Flickr update

The photo sharing site and service that I use, flickr has made a major update to its service and site.

I’ve been using flickr since 2004 and I’ve stuck with it even after Yahoo bought it and let it dwindle. Certainly the amount of time I’ve spent with the old user interface makes it difficult to look at any change with an open mind so I’ll reserve ultimate judgement for a while. But, Yahoo is attempting to bring itself and it’s popular properties back from the dead and this flickr update is part of that process (as is the buying of blogging platform tumblr.

My quick take: Too much information, too tightly packed. Here’s what my home screen looks like now: Richard-.

I hope over time they fold in some customization tools that make it possible to display a bit less information on one’s landing page. We’ll see.

Flickr is back

Flickr Is Back, Letting Us Go Home Again

Mat Honan has written a brilliant piece on how flickr has come back from the dead, thanks in part to the attention of new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

Yahoo has a new CEO. The competition stumbled. And largely thanks to a new app, Flickr is back; reborn, yanked up from the sea by its collar at the last possible moment. And in December, following its app roll-out, traffic went up instead of down for the first time in years. While it is too soon to say that Flickr is going to be bigger than Facebook or Instagram, there’s a lot going on that indicates it’s primed for a return.

Facebook is a continuing nightmare of privacy disasters. It’s the bathroom door that resists all efforts at locking, swinging open again and again while you’re trying to poop.

Mat, you had me at that last paragraph in my quote.

As a long time flickr user this piece is music to my ears. But, I’ve already seen it in the new iOS app as well as improvements in the web interface. Almost all images at this site, both mine and everyone else’s are hosted at flickr and embedded here. Tough to do that with any other site. I’ve been doing it with flickr since 2004.

How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet

How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet

This is quite a good article on both the history of flickr and how Yahoo has killed it over time. Worth reading for flickr users but also for anyone interesting in the history of these types of sites on the web.

Had they not sold flickr to Yahoo it would be interesting to know what Stewart Butterfield and Catarina Fake would have done with flickr over the years since.

[via Michaela Hackner]

Flickr showing signs of life, maybe

Your photos and data on Flickr

flickr is a popular online photo sharing community which millions of people the world over use. I’ve been using flickr to host images I embed in this site as well as as a community to meet and connect with other photographers since 2004. Flickr was one of the first large-scale social media networking sites to appear on the internet and last through its initial growth period.

Yahoo bought flickr from its founders a number of years ago and since then the core group of developers, administrators, and moderators has scattered to the wind. No doubt it was tough to take over from such a creative and smart group of founders and at that point many thought flickr would lose its way. In a sense, they were right, flickr has lost its way and Yahoo to this day has no sense of the worth of this large community.

Anyone can make a free account on flickr with caps on uploads, storage, and other features and for $24.95 a year you can upgrade to a “Pro” account which gives you unlimited uploads and storage and many other nice features. It’s quite a good deal if you post a lot of images online and/or want to meet up with other photographers and share notes and images.

Because flickr is a community with groups and discussions and such, there are community guidelines on online decorum and civility and the entire “flickrverse” is moderated. After Yahoo bought flickr and the core group of moderators scattered and flickr’s user base exploded as Yahoo images was folded in, Yahoo didn’t do much to fortify flickr’s policies or moderation.

One of the things that has happened over the years is that people who violate the community guidelines in various ways (copyright infringement, online bullying, for example) have had their accounts suspended. The situation for flickr is, if an account is suspended or, if a Pro user doesn’t renew his or her Pro subscription, what do they do with all of the images and the account information? How long do they need to archive this stuff before they can toss it. Couple this situation with a lack of core administration and moderation and you have a recipe for a problem.

Flickr was suspending users who had been members as long as me with thousands of images posted, captioned, tagged, and with huge threads of comments on each. Some of these users might have deserved suspension but some didn’t but there was no recourse and it was difficult to argue your case. Very quickly, all of your hard work was gone. Serious photographers have their work backed up on their computers but all the social stuff: the captions, the tags, and the comments from fans are all gone, never to be resurrected.

I don’t know how many people had this happen but enough had it happen by mistake that Yahoo/fickr finally got a clue and has now changed their policy on account deletion, giving users a 90 day window to work things out.

This is what can happen when you have a large community and the administration changes rapidly and the new administration doesn’t get what made the community grow and thrive in the first place. All Yahoo wanted was the numbers, they didn’t understand what made the numbers. I hope this announcement is the beginning of them getting it. I’m not holding my breath.

What happens after Yahoo acquires you

What happens after Yahoo acquires you

But in 2008, co-founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield both left the company. In 2009, many engineers from the service were laid off or left on their own.

Meanwhile, Facebook kept taking a growing share of photo traffic. Yahoo’s top executives barely mentioned Flickr publicly (and few of them actually have a public Flickr account). Decision-making at Flickr slowed because of bureaucracy.

Fascinating article and comment thread. I highly recommend reading it, whether or not you’re involved with flickr.

I can think of at least twenty of my contacts on flickr who are high end photographers who have left flickr for Facebook. I wouldn’t go that way if I left flickr but the fact that they did is meaningful.

At Flickr, Fending off Rumors and Facebook

At Flickr, Fending Off Rumors and Facebook

Although Flickr is well known and still widely used, its traffic is shrinking. Unique visitors to Flickr in the United States fell 16 percent, to 21.3 million, in December compared with a year earlier, according to comScore. Meanwhile, for that same time frame, use of Facebook’s photo features grew 92 percent, to 123.9 million users.

I can only speak for myself: flickr is a well designed, easy to use system and the reason my use has dropped off has nothing to do with Facebook or any other photo sharing site (I don’t use Facebook), it’s because I haven’t been taking as many pictures lately and I burnt out on heavy use of flickr.

I think that’s true for many. Yes, many people use Facebook but they’re not choosing Facebook because it’s a superior photo sharing site, they’re using it because they already chose it for social networking.

Flickr’s tools are easy to use, stable, and have been for years. Facebook is a mess by comparison. However, since Yahoo acquired flickr development has slowed and this says worlds about how Yahoo has never recognized the value of flickr. They’d better wake up.

Flickr loses its chief architect

Flickr Co-Founder Butterfield and Chief Architect Henderson Working on Stealth Start-Up

When Yahoo bought flickr it made many of us long time flickr folk cringe thinking that Yahoo would mess up this excellent property. When flickr’s founders Stewart Butterfield and Catarina Fake left many of us got nervous but flickr remained strong and continued to grow. However, the loss of Cal Henderson coupled with the fact that Yahoo continues to struggle to survive seems to be painting a picture of flickr floundering

Independent of these people leaving flickr, about a year ago it seemed to have peaked socially: the early members were burning out and new members were joining at a fast enough rate that there didn’t seem to be a core of long term users to hold things together. This isn’t true of all groups on flickr, many are run by serious folks who do a great job moderating and keeping energy high and civil at the same time, but it does seem to be true of many.

I can say that I’ve been slowly burning out on the social piece of it for the past year and now spend very little time with it. I still host my images there but the thrill of lots of new people seeing and commenting on my work has worn off. It was bound to happen and when you couple that with the news that Yahoo is floundering and flickr founders are leaving it seems that flickr may have peaked for more people than just me.