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.

Flickr in Trouble?

FlickrCameraI was browsing through the blogs I follow and saw a post about trouble in Flickr land.  So I hopped on over to Flickr to find out what’s going on.

I have a love/hate relationship with Flickr.  I’ve always hated Yahoo, and when they owned Flickr, I was very hesitant to sign up, especially since they required a phone number.  I finally bit the bullet and signed up.

Then a year or so ago, SmugMug bought Flickr.  Yay! Because then I wouldn’t have to deal with Yahoo.  Or so I thought.  I missed the window to migrate off of my Yahoo account and I still haven’t gotten around to changing it.

Now, it appears that the old saying is true – There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

I wish my kids understood this.  They are GenZ’ers – or the iGen as they are sometimes called.  They think there’s an app for everything – a FREE app.  And if there isn’t, there should be.  I’ve explained about the costs of running a business and the perils of handing over your personal data just to get a free app, but most of the time it falls on deaf ears.

Anyway, it appears SmugMug has discovered that, while people love Flickr, lots of people don’t want to pay for it.  Which, understandably, makes it difficult to keep Flickr afloat.  When SmugMug initially bought Flickr, they made some changes, which included that free account holders would be limited in the number of photos they could upload.

Fine with me – I just deleted a bunch of old photos to put myself under the limit.  I keep all my photos saved on my own external hard drive anyway, so it wasn’t like I was losing anything.  Since I’ve not been in-world as much, I haven’t had as many photos to upload anyway.

I do understand SmugMug’s dilemma.  They want to keep Flickr going, but it takes time and effort and money to do that.  I’m just not sure I use Flickr enough to justify paying for the service.  I am naturally resistant to subscription services – I don’t use Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Adobe CC, or anything like that.  If I want something, I want to purchase it, own it, hold it in my hot little hands.  Which is why I’m still using my Photoshop CS6 – the last version you could purchase.

It remains to be seen whether Flickr manages to convince enough people to purchase Pro subscriptions to keep it afloat.