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    • Flickr’s CEO Don MacAskill sent a candid email to Flickr users yesterday that reminded me of the email I got from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Each year I donate $50 to Wikipedia to keep the lights on there.

      Don’s letter generated a lot of press. On story is from our own @JeffersonGrahamPhoto , who covers tech for USA Today:

      Don was up all night answering questions on social media, including in a spirited Reddit thread. It’s quite an emotional thing for me, as Don is my son and I would give anything to see Flickr thrive.

    • This illustrates the dilemma that even "regular" people now have; each of us generates such a volume of digital media (often entirely without discretion or restraint) that we are forced to store it with third parties.

      And, like it or not, that means we take a risk on that third party.

      The situation is similar to that facing wine drinkers. You may think the $3 bottle is a bargain, but if we consider how much of that $3 is returned to the vineyard on each bottle after costs and taxes, do we really believe they are putting in much effort or care to bring you a great product? No, of course not. Consequently, for wine there is a point to paying a bit (just a bit, mind) more to obtain good value.

      The same seems to apply to third party data storage suppliers. You have to have the confidence in the value proposition (otherwise you are taking risks with, arguably, irreplaceable things). And these services do have significant fixed overheads.

      Odd, then, that the storage market has so many services that are largely free to use. All this does is to embed "free to use" as the norm in customer perception - this is unrealistic, in my view, and surely contributes to the issues your son is facing.

      I do hope he prevails. Getting a minimum 1% to subscribe to the PRO version should be possible, shouldn't it?

    • This reply is also directed to @Chris

      I got two copies of that letter yesterday. I thought it was well written but might not accomplish what Don wants, so I notified someone I have known for years in the hope that this person could help SmugMug to get more people to subscribe.

      But, after reading what the two of you have posted, I'm wondering if people reacted negatively to Don's letter.

      When Google decides to shut something down, they don't even give the public a chance to intervene. SmugMug is not saying that they are definitely shutting Flickr down. They are still trying to save Flickr. If SmugMug had not purchased Flickr, a lot of people would have lost access to their stored photos two years ago.

      Sometimes people remind me of the child who after eating his favorite desert starts crying because there is none left. There are plenty of places on the internet to store one's photos if one is willing to pay. But people think that they are ENTITLED to anything that they get used to having access to without paying. But TANSTAAFL — somebody, somewhere has to foot the bill.

      If SmugMug is losing money to provide the Flickr service, they have the right to cut their losses. They are giving their users a chance, which is a whole more than some companies do after they purchase a failing company.

    • Some people I know have been asking if there's an option to pay for X years in advance? (where X can be anything up to 5 or even 10)

      Do you know if this have been considered and/or is possible? On the surface, sounds as a good way to get some cash up front from people who genuinely want to support the service.

    • I'm already a Pro member, and am invested, I've been using Flickr as my archive for over 10 years.

      Here's my 2c.

      You should make some 'support Flickr' banners for supporters to share on their web sites, facebook pages and other social media.

      Standard web sizes.

      Run a competition on Flickr to donate your image to be used for the banners.

      EG below:
      300x250 banner. Not exactly where I'd go - but it would be in the general direction - using corporate fonts and correct branding.

      Make those guidelines available there's plenty of us on here with the smarts to donate some sample files.

      To wit - on my site:

    • I attended the SmugMug + Flickr Christmas party and got to spend time with Flickr’s head of customer support. Nice guy. He described how they hired a large team of support heroes and I thought, how bold. Have you ever tried to get support for Google photos? When I asked about it, they simply said it was the right thing to do.

      They also hired a substantial trust & safety team.

    • I suppose I find it fascinating that less than 1% of the subscriber base has paid for the Flickr service. Was it simply because of the benevolence of Yahoo (before the Verizon ownership...) that kept the servers - and the people - warm and running?

      I've thought really hard about pulling the trigger...yet I truly have nothing posted in my freebie Flickr account that I don't have saved elsewhere.

