The Lost Flickr of Hope

I woke up this Tuesday morning to a shock.

This bar is wrong in a lot of ways. The way it stands out in all its ugliness from the rest of the Flickr visual design speaks volumes about how it was executed (thoughtlessly, in a draconian way), how little the Flickr development team have a say in how things work (I can’t imagine a product owner who would allow such visual desecration of their product without a protest) and how little Yahoo! as a company cares about its vocal community (no attempt made by Flickr staff to respond to the outpour of grief in their help forum).

The newly redesigned Flickr reminded me that I’ve been on Flickr for a very, very long time – close to 9 years. My joining of Flickr pre-dates its acquisition by Yahoo!. I have been with Flickr through the several major design changes to its layout and functionality and through the waves of people from Flickr community leaving for other competitors. More importantly, I was generally quite vocal in my defence of Flickr and the changes it brought about. The only time I previously considered looking for alternatives was when the site had not received any significant updates in ages.

Screen Shot 2013-07-04 at 15.17.15

I think I was naïve. I think the people who left earlier had better foresight.

I revoked my Pro account yesterday. Barring a few days of discontinuity between manual renewals, this is the first time in 8 years or so that I’ve dropped to a free account on Flickr.

I don’t intend to continue with any more public photo uploads to Flickr. I haven’t decided which service to use next, partly because it’s a difficult choice. Flickr is a great website. Despite years of neglect in community building, it still has strong community participation. There are other photo hosting websites, other photo sharing websites and other online communities. But there’s none that brings all these aspects together the way Flickr does.

Looks like I will have to find not one but two alternatives – a showcase and a community to replace my daily Flickr fix with.

PS: Some people recommend deleting photos from Flickr or making them private to disallow Yahoo! from making advertising money from our pictures. However, I don’t think I’m going to do that. I don’t want to break the trust of scores of third party pages that have legitimately embedded my photos instead of just flicking them without credit.

  • Kalyan

    A good place to transition would be a personal photo blog. You are always under control. Thats what I am going to do (started one here blog.fuss.in). But will keep using flickr in read-only-mode!

  • I need a service that would let me store originals (~ 5GB/year incremental). Google+ came close to being ideal, except that Google Drive capacity remains fixed over time.

    Separating the storage, sharing and community can lead to better alternatives. I’m currently thinking of Smugmug for storage and using Twitter or topical communities to share what I shoot.

    Also, Flickr is still hard to beat for family photos. I’m going to make sure all my family members have AdBlock on their browsers 😉