Flickr Pushes Photo Printing With Snapfish, Blocks Competitors From the Flickr API?

Flickr Pushes Snapfish Printing Locks Out Competitors?

Over at the Photobox blog they are complaining today after Flickr has apparently cut off their commercial API access. Photobox is a commercial photo printer in the UK who had previously been able to use the Flickr API to help Flickr users print photos with them.

From the Photobox blog:

“At PhotoBox we passionately believe in the values of the open web and consumer choice; if you do as well then please join us in our mini effort to encourage the mighty ‘community driven’ flickr to play fair. So put your hands in the air by signing this petition and who knows, just maybe, the very smart folks at flickr HQ in sunny CA will stop, take note and reconsider their decision to cut off our full API access. We believe it’s entirely their choice to have a preferential online prints partner in the UK and Europe all over (y)our photostreams (or not!) but to exclusively cut us off ‘due to these contractual obligations’ is a harsh step too far and flies in the face of what we all want – an open and social web driven by consumer choice. “

At the same time Flickr has been busy pushing hard their printing relationship with Snapfish. In addition to adding a shopping cart at the top of 100% of the pages on flickr linking to printing by Snapfish, Flickr has also now added a colorized yellow “print photos” button that is above your photos on your photo page. The previous button was there but not colorized to stand out. They have also changed the former “organize” feature to now read “organize & create” pushing printing services with Snapfish in the Flickr photo organizer with a new “print & create tab.”

Personally I’m not crazy about the new promotion. When I signed up for a Flickr Pro account I was promised “ad-free” browsing and sharing. Although adding a shopping cart to the top of every single one of my pages may not be the biggest deal, it does make flickr feel a little bit less like a paid photo sharing community and a little bit more like amazon.com. But whatever the case, it is in fact advertising and personally I have no interest in printing up my photos with Snapfish. At a minimum, Flickr should give paid Pro accounts an opportunity to dismiss the advert shopping cart and other printing marketing like they give you the opportunity to mute the McDonald’s/Ford/Kodak/Starbucks etc. adverts that now show up on the groups page. The deal for paid accounts was no adverts and Flickr should keep their end of that bargain.

Like recently adding the Yahoo! logo bug to the top of every flickr page, it looks as though Flickr is increasingly taking steps to move towards commercializing Flickr to their Pro account users. While Flickr/Yahoo are a business and I don’t begrudge them making money any way they can, I think that paid Pro accounts should in fact remain advert free — and that if Flickr is going to continue marketing this way to Pro accounts that they probably ought to stop with the false advertising claim of an “ad-free” browsing experience for paid Pro accounts.

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10 comments on “Flickr Pushes Photo Printing With Snapfish, Blocks Competitors From the Flickr API?
  1. Gary says:

    Wow… I noticed that flickr had gone Snapfish, but I can’t believe they cut everyone else off. I went and checked, and I see that Moo has the same issue. No more direct access to flickr.

    I’m with you. I pay for Pro (and I would pay more), but the new shopping cart is annoying. Ad-free is what we should be getting!

  2. Nick says:

    Yep – agree with you and Gary above…

    Flickr certainly seems to be heading downhill at a rapidly increasing pace.

    I can understand setting up an arrangement with a printer for a deep integration such as on-site buttons and carts, but to cut everyone else off is just madness. Especially services such as Moo which are substantially different to the outputs available through Snapfish (although Moo – at least for now – still seems to be working for me).

    I do wonder if the negotiator at Snapfish is to blame rather than Flickr. Perhaps they insisted in a non-compete clause in the agreement?

  3. Rob says:

    I used Snapfish to order 50 6*4 prints on Friday with my credit for 50 free prints and they came this morning. I have to say I am very impressed with the way they came back.

  4. Larry says:

    It looks like Moo can still pull photos from flickr. I had to re-authorize moo.com to access my flickr acct, and on that page it was described as a trusted partner.

    Finding out about Moo from flickr is not as obvious as before. You have to go to The App Garden and search for it, which I think is confusing since moo.com isn’t an app. But doing that brings up a page that describes the company and links to moo.com.

  5. Nick says:

    As a smaller update – if the advertising and changes around printing in Flickr are bugging you, and you use GreaseMonkey then you can download the following nifty script to switch things back to how they used to be!

    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/61903

  6. harvardlawyer says:

    Oh Thomas, your war with Flickr is so adorable. But misguided.

    if you don’t like fucking Flickr, then DONT FUCKING USE IT.

    The world does not owe you a socialist paradise where everyone else does what you want for free, so you can live like a parasite. If you’re so fucking smart, open your own goddamned photo sharing site and do what you want.

    Oh, wait. That would mean not being a blogging jerkoff but instead being an adult.

    Ahaaa.

    Fucking asshole!