      What would honestly keep people from having multiple Flickr accounts (as they may have done during the ownership periods mentioned above...) and simply multiply their free storage options in this way?

      My struggle comes from Google (...or Apple), as @Chris had alluded to in another Cake article from just short time ago.

      @Shewmaker point above is valid. Was this the first of a few, final opportunities to save Flickr and the billions of images that have been stored there?

    • Those who seek to starve the goose that lays the golden egg are just as foolish as the one who cuts her open.

      SmugMug is not like Flickr's previous two owners. Flickr's founders were starting a business from scratch, it was in their best interest to get a large user base and this is probably why the company was attractive to Yahoo!

      Yahoo! was seeking to mine Flickr for cash, especially in later years. They reduced Flickr's benefits and turned off some of the automatic server functions such as hourly updates of the 100 most recent pix in the CC categories.

      SmugMug purchased Flickr in order to preserve it from failing. They have devoted efforts to improving the condition it was in at the time they bought it. SmugMug purchased it also because they thought that it would complement their main service. I don't think that SmugMug is trying to turn Flickr into a high yield cash cow, but if the expenses of operating it exceed the amount of revenue which comes from it, there is no incentive for them to continue maintaining it.

      I should mention that because I have quit using my cameras, I have not added any photos to Flickr in a very long time. For thiis reason, if they closed it down, it would not inconvenience me. My motiivation for writing about this is more out of sentimental feelings for the time when I used to use Flickr and not out of a personal need for its continued existence.

      The one thing that Flickr lacks which might cause me to "awaken" my dormant relationship with Flickr is if they made a IPTC compatible metadata XML editor available and preserved the edited metadata when the photograph was downloaded. This was a feature of the Creative Suite versions of Photoshop back in the days when I used to BUY Photoshop upgrades.

    • Reddit had a fascinating thread about it, and I read every comment:

      The thing I took away is the people who love Flickr love it for the community.

      I thought they made a compelling case that the strength of Flickr is the community, not photo storage. Photo storage people tend to dump in lots of images, costing Flickr a ton of money and boring the community with substandard and repetitive images.

      They say if you stack Flickr against the photo storage companies, you have a plethora: Google, Amazon, Apple, Carbonite... They can offer free unlimited storage of RAW, facial recognition, and sync software Flickr doesn't offer.

      But Flickr is the world's largest community of photographers. Apple, Amazon, Google, and Carbonite can make no claim to that. Their position is unrivaled in community. And for companies who want to get in front of 100 million photographers, that's worth a lot in sponsorships as we know from Adventure Rider.

      Look at what they can publish! Stunning.

      Photographers are claiming millions of views of their images, by people they care about. Real views, not fake. They love it.

      And that's what I love Flickr for. I use Amazon, SmugMug and Google photos for my storage.

      Make sense?

    • Fair enough, but I suppose that for a membership of >100M photographers, to have some number less than that participate in that community - I don't know; good thing, or bad thing?

      Sure, >100M photographers have shared billions of images on that single platform, yet just how many of those images are the less-than-optimum pictures that many of us put out there as our best work?

      As far as a community...I've been on Flickr since '04, and I think I've only had one or two of my 600-odd images 'liked' by others on the platform. Why? Don't know it matters.

      I suspect there's many, many more that are shooting with 'point-and-pray' cameras, and are using the service to hotlink images to forums (like and others...), or to have yet another place to easily share - whatever.

      The June 2017 Photobucket change was a step, wasn't it?

      So is this article about that...and how that service is still trying to recover from that error in judgement:

      I think most people today get it - it costs money to do this.

      I hope it works out for the team.

    • > @vegasphotog , how do you use Flickr?

      I am a noob to Flikr (lol, typo for Chris's humor). I have been a previous paid Smugmug user when it was just easier to post on ADV with SM embeds. I actually used some custom CSS that was made available and was pretty stoked with my custom smugmug look for my website.

