Flickr Furor

FlickrCameraIt seems that Flickr is once again embroiled in a kerfuffle with SL users.

Many SL bloggers and stores use Flickr to post their photos and promote photos.  The TOS of Flickr states (and has for a while) that only Pro users (paid users) are allowed to promote ‘commercial activity.’  (See here for Flickr’s policy.)

The kerfuffle seems to have occurred because Flickr has started to enforce its policy.  Flickr has been suspending the accounts of SL’ers who have posted Marketplace and store links.  There has been some confusion about what is allowed and what isn’t, and, of course, as with any change, people are frustrated and upset.  There’s a good post over at New World Notes about the issue.

Flickr has been struggling to attract more Pro users and many see this as a way to force people to go Pro.  This issue doesn’t really affect me, so I am perhaps less invested in it.

I think Flickr is a terrific platform and I use it almost daily.  However, when they announced last year that free accounts would now be limited in the amount of photos they could post, I had to decide whether I wanted to go Pro or remove many of my photos so I was under the required limit.

I decided to remain with a free account and I deleted a bunch of photos from Flickr.  I keep my own copies of every photo I post, so I didn’t lose anything by deleting them from Flickr.  I doubt that is true for everyone.

For the last year or so, I generally only blog about destinations, not products, so the restriction on links doesn’t apply to my photos.  (Linking SLURL’s, as long as they are not links to a store, are fine.)  And while the 1000 photo limit on a free account sounded like a huge cut when it was previously unlimited, I have plenty of slots left until I reach that limit.

For people who are creators and bloggers, that 1000 limit may be way too small.  I don’t post every day on Flickr, so it doesn’t bother me.  However, I also understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Flickr could have chosen to do away completely with their free account option.  It seems like most things these days are based on the subscription model anyway.

If they want to limit the free account, whether that limit is amount of photos, or limitations on commercial activity, it’s their prerogative.  The free accounts still incur a cost for Flickr – hosting the photos, maintaining the site, making improvements, etc.  None of the people who work for Flickr are doing it for free, and they shouldn’t be expected to.

So for me, I will continue on with my free account, and respect the Flickr TOS.  If at some point, how I use the service changes, I will have to decide whether I want to pay to go Pro or find another free service.  And really, for what you get, $5 a month for a Pro account doesn’t seem that onerous.