TechCrunch Says Yahoo Photos to Be Shut Down in Favor of Flickr

[I'm CEO of Zooomr]

Breaking: Yahoo To Shut Down Yahoo Photos In Favor Of Flickr Mike Arrington had dinner with Stewart Butterfield and Yahoo SVP Brad Garlinghouse last night and reports that Yahoo will be shutting down Yahoo Photos.

From Arrington:

“Yahoo is not forcing transition to Flickr – instead, users are being given the option of choosing among a number of top photo sharing sites. If you are a current Yahoo! Photos user, you will be given the option to export all your photos into Flickr (a one-click process) or you will be able to export to a few other services such as Photobucket, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery or Shutterfly. Most of these services have built special tools to transition users, Butterfield said. Users will also be able to download full sized original photos, or order CDs and prints at a discount to the normal price. “We have no interest in forcing anyone to switch to Flickr” Butterfield said. “We want happy users.”

According to Mike video is also coming to Flickr.

What’s interesting to me is that Valleywag reported that this was happening three months ago. At that time Flickr users posted a post about this “rumor” in Flickr Central to which Stewart Butterfield responded specifically, “I betcha Flickr keeps going more or less on the same path (always evolving, sure, but more or less the same) for a long, long time to come.”

I guess 3 months is a “long, long time to come.”

More specifically Stewart chided Valleywag for reporting on this rumor saying, “It’s interesting to hear all the different perspectives on this. … Very different from the inside, but it’s mostly stuff I can’t talk about. However, I can say that I’m really, really happy about all the recent changes. Valleywag has a lot wrong (just factually wrong, but it shows up in their interpretations) so I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in it. All good! And in particular, all good for Flickr and it’s future :)”

Transparency.

It will be interesting to see what the Flickr users think of this and certainly now makes the whole forcing Flickr to Yahoo IDs thing make more sense in hindsight.

It will also be interesting to see what Flickr does with the whole 200 photo limit for free accounts, a limit that is not in place at Yahoo photos. I’d suspect that many free accounts at Yahoo Photos have more than 200 photos and that those people might be pissed when all of their photos don’t show up at Flickr beyond 200. Of course the easy answer here is for Flickr to drop the 200 photo limit for free accounts, but I’m not sure you’d see that anytime soon.

Stewart Butterfield confirms this news here.

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14 comments on “TechCrunch Says Yahoo Photos to Be Shut Down in Favor of Flickr
  1. stewart says:

    Good lord Thomas – usually I just ignore the stuff you make up, but these two I have to respond to:

    1) The unlinked quote you attribute to me in the second instance has nothing to do with rumors about Yahoo! Photos and was written months before on a totally different topic. Kind like if I quoted your blog post as “Zooomr … is shutting down.” Good luck with that approach; you can fool some of the people some of the time.

    2) As I wrote on this specific announcement, I will happily continue to take bets on whether or not Flickr continues on the same path, Unlike what Valleywag reported a while ago, this is not a merger of the services. Yahoo! Photos will be shut down later this year. Many Yahoo! Photos users will move to Flickr (and many already have) and many will switch to other services. Whatever makes them happy.

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    Stewart, the link for the quote attributed to you is here:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/central/discuss/72157594407564083/#comment72157594408559218

    And was posted in a thread which linked to the Valleywag rumor article originally titled, “rumor mill on the consolidation of flickr and yahoo photos”

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/central/discuss/72157594407564083/

    Isn’t your saying that this quote had *nothing* to do with rumors about Yahoo Photos when it comes from a thread about this very subject linking to Valleywag just a tad disingenuous?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Stewart,

    Do you have any additional insight into why Yahoo chose to favor Photobucket, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, and Shutterfly? Did they come to some kind of agreement behind closed doors? Is there some unseen connection between these companies and Yahoo?

