Anti-Video Sentiment Among Flickr Users Growing

Anti-Video Sentiment Among Flickr Users Growing

[I’m CEO of Zooomr]

With less than 24 hours behind Flickr’s announcement yesterday of adding video to their service, the early sentiment from existing Flickr users appears to be largely negative.

A new group started on Flickr called NO VIDEO ON FLICKR!!! has already seen over 4,000 Flickr members join the group. The group already has a petition going with over 1,000 users signing a petition opposing video on Flickr. The petition language is below.

“We the undersigned members of Flickr, free and pro, agree that video has no place on Flickr. Other sites on the web accept video already, but do not accept photos. We all joined Flickr because of it’s dedication to photography and photographers, and we want Flickr to remain true to this dedication. It is our request that this feature and addition to Flickr be removed.”

If you agree with this statement, type /signed followed by your username/full name in a reply to this thread.”

While there are some advocates for video and some Flickr defenders in the official feedback forum on Flickr Video, here too the comments by many of Flickr’s most active users are largely negative.

Some typical comments from the Flickr Help Forum:

Richard Carter:
“It’s frankly disgraceful that you have not allowed users the option of saying (by default) “I don’t want to see videos”. Especially in search results.

I know you’ve invested too much in this awful feature to turn it off, but PLEASE MAKE IT GO AWAY!! “

fofurasfelinas: “I just HATE having videos on flickr.
Flickr is a place for PHOTOS.
We pay for a photo service, if I want to see videos, I go to youtube.

I think Flickr is getting heavier everyday, and videos are going to make the connection busier.”

skasper (off working on a project…be back soon): “Wow…check out all of the sentiment against this!!!! I too am opposed to video on Flickr….at least the Flickr that we currently know and usually love. While I acknowledge that many people use Flickr as a depository for their snapshots, many of us are here to improve our art. We are photographers! I also acknowledge that videography is an art….but give them their own space and don’t muddy our waters!”

dadodedos: “Sorry, but i’m angry for this last news…….
I think this is a really bad move for Flickr, why video ??? there’s a lot of sites that you can put video…….Please !! This is a photo site !!!
Put your video on youtube or others……

NO VIDEO ON FLICKR
NO VIDEO ON FLICKR
NO VIDEO ON FLICKR
NO VIDEO ON FLICKR
NO VIDEO ON FLICKR
NO VIDEO ON FLICKR
NO VIDEO ON FLICKR “

Fighting the criticism in the official help forum mostly seems to be being done by long-term Flickr member Striatic and Flickr Community Manager Heather Champ.

It will be interesting to see if the anti-video sentiment on Flickr continues to grow and gain momentum and if Flickr will actually take action on its community’s largely negative reaction to the service thus far.

About a year ago Flickr made a decision to cap Flickr contacts at 3,000 for users. After a lot of protesting from Flickr users over this decision Flickr reversed their decision and allowed unlimited reciprocal contacts.

Personally I don’t see Flickr reversing their decision on adding video to the site. Video is a fast growing service on the web and certainly Yahoo wants a piece of this pie. With the huge user base that Flickr represents, the opportunity to promote video to this group from a dollars/cents standpoint probably means more to Yahoo! than how a small but vocal group of hardcore Flickr photographers feel about the service.

What’s more, prior to their Yahoo takeover announcement, Microsoft had indicated that they would be launching a photo/video combo site to compete with Flickr. If/when Microsoft takes over Flickr, I would assume that they would rather the site contain both video and photos rather than a photo only site.

Perhaps the simplest answer in the short-term for Flickr would be to offer filtering technology to filter video out of your Flickr experience. They already have filtering technology that allows users to opt out of seeing screenshot images, for instance, on Flickr. They also have filtering technology allowing people to opt out of adult content on Flickr. By creating an option to allow users to opt out of video on Flickr this would alleviate some of the concern from some of the early critics of this service.

On the other hand, if too many people opted out of the video experience on Flickr, it might lose momentum and not achieve the success that promoting it to the entire Flickrverse might have.

On digg here.

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37 Comments

  1. Jason says:

    Thank you for featuring our NO VIDOES ON FLICKR!!! group…

  2. Rex Guo says:

    Personally, I think adding video dilutes the unique
    Flickr experience. This phenomenal photography
    subculture, created by the people and for the people,
    should remain pure and focused. An entire generation
    of Internet users owe it to Flickr to be able to better
    appreciate photography and respond more fully to
    beauty. This momentum is just in its infancy and can
    grow into a much bigger cultural impact. But to do that,
    I feel Flickr should focus on what it does best and
    spend its energies to improve what its users need,
    instead of doing me-too’s, like videos in this case.
    Every other Web 2.0 start-up is already doing it.
    Just let them be. Flickr doesn’t need video.