      As FB came along and I swore that uploading photos to FB was an insult to my images, my intelligence and YOUR intelligence it just ended up being easier. This was back before FB was 100% evil. I am sure the evil groundwork was being laid, but, it was still innocent. But, as FB ramped up (along with IG which I am not a user of), forums lost much of their attraction and traction which also most required some sort of image hosting platform to share images.

      Once I got hip to how evil "tagging" and checking in with photos is, I went ahead and purged probably 4000+ posts and deleted 1000's of photos. This took me many months. Also, part of the personal privacy issue I unfriended and blocked over 1000 people and now as Facebook tries to con me to become friends with your friends with your friends with your friends I BLOCK all those requests as well. This probably consumes a total of 60 minutes per week. I must be vigilant.

      Ok, to @Chris 's question - I went to Flickr mostly to find EXIF data of legit photographers about their cameras and mostly lens used for any particular shot.

      In my 3+ months of pro membership I have noticed a few things to be expected with a community this large:

      1) I developed an almost hatred for people posting Artificial Life compositions. Not sure why it bothers me so much but it really does.

      2) As with anywhere, the rampant PORN (not artistic nudes) is also more prevalent than I would have guessed.

      3) The same desk jockeys that derived their own self worth by trying to making something viral and basically create these fake awards are obnoxious. I have now learned how to spend another 60 minutes a week BLOCK those profiles.

      In regards to @kwthom comment or my interpretation....I manage quite a few FB business pages for clients and I try to convey to them that 50% of my time (that they pay me for) is liking other pages and comments as that business. Same with Flickr....I am not on a mission to really get more followers, but, as I find images that I like and make a comment and then follow that particular person, there is usually a reciprocol effect.

      In short form though, I would say I am using Flickr to see other camera EXIF data and also discover locations based on the image taken if the photographer makes the effort to add that location to the image posted.

      But, just for the helluva it, today I was trying out my new Sony FE 24-105 needed to shoot NYE fireworks on the strip. This is my first year shooting FF so I needed different optics.

      We got some snow a few days ago so here ya go.... :)

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to outline all this. Fascinating, especially to someone like me whose family owns it.

      Don said that only something like 0.5% of customers pay for Flickr, which has me very stressed because imagine the costs of all that storage. They don’t downsample and compress like Instagram.

    • Don said that only something like 0.5% of customers pay for Flickr

      Holy crap....what a bunch of cheap bastards. SERIOUSLY. I feel his pain now. OMG. Then, I would impose a $5 min after 6 months that gets someone 1000 images. If someone can't do that, f 'em. And, maybe that would wittle away the porn and artificial life posters.

    • @Shewmaker nailed it:

      SmugMug purchased Flickr in order to preserve it from failing. They have devoted efforts to improving the condition it was in at the time they bought it. SmugMug purchased it also because they thought that it would complement their main service. I don't think that SmugMug is trying to turn Flickr into a high yield cash cow, but if the expenses of operating it exceed the amount of revenue which comes from it, there is no incentive for them to continue maintaining it.

      There's a cost-benefit analysis that's being made I'm sure as I write this about this very acquisition. The holiday-period offer is ending soon (if it hasn't already). How similar (or different ) is Flickr from SmugMug? From the comments made, it's not only photo storage (and viewing...) but also the social aspects that apparently don't exist to that level with SmugMug.

      What @vegasphotog proposes could well be the penultimate decision for Flickr's leadership.

      Taking a few minutes and reading thru some of the more vocal uers (free & pro) on Flickr itself is enlightening. Many others sharing some of their concerns about the situation there.

    • That's interesting. I always assumed it meant even more ultimate than ultimate and my wife, who is very literate and aces the New York Times crosswords regularly, thought the same.

      But at least as of 2010, the editor of Merriam Webster was sticking to his next to last definition:

      I wonder if it will go the way of sick (that is one sick motorcycle!) or pimp (Pimp my Ride)?

    • You mean like "to infinity and beyond"? How can something be more ultimate than ultimate? or more infinite than infinity? or more unique than unique?

      As Spock would say "Illogical."