Flickr Increases Upload Bandwidth for Photos

Flickr Increases Upload BandwidthFlickr Increases Upload Bandwidth Hosted on Zooomr

[I am the Chief Evangelist and CEO of Zooomr]

Yesterday Flickr announced that they were increasing the monthly bandwidth allotments for their users from 20 to 100MB for free accounts and from 2GB to to unlimited uploading bandwidth for Pro accounts.

The increase on their free accounts matched to the t the monthly upload bandwidth increase that we announced for Zooomr back in November.

At Zooomr we like seeing this. Competition almost always benefits the consumer and it is nice to see flickr kind of try to step up to the plate to match our level of service for accounts at Zooomr, here less than two months later.

Still, and I’m obviously biased here, Flickr’s announced increase in bandwidth is largely hollow and here is why.

1. It does not make much difference whether you get 20MB or 100MB of monthly bandwidth on a free account if you are going to be limited to 200 photos. At Flickr, your free account can only show 200 photos at a time. It doesn’t do you any good to upload more photos if you in the end can’t share them. They may as well have made free accounts 10GB because the limit to enjoying a free account is not bandwidth restriction but rather photo restriction. Flickr could always lift their 200 photo limit and allow unlimited photos for free accounts like Zooomr does and then the 100MB might mean something.

2. An “unlimited” upload bandwidth for Pro accounts doesn’t do you much good if you limit your Pro users to 10MB per photo. 10MB per photo requires that virtually every digital SLR shooting at high resolution must have their photos degraded and downsized in order to be hosted on Flickr. Hardly ideal for an online archive or backup. When you cap the photo size of each photo it makes it much harder for you to consume all that generous “unlimited” bandwidth that is being offered. Flickr of course could increase their photo size to 50MB which would accommodate virtually every consumer level DSLR on the market today.

It is nice to see Flickr match our recent upload limits for free accounts. It’s good to know that they are paying attention. But they still need to make some changes if they hope to really match Zooomr’s offer to photographers. It sells well as marketing spin but lacks meaningful impact for Flickr users.

We would of course also invite Flickr to match our free pro account for bloggers offer as well, but that too is something that I doubt you’ll see

Don’t get me wrong by the way. I love Flickr, I use it every day. And we are actually flattered that they notice what we are doing over here at Zooomr.

Competition is a great thing for consumers. The best photographs in the world have yet to be taken.

Be Sociable, Share!
Loading Facebook Comments ...

24 Comments

  1. Uncle Su says:

    I would use zooomr for its rich features. But as you’ve already heard, the speed and simplicity is just not there. The sluggish-ness can really be seen in the flash pictures. Any plans to improve this?

    One thing I can say about zooomr’s interface, its somewhat “cluttered” and confusing at times. I like Flickr’s all-white backdrop for the photos…

  2. Sam says:

    I think the small features of Zooomr are what make it worth using. I like the AJAX-rich interface for changing titles, descriptions and selecting “faves”. To me, that’s where AJAX (and Zooomr) shines, but many times photos on Zooomr just aren’t available. It hasn’t caused me to stop using it, but it’s definitely something I notice.

    I tried flickr, but as Thomas pointed out, the free account is so limited that’s it’s essentially worthless.

  3. Greg Furry says:

    Thomas,

    Just curious how large are your photos uncompressed? I know a Jpeg from a 5D shouldn’t be more than 10MB. Since Flickr doesn’t support RAW I don’t see the problem.

  4. Ajay says:

    Have no complaints with Zooomr yet. Like the interface, though I do feel weird while signing in with MyOpenID.

    I just wanted to know if we have the option of subfolders (subalbums) in Zooomr. That would really great addition and one more plus mark over Flickr.

  5. I like Zooomr better as a blogger because they’ll give me the HTML embedding code directly on the site, so I can input that into my blog posts directly. It’s so annoying that Flickr makes me publish my posts directly from their site if I want to get the html code. Half the time, I can’t even get the photo to post right on my blog and the other half the time I have to go back and edit it so that it looks good.

  6. Thomas Hawk says:

    Hey Greg, if you shoot a shot with a 5D in RAW and then post process in Photoshop, many of the finished .jpg files are over 10MB.

    I just processed a bunch from yesterday.

    Flickr should increase their file size to accomodate these larger files. At Zooomr we give users up to 50MB per file which accommodates virtually all digital SLRs.