  3. Phil says:

    his site and the energy and money behind it till the introduction of video was to support, promote and share artwork and insight into photographic technique – a forum for amateur and professional photographers alike.

    Users appropriated the site’s functionality and accessibility to show us the reflection of our world through photography- image creation with a camera of some kind – for the most part….

    The point with the introduction of video is that the Flickr can potentialy become one of two things: YouTube- and all the trash on it- or a site dedicated to the same ideals that most of the Flickr members adhere to.

    Sure users are posting all kinds of photos- and we should not support censorship- so it may seem ridiculous to attack YouTube for the hosted content- but I can guarantee if Yahoo thinks they can make some money with video and compete with Youtube, the site’s functionality and design will then cater to these new users and photography as a primary media will be neglected.

    Let’s be realistic – we the dedicated Flickr users – although many of us hold pro accounts will simply not have a say on the future of Flickr.

    …Of course, we could threaten not to continue financially supporting the site and let our pro accounts lapse…

    So if any user can post any mulitmedia format they desire as has been suggested by some users- I’d like to start sharing some MP3s- why not?

    MySpace and YouTube here we come!

  4. fotogail says:

    Hi Thomas! Isn’t this interesting? I would have probably jumped on this anti-motion bandwagon if I had not seen some extraordinary short videos by Flickr members at a lovely site called Vimeo.

    If you post your clip at Vimeo it is possible to send a still frame over to Flickr, but it’s clunky to do so. I’d like to keep moving and still images in the same fold, particulary when they are related.

    My suggestion to the Flickr staff is to treat videos somewhat like adult content. Let the viewer and group moderators decide if they wan to see or allow it.

    I’ve seen some powerful videos presented by my contacts via a link on Flickr, where I then have to go offsite to see the movie. I know there’s a demand because I’ve seen people argue pro and con about this in the forums. Yahoo already has a video division that has huge traffic and a very different demographic, so I think this is more user-driven than you suggest.

    It’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure.

    How would you integrate or segregate video content on Zooomr? Would that be user and group admin choice, or overall top-down architecture? If you were to do that. I understand you might never make that choice of course, but you always have interesting ideas about how to do things differently.

  5. Thomas Hawk says:

    How would you integrate or segregate video content on Zooomr? Would that be user and group admin choice, or overall top-down architecture? If you were to do that. I understand you might never make that choice of course, but you always have interesting ideas about how to do things differently.

    The decision on how to handle video on Zooomr is really more Kristopher’s than mine at this point. Thus far Zooomr has not allowed video uploads but have allowed people to add video meta data to photographs. You can, for instance, add a Vimeo or YouTube video to your photo page. But the video is not on Zooomr as the host. The video is on YouTube or Vimeo and simply linked to a photo. So far it has not been used much.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Good of you to use the forums to drive traffic to you blog so you can harp on about how zooomr will do it better, Thomas.

    Your sly nature knows no bounds.

    As for a ‘largely negative response’, you are quoting the number of members of one protest group, yet no numbers for uploaded videos (and from how many users) since the launch.

    You are portraying entirely one side of a reaction and painting it as a complete truth. Shame on you.

  7. Thomas Hawk says:

    Good of you to use the forums to drive traffic to you blog so you can harp on about how zooomr will do it better, Thomas.

    Anonymous, I’ve never said anything about Zooomr doing it better. Zooomr doesn’t really do video beyond allowing people to add it as metadata.

    As for a ‘largely negative response’, you are quoting the number of members of one protest group, yet no numbers for uploaded videos (and from how many users) since the launch.

    The vocal response has largely been negative. A group of over 4,000 users in less than 24 hours opposed to the service is not trivial. And if you read through the comments in the help forum there are a lot more negative comments about the service than positive ones. I’d hardly call the reaction of the community as “largely positive” or even neutral.

    The fact that a bunch of people have uploaded videos doesn’t speak much to whether or not people like or want the service. Many of the people opposed to the service have even uploaded videos protesting it and I think a lot of the early use of the video service is more people trying it out than anything.

    Certainly if there are people who *love* this service, beyond a handful of individuals, they are an awfully quiet bunch at this point. But go through the help forum and read the comments for yourself. I’m not sure how you’d read that as a positive reaction to the service. Neutral to negative at best.

  8. Rich says:

    People over react much. Months ago when I heard people talk about video on flickr I thought it was a bad idea, but I was going to hold my judgment until it actually happened. Now that is has happened, I think it is still too early to judge.

    I think people are having a knee jerk reaction to video. I think that is it hard to say what this will do to flickr. Being worried that the sight is not a good reason to stop the growth of the site.

    So far Flickr has done a good job not making this a YouTube clone. Lets see what it does to the community.

