But, overall, I was very happy... until I received the cards. I really wanted to give Qoop a good review this time around. I gave them lukewarm approval for their photo books (cheap price, cheap quality, great customer service), and I honestly thought that might have straightened things out by now. Now I have $15-worth of cards that I can't give out, but at least the Moo cards were free and I'll be dreaming up options for ordering more.

Comments (2)

Something sounds amiss...QOOP cards should have a UV coating to protect the print. Also, we're adding another paper weight to stiffen the cards a bit. I'll reprint your order on both stocks to test. And if you haven't tried out books in a while you wouldn't know that we have been working hard to improve the print output....Send me a note and I'll comp. a minibook set for you.

kwc:

Hi Phil,

Thanks for your quick response. I have responded to you via e-mail.

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