  7. carpeicthus says:

    Thomas,

    How are you not committing the sin you pointed out in the “Google Copies Yahoo” post to several orders of magnitude?

  8. Kurt Collins says:

    Competition is good for the soul. 🙂

    After taking a good look at Zooomr yesterday, I marginally agree with some of the criticism expressed in earlier comments. However, the speed issue can be resolved by a few more servers and I don’t really see the “clutter” in the interface. For something as feature-rich as Zooomr is, I would have expected a lot more clutter.

    Good work you guys (that goes out to Kris especially).

  9. Carl says:

    Most people are shooting with 6-10 megapixel cameras where JPEG files are rarely if ever over 10 MB.

    I think “virtually every digital SLR” is a bit overstated. The 10 MB limit might be a problem in a year, but at this point it’s really only an issue for people with very high-end cameras.

  10. Thomas Hawk says:

    Karl, for people who shoot in RAW and process in JPG it’s definitely a problem. If it was such a minority of people affected why would Flickr bother to increase their limits to unlimited for Pro and keep it in place.

    What purpose does it serve to keep a 10MB limit in place?

    It prevents people from using high quality full res processed JPGs on Zooomr.

  11. Ajay says:

    Thomas, I tried using the Proitizer to get the Pro account. However, am running into problems as it says that it can’t find a valid Zooomr photo on the post.

    The post is at http://ajaydsouza.com/archives/2006/12/13/this-is-me/

    Any ideas?

  12. Carl says:

    Thomas,

    As a test, I took a folder of 34 JPEG files shot with an 8 megapixel Canon Rebel XT and converted them to max quality JPEG using Photoshop Elements 5.0. The largest file was 6,062 MB, which isn’t even close to 10 MB. The Rebel XT is Flickr’s most used camera.

    I use Flickr, but I’m no fanboy. I agree that no file limit is better than a 10 MB limit, and I agree that it’s an advantage Zooomr has over Flickr.

    I don’t agree that the 10 MB file size is a problem for most people. I understand that it’s a problem for people shooting an almost 13 megapixel Canon 5D, but that’s not most people.

  13. Baron says:

    I recently joined Zooomr and tried the 4GB Pro account for bloggers. I have to say, I was rather dissapointed, and ended up joining Flickr and paying for their service. What was the biggest difference? Not the file size to upload, but rather, the file size to download. At least on flickr (on pro accounts) you can allow others to download the original full-res picture you uploaded. I have not seen a way to do this on Zooomr. Not only that, but when I had questions or couldn’t figure things out, on Flickr there seemed to be ample amounts of help, but zooomr was really void.

  14. Thomas Hawk says:

    Hi Carl, try shooting in RAW and post processing in photoshop, saving as JPG.

    Baron, you can download the original size by clicking on the magnifying glass above the photo and then right click and save as any photo. This works the same as flickr.

  15. Baron says:

    Ahh thanks – I was unable to download the full size because I uploaded my other photos before my pro zooomr account was activated. New photos uploaded allow me to download the original size. That’s unfortunate that you have to re-upload photos after you get the pro account to have them stored in full resolution.

  16. Thomas,
    In line with most of the comments above, I think that while the 10MB per file limit isn’t really much of an issue right now, though I anticipate it might be so in the future. In fact I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum and would be a fan of an option to have Zooomr chunk my original picture and only provide square through large versions of my photos. Though I love using Zooomr to share I’m also the kind of person who would like to know when someone wants the full sized version of one of my photos. Resizing locally before sending to Zooomr right now is a bit of a chore.
    At the risk of contributing to a flickr vs zooomr aspect of these threads, I’ve been using zooomr as my primary photo repository for sharing photos since receiving my for-bloggers pro account and have come across a few places where I’ve found zooomr a bit lacking. Mainly small things, but we all know the small things can add up. That said, my biggest quesiton with regard to Zooomr right now is how do I send in suggestions for improvements/feature requests or notify you of problems? I guess that I could send Zmail to Kristopher or you. But how does your casual photo-sharing user know to do that? Where are the “Contact us” or “Send suggestions/Comments” or “Report a problem” links?
    Leaving the biggest for last: I think the biggest problem I have with Zooomr right now is one of community. How do I get my photos noticed by others? In Flickr I can join groups and submit my photos to like-minded individuals. If there is similar functionality in Zooomr I’ve yet to find it. The groups in Flickr foster a sense of community which I find lacking here.