    Why did Yahoo choose these competitors and not others like SmugMug, Zooomr, Bubbleshare, and Zoto? These companies, who are smaller and more innovative, would surely have been able to offer comparable (if not superior) service to the Yahoo user base than the ancient web 1.0 dinosaurs who were chosen instead. Why is Yahoo favoring the big companies and shutting out the smaller ones?

    Mr. Hawk, do you some thoughts regarding this as well.

  4. stewart says:

    Dec 5-7:
    Valleywag writes a flurry of posts about the Yahoo! re-org. One sentence out of the few thousands words was “The cuts are likely to result in the consolidation of competing product lines such as Flickr and Yahoo Photos”. There were no cutbacks or layoffs. They were speculating based on stuff that was in the Peanut Butter memo, which also mentioned Flickr and Yahoo! Photos, among dozens of other points.

    About 50% of what they wrote was similarly wrong (e.g., Jeff Weiner got the biggest promotion out of anyone in the company and he was being shunned, according to them).

    So, I said that (i) I’m happy about the re-org changes (I was and still am), (ii) Valleywag has a lot wrong (they did), (iii) Flickr’s future is bright (it is), and (iv) Flickr continues on the same path (it has, and still is, and still will be).

    Feb 12:
    Valleywag posts a (then) rumor that Yahoo! Photos was to be shut down and quotes what I wrote two months earlier as if it was supposed to be denial of what they were writing at that point. Of course it wasn’t. And I never denied that Yahoo! Photos would be shutting down.

    So, when you say:

    (1) “… specifically Stewart chided Valleywag for reporting on this rumor”: I wasn’t chiding them for reporting on that rumor. They quoted something I wrote *before* they posted it (which, if you think about it, is logically necessary given that they were *quoting me* in the post itself.)

    (2) “What’s interesting to me is that Valleywag reported that this was happening three months ago. At that time Flickr users posted a post about this “rumor” in Flickr Central to which Stewart Butterfield responded specifically,”: They reported it three months ago. I made that response five months ago. You can’t say “At that time” with a two month window between and the order of events swapped over that two month span.

    But yes, this is why I normally ignore the FUD. It’s pointless to respond.

    Transparency.

  5. Thomas Hawk says:

    (1) “… specifically Stewart chided Valleywag for reporting on this rumor”: I wasn’t chiding them for reporting on that rumor.

    Stewart it seems disingenuous to me that in a thread *about* this rumor specifically linking to the very article on Valleywag associated with this rumor (not in some thread talking about comments made last Dec), that you would expect people to buy this.

    Nobody was talking about points made in December in the thread where you made this quote. The whole thread was specifically about a Valleywag rumor on this very topic.

    While it is convenient to now go back and try to say that you really weren’t talking about this rumor in a thread about this rumor, it is pretty evident to anyone who bothers to read what you wrote in that thread that the message you were sending was a denial of the Valleywag story.

    I think it would have been better for you simply to not have responded to the Valleywag story rather than to lead people down a road to believe that this was not in the cards.

    Certainly the whole forcing Flickr users to merge to Yahoo IDs makes a lot more sense now in light of today’s new news about the merging of these services.

    “the unlinked quote you attribute to me in the second instance has *nothing* to do with rumors about Yahoo photos” (my emphasis). Please Stewart. And you accuse me of making things up. That’s rich.

    So explain to me Stewart. What have I “made up” here?

  6. Thomas Hawk says:

    Stewart,

    Do you have any additional insight into why Yahoo chose to favor Photobucket, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, and Shutterfly?

    Anonymous, the reason why Flickr chose these services is because they are uninteresting services that basically focus on photo hosting, not community and photo sharing. They are not a threat to Flickr and are very much inferior to Flickr in terms of the depth of service.

    This allows Yahoo to say to Yahoo photos users, we gave you a choice. When the choice presented was a very poor one indeed. Instead Yahoo Photos users move to a service that will limit their free accounts to 200 photos where they previous did not have a 200 photo limit.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Mr. Hawk. I suspect there were some backroom deals involved as well. We are talking about millions of users, after all.

