CS and the City Sean Lynch

Saying so long to Flickr

My annual Flickr pro account renewal came up last month.  Looking at my renewal history, I can see that every time I’ve renewed it, I’ve never done it proactively.  I’ve always a month or so after my previous year’s subscription had expired.  This year was no different.  I let it expire, only to have to renew it again to unlock some of my older photos that I didn’t have a backup of (silly).  This time around, I seriously considered leaving it unrenewed.  I just don’t use it anymore.

I’m what I would call a long-term Flickr user.  I’m relatively sure I had my Flickr account before GMail.  I payed for the pro upgrade before I ever paid for generic web hosting. Flickr was great and I evangelized it to all my friends, as is evident in all the abandoned accounts on my Flickr friends list.

I was attracted to Flickr for three reasons:

  • The ability to publish my photos for my friends
  • Hosting photos for my blog
  • Getting feedback from the community on the photos I took

But four years later, the world has changed.  Now all my friends use Facebook, because they don’t have to pay for it, because Facebook actually innovated on photo sharing by indexing by the people in the photo, and because it integrates into a tool my friends already use.  For hosting photos, I can use the same web-storage I’m paying for already. Though the reality is that I simply don’t blog or photograph as much, and so neither of those are that important to me anymore.

The more revealing part is that, in those four years, Flickr hasn’t changed at all.  The only event that brought me back to Flickr was the account merger with Yahoo.  The only news I heard was the half-assed support for video and the addition of the Yahoo logo.  Beyond that, it’s stagnated. Where is the Twitter short-links?  Where’s the first party Facebook app?  (Edit: found both after digging through the profile settings, foot appropriately in mouth). I’m asking partially because I’m a geek and I love playing with new features, but also because this complete lack on investment on Yahoo’s part has made it so worthless that almost all of the people who used to engage in the photos have now gone else.  My pro membership doesn’t buy me anything.

Unless something major changes, this will be the last $24.99 (a number that, despite Moore’s law, has stayed constant this entire time) I give to Yahoo. I’m not rushing to Picasa Web either.  They’re just as guilty of price stagnation as Flickr (though Face recognition is very cool).  For now, I’ll stick with iPhoto and Facebook (which maintains their own iPhoto plug-in I might add). There’s plenty to do in this area, so I’ll be waiting for someone to come along and impress me.


For anyone trying to get their photos off of Flickr, take a look at PhotoGrabbr, a tool for downloading entire Flickr albums for the Mac. I definitely won’t be dealing with photo lock next year.