    -Angel Marquez

  17. nathanus says:

    Despite what others may think, I have always hated Flickr. It never made sense to me. I hate that it has to be linked and run by yahoo. I gave up on yahoo along time ago and the last thing I want to do is sign up for them just to use a photo sharing service when Zooomr is much better.

    I have had nothing but excellent service with Zooomr. Again, the only thing that could be improved is the speed, but besides that it makes much more sense to me then Flickr. I feel Flickr is much more cluttered than the way Zooomr is designed.

  18. Dead horse to flog here… I really dislike OpenID. I choose Flickr over my (free pro) Zooomr account every single time because…well…I don’t have to log in to Flickr every time I close my browser and then come back to the site. It’s irritating as all get-out. Why can’t Zooomr use some other, less intrusive authentication system?

  19. Greg Furry says:

    Thomas,

    I did a little experiment. In photoshop I opened RAW file shot with a Nikon D80. Not quite as large as the 5D but all I have. I brought it in via Apple’s Aperture and the original file was 10.2MB.

    I then opened it in photoshop and saved it as a PSD file. The PSD is 57.9MB. I saved it out as a jpeg. All settings as high as they go. The jpeg out of Photoshop is 9.6MB. Not a great savings over the RAW file size. (and an answer to the why 10 MBs is and issue for you on Flickr)

    I then went back to Aperture and saved out as a JPEG. The file was only 5.5MB. I opened them both up in photoshop and they appear to be the exact same pixel dimensions and resolution. I guess this is a side question. Why all the overhead in the Photoshop JPEG? Is there a way to save out of photoshop as a jpeg and get a smaller file without losing quality? Maybe this is a question you can’t answer. If not hopefully someone from Adobe will respond.

  20. Thomas says:

    Flickr still restricts free-users to just 3 sets. I’d like to create lots of sets & slideshows but I can’t because of this restriction.

    I can understand charging more for bandwidth but for sets? This is free to them. Clearly they’ve put this restriction in place for the sole purpose of driving pro-memberships. While might make sense from a business perspective it seems petty.

  21. Jeff says:

    I love Thomas’ photography and enjoy his blog, but his often “all or nothing” comments just make me smile and shake my head. Same for the voracity by which he defends these statements in the comments. Though I will also admit that this approach certainly generates more controversy and, therefore, more pageviews, notice, and more syndicated ad revenue, so I can’t say I blame him. As to this post’s comments, I agree with others here that the 10MB size limit is hardly a problem for the majority of enthusiasts out there. I shoot in RAW, postprocess to PSD, and only save out to JPG when I want to print or post. In that case, I set the resolution and compression to satisfy the particular medium. Even if I maxed out all my settings, with the photos from my 30D, I never hit 10MB and, optimized for the web, am usually much, much lower. I agree the limit may be a problem for a small number of users and is largely unnecessary on Flickr’s part, but hardly warrents the “virtually every digital SLR…” statement.

    Now, on the 200 photo limit and the 3 set limit, I agree that both of these are pretty small even for free accounts. It seems clear that Flickr is more aggressively trying to monetize its user base through the upgrade to Pro accounts. Hopefully, competition and a broader monetization strategy will open up some of those limits.

    Davis, Flickr absolutely gives you the html to embed in your blog posts. Just click “All Sizes”, select the size you’d like to embed, and the html will be under the picture.

    Last, I would say the huge advantage Flickr has right now is the established community. Thomas’ photo “Shot to the Moon” has one comment on Zooomer and 15 comments on Flickr. In the world of social media, the best feature set doesn’t always win.

  22. Dan Oines says:

    I had 800 photos on a flickr free account. Everything was tagged with my username so they could be retrieved and sorted by date or interestingness. Once flickr added multiple tag searching, sets were irrelevant. I simply used category tags then linked to the saved search URLs from my profile page.

    The biggest problem with flickr is that it’s stickier than super glue. The costs in time, tagging, and tracking feedback eventually became higher than the benefits of using the site.

  23. range says:

    Hey Thomas.
    I was using flickr before I started using Zooomr. Main reason, free pro accounts, more upload capacity. Though I never hit it until this month. You see, I got myself a Nikon D200 and I have hit the 4GB limit easily this month. In fact, I still have 300 photos I want to upload and no more bandwith to upload them anymore.

    My question is this, when will Zooomr be offering unlimited uploads for its Pro accounts? It might make my life easier.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I have had issued with zooomr with my T1 line. The uploading of flickr photos has been an issue. Is there a fix?