    Stewart? Any thoughts?

    I also doubt the 200 photo limit will apply to migrating users. It would pretty much force most them to upgrade to a pro account. I think Flickr will more than likely up the limit and offer a discount to Yahoo Photos users who want to upgrade.

  8. Thomas Hawk says:

    I also doubt the 200 photo limit will apply to migrating users. It would pretty much force most them to upgrade to a pro account. I think Flickr will more than likely up the limit and offer a discount to Yahoo Photos users who want to upgrade.

    It would seem to me unfair to allow Yahoo users to have free accounts with more than 200 photos but not Flickr users.

    Perhaps you are right and Flickr will in fact remove the 200 photo cap for free accounts. They very much should do this. It’s pointless and silly to limit people to 200 photos as most people have much more than 200 photos.

    At Zooomr we have no 200 photo limit. At Zooomr our free users can upload as many photos as they want. They can also upload photos that are larger than 5MB if they want. At Flickr limiting users to 5MB file size and 200 photos on free accounts is the way of the past.

    The way of the future is in limitfree photo sharing.

  9. stewart says:

    “Nobody was talking about points made in December in the thread where you made this quote. The whole thread was specifically about a Valleywag rumor on this very topic.”

    The only comments I made and the only thing you’re quoting from me was posted December 5th. Click on your own links: all these things have date stamps.

    The Valleywag post ‘Yahoo Photos shutting down, Flickr triumphant?’ went up February 5th. I didn’t respond. They quoted what I had written two months earlier.

    Re-reading, I was completely wrong to say it “has nothing to do with rumors about Yahoo! Photos”. I didn’t look up the thread before I said that, but the Valleywag post Striatic linked to, ‘Yahoo re-org’ (also posted Dec 5th) wasn’t about Flickr and Yahoo! Photos (that was a just an example) — it was abou the re-org. My mind at the time was very much on the re-org. And that’s what I remembered. However, in context, the discussion was clearly on the re-org and not Yahoo! Photos and Flickr specifically.

    Having said that, what I wrote earlier is still exactly what I think you are making up (quoting myself from up the page; added linebreaks for readability):

    < <
    So, when you say:

    (1) “… specifically Stewart chided Valleywag for reporting on this rumor”:

    I wasn’t chiding them for reporting on that rumor. They quoted something I wrote *before* they posted it (which, if you think about it, is logically necessary given that they were *quoting me* in the post itself.)

    (2) “What’s interesting to me is that Valleywag reported that this was happening three months ago. At that time Flickr users posted a post about this “rumor” in Flickr Central to which Stewart Butterfield responded specifically,”:

    They reported it three months ago. I made that response five months ago. You can’t say “At that time” with a two month window between and the order of events swapped over that two month span.
    >>

    And with that, I’m back to work. Good luck.

  10. stewart says:

    Zoto guy: when you say “backroom deals”, it sounds pretty nefarious: we tend to work indoors, but that’s about it.

    We know a lot about Yahoo! Photos users and know that simple “dinosaur”/”Web 1.0″ services are what a lot of them want and need. They are also more familiar with the larger brands.

    Each partner we integrate directly has a large cost to us (directly in dollars as well as in time, energy and focus) — we’re not charging a cent for it. With enough time and resources, we could have considered offering more but until you’ve managed a customer support team for tens of millions of people, you can’t really estimate how expensive it is.

    Given Yahoo! Photos audience, I’m very confident we selected the right services. It might have been better to have more (though having, say, hundreds just makes it too confusing), but there is nothing sneaky going on here, and no attempt to shut out the little guy. Yahoo! also has no relationship with these companies in this regard (though some of them do advertise on Yahoo!): Kodak and Shutterfly are public companies, Snapfish is a unit of HP, and Photobucket is an independent private company.

