Yahoo Merging Yahoo Photos Into Flickr Valleywag Says

RE-ORG: Yahoo Photos shutting down, Flickr triumphant? – Valleywag

[I’m CEO of Zooomr]

From the more bad news for “old skool” Flickr users department. Valleywag is speculating (and has upgraded their news from rumor to unannounced “fact”) that Yahoo Photos will very shortly be rolled into Flickr.

“Flickr may indeed stay on the same evolutionary path, but Yahoo Photos will almost certainly disappear in the very short term, with its users and content migrated to Flickr gently but forcibly.”

First off, I have no idea if this is true or not despite the fact that Valleywag calls it “unannounced fact.” I have no idea who Valleywag’s sources are on this and so I’m sticking with labeling it rumor and speculation until I hear better confirmation.

I will say though for what it’s worth that I think that this would be a horrible idea. I’m sure I’ll be attacked because how dare I work on Zooomr and say any idea coming out of Yahoo be bad… but… a couple things.

First, Yahoo’s been taking a pretty painful beating from their “old skool” members in the past few weeks over their (in my opinion bad) decision to force “old skool” Flickr users to merge into Yahoo. For some “old skool” users this is no big deal — emphatically, no big deal — but there are many other “old skool” members who are very upset about this to the point of canceling their flickr service.

From a timing perspective, it would seem off to now try to push another surely controversial decision with the current “old skool” users.

Even if Flickr wanted to do this, probably better to wait later into the year when hopefully more of the bitterness over this recent change blows over.

Second, Yahoo Photos and Flickr are two totally different places, with totally different communities. Flickr is an edgier place where the focus on social sharing of fine art photography is extremely important. I’m just not sure that a merged Yahoo Photos Flickr does anything at all to enhance or make Flickr a more interesting place.

Again, all of this could simply be a moot point. Stewart Butterfield, after all, recently called Valleywag out by name as reporting inaccurate facts about Yahoo.

As recently as 8 months ago Flickr Chief Stewart Butterfield responded to the idea about merging the two properties with:

“But the larger point is that there are NO plans to merge Flickr and Yahoo! Photos. (I work on Flickr at Yahoo!) They have different audiences, serve different purposes have different goals and support different parts of Yahoo!’s overall strategy.”

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  1. greywulf says:

    It sounds like a logical conclusion to me, and as we know, logical conclusions are rarely correct 🙂

    That said, flickr’s strength is it’s community support among photographers. There’s a load of people who wouldn’t consider themselves photographers (or even own a camera), but have a camera phone. At the risk of being us-and-them-ist, they outnumber us shutterbugs by an order of magnitude.

    To Yahoo’s market minded mentality, it’s worth alienating all of the photographers on the planet to get the much larger phonecam crowd.

    Of course, that’s all just logican conclusion. What do I know?

  2. Shawn Oster says:

    I feel flickr has been at the place you fear it’s going to become.

    For example I rarely see anything that interesting in the “Everyone’s Photos” section, mostly just snapshots, nothing of shutterbug quality. It isn’t until I hit the Interestingness section that I see anything really amazing. It also seems that pictures tend to rack up “Interestingness” by the photographers being in self-created and self-moderated groups that are known for high quality shots.

    flickr is already a majority of pretty standard snapshot, party pics with a small minority of real quality pictures. It just happens that the minority has carved itself a great niche with their groups and flickr has found a great way to help people discover those pictures with it’s interestingness feature so people like myself that can’t take an artist shot to save his life still get to admire other’s great work.

    I’m curious how this move would in any way alienate the shutterbug crowd? The groups would stay the same, the best would still float to the top and in fact I doubt that many Yahoo Pictures folks would even bother to tag their photos so unless you caught a brief glimpse of a newly uploaded photo in the “Everyone’s” section it would more than likely just disappear into the aether.
    Perhaps a good lesson to take from this for Zoomr would be how to project the image that you’d prefer Zoomr to be more of a “photographer/shutterbug/photog” community rather than a place to store and sort your photos. When I land on Zoomr the first thing I think of is, “cool, another place to dump my 10,000 random pictures of friends, family and places taken in bad light and with no framing skills.” I don’t really understand that I shouldn’t be putting up those candid snapshots and that I should instead be striving for artist photographs.

    I’ve alway felt flickr did a good job of being whatever you wanted to make of it, either a photo dumping and sharing ground for the likes of me or a great place to highlight and discuss your work with like minded individuals, for people such as yourself. I’ve never considered myself a photographer, nor do the many friends I’ve had for ages on flickr, yet we’ve managed to enjoy flickr. A lot of the pictures in the few groups I’m in aren’t even all that good, like in the Guinness group, yet we still get a good sense of community, albeit without the polish of the better photographers.

  3. TranceMist says:

    I agree with you on this one Tom. IMO the two serve very different audiences.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What’s the “Interestingness” section?