    The important thing here is that Flickr cannot stay the same. If it stays the same it will not grow. a lack of growth is death. Just staying in the same place will not sever flickr users well in the end.

    BTW, not seeing videos by default is a silly feature request. You need to click on the videos to see them. They are not playing as thumb nails or on the photo.

    People are reacting to the idea of video more than they reacting to the videos they are seeing. That is interesting to me.

  9. gbierman says:

    It would not be so bad, if autoplay didn’t default to on. And that there is no real separation between photos in videos, it’s easy miss the little play icon in the corner. The url should be …/video/… and not …/photos/…

  10. I have always heard that Yahoo was loosing money with Flickr (because of bandwidth). Why then, add to the fire?

    I agree with the general sentiment and think that something that only gives you 90 second videos should have its own service somewhere else… Call it Yahoo Video and move on.

    The Opt-out idea is brilliant! It’s the easiest way to get a general consensus of the general public sentiment with regards to a mix environment.

  11. Joost Schuur says:

    It took me about 15 seconds to find a great implementation of video within the 90 second constraints:

    http://flickr.com/photos/striatic/2399965889/

    I agree that tools should be there so that people who don’t want to see videos, don’t know they exist, but it irks me that a vocal group (however large or small they may be) are attempting to bully a site that is trying something new.

  12. Brent Evans says:

    Back in the day some people were against automobiles on the street mixing with horses too…..

    I can’t disagree with the option of searching for photos only or viewing only photos and I’ll bet flickr will add those features, but I don’t really understand the sentiment against the new feature. Guess I’m not as hardcore as some.

  13. Anonymous says:

    If you’re the CEO of Zooomr, why are all the photos on your site hosted on Flickr? A CEO should have confidence in his product.

  14. dj paine says:

    man alive, people will complain about anything. i think it is awesome. well done flickr.
    and i love zooomr’s video in the meta- it is excellent.
    can’t we all just get along?

  15. victoria says:

    I think there’s been tremendous over reaction to the addition of video on Flickr. But then, that’s what always happens whenever there’s any change at all on the site and, on cue, the usual suspects have vowed to leave/not renew their pro accounts, just like they did when safe search came on line, and when Yahoo! bought Flickr, etc.

    I suspect that just getting video added to the site took tremendous resources and, now that it’s up, they’ll have the resources to put toward fine-tuning how video works (user and group filtering, for example).

    As far as the observation that the response has been largely negative…I’m not so sure. I think there’s a very vocal group who have reacted negatively, but most folks are either reserving judgment (like me), like video, or don’t really care, so you really don’t hear from them.

  16. TranceMist says:

    Thank you for the links Thomas. I too am against this. Your links help in the expression of that opinion.

    Petition signed.

  17. Big dust up over nothing. Flickr needs to just create a filter so user can decide if he/she wants vid or not in stream. thats the solution.

    Flickr is not going to reverse this decision…not gonna happen. $$ to be made, folks. the facts.

    I remember everyone got up in arms when yahoo bought’em and you had to migrate your acct to yahoo email. That protest lasted about 10 days.

  18. Thomas Hawk says:

    If you’re the CEO of Zooomr, why are all the photos on your site hosted on Flickr? A CEO should have confidence in his product.

    Flickr has been more reliable with static images as hosted for a blog than Zooomr has. Zooomr is a small start up without the resources that Flickr has. I love Zooomr and use it every day. I also love Flickr and use it every day too.

    Of the two services, at present I find Flickr more reliable for blogging.

    I used to host my blog images on Zooomr and hopefully will again someday.

  19. Peter says:

    So a thousand people have signed a petition against videos. So what? I bet a lot more than a thousand people have uploaded videos so far.

    I don’t like graphics or HDR or excessive Photoshopping. To me, they “dilute the true photography experience”. But you know, lots of people disagree, and I’m not going to get all up in arms trying to rid Flickr of them. I’ve learned to live with the fact that other people want to use Flickr in a different way than I use it, and I’m certain you’re going to have to live with that, too.

  20. TranceMist says:

    I think Flickr has finally found a way to not be destroyed by a Microsoft takeover.

    Destroy itself first.

  21. Anonymous says:

    People just has to stop deluding themselves and stop calling Flickr a community. It is not. It’s a corporation. And everybody knows that corporations have profit as number one on their list of goals. Any customer complaint will be ignored if it clashes with the possibility of making a profit (ie: german issue). So, the only solution for you is to vote with your wallets, because it seems that this is the only language corporations understand. If you are a serious photographer, my advice is to get your own hosting. Don’t feed corporations that take your money and then don’t care about you. I certainly wouldn’t like to be part of a site that calls me “artfag”.

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