  11. Thomas Hawk says:

    Stewart, you can try and spin this any way you want. I could care less. A thread was made in Flickr Central talking about merging Yahoo Photos and Flickr and the way that you responded to this thread twice left the reader to believe that this was not going to happen.

    When you say,

    “I betcha Flickr keeps going more or less on the same path (always evolving, sure, but more or less the same) for a long, long time to come.”

    and

    “Valleywag has a lot wrong (just factually wrong, but it shows up in their interpretaions)”

    You lead the reader to believe that you are denying Valleywag’s “interpretation.” Valleywag’s interpretation was that these two services would be merged together.

    Rather than acknowledge your own disingeniousness with these statements you’d rather accuse me of “making things up.”

    In hindsight I can see where it was politically expedient for you to try to throw people off of this rumor. Yahoo was very shortly going to force all of their Flickr users to adopt Yahoo IDs and as you well know there was a great degree of backlash over this decision.

    If instead you had said that in addition to all of this we are merging all of Yahoo Photos into Flickr this would have been received even worse than it was.

    I understand that this may make sense for Yahoo to do. I understand that the likely outcome of this is that Yahoo will make more money because Flickr is better monetized than Yahoo photos is. And Yahoo is after all a corporation designed to make money. Why else would MSFT want to buy them if they were not.

    But when you accuse me of “making stuff up,” and try to play semantic word games after the fact that doesn’t sit right. The spirit of your comments were to make people think that things were going to be business as usual at Flickr for a long, long, time, when this was hardly the case.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Stewart,

    You seem a bit snippy. I guess this little war of words has you on edge. And I see you’ve been reading TechCrunch, too.

    I happen to also be a Flickr guy as well (Pro User – I paid you money).

    I simply wanted to know the rationale behind the decision to choose those specific companies. I think the one really valid point you made was regarding the amount of support that would be needed to handle the influx of that many users. It would make the larger companies more attractive. I don’t see how the Yahoo ‘audience’ would benefit any less from some of the other companies mentioned except for the support issue.

    If you take offense to my “dinosaur” comment I have to come clean and admit that I borrowed that bit from McAskill’s blog over at SmugMug.

    http://blogs.smugmug.com/don/2007/05/04/bye-yahoo-photos-hello-flickr-and-smugglr/

    He wrote:

    “The text of the email in question contained a reference to Yahoo only providing migration mechanisms to a single “Web 2.0″ company, Yahoo-owned Flickr, and all of the other options being old “Web 1.0″ dinosaurs like Kodak and Shutterfly.”

    See? It’s not just me calling those guys names.

    ;)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it obvious why those sites we chosen?

    1. They can handle the demand.

    2. Most Yahoo! Photo users want something similar to Photobucket or Shutterfly

    3. If they do want community, Yahoo! isn’t going to send them to a competitor.

    Yahoo! is a business. They are not in this purely out of the goodness of their hearts. Why competitors would expect a boost from them I’ll never know.

  14. striatic says:

    when Stewart said “I betcha Flickr keeps going more or less on the same path (always evolving, sure, but more or less the same) for a long, long time to come.” the topic regarded whether flickr would disappear in a merge with yahoo photos.

    so yeah, you’re right when saying “A thread was made in Flickr Central talking about merging Yahoo Photos and Flickr and the way that you responded to this thread twice left the reader to believe that this was not going to happen.”

    .. and flickr is definitely not going to disappear in a merge into yahoo photos, so i think that Stewart’s comment was entirely appropriate and accurate given the circumstances.

    seems to me that Stewart was more than a little confused about the exact nature of the flickr central thread [it has been a while], when attempting to counter Thomas’ amusing game of “gotcha”.

    but let’s cut through the bullshit. was Stewart confused or lying or being misleading in the original flickr central topic? no, he wasn’t. flickr wasn’t going to disappear or be eaten or merge or in any way disappear, and that’s all Stewart really reassured us of

    so what gives?