Archive for May 2011

On Flickr’s Change in Data Retention Policy and Twitter’s New Photosharing Service

I’ve been out shooting for six solid days or so and so wasn’t around when two important news stories broke, so I’m commenting on them briefly after the fact.

The first news story was that Flickr has changed their policy from immediate and permanent deletion, to a softer one where user data is retained for 90 days prior to permanent deletion. I wish I knew more about why Flickr made this change or how this new policy came to be adopted, but I will say that this is excellent news. My single biggest criticism with Flickr over the years has been their tendency to shoot first and ask questions later regarding user account deletions.

Once flickr destroyed someone’s account they’d then claim that they couldn’t restore it even if they wanted to. Earlier this year Flickr took a lot of heat for accidently deleting the wrong account and showed that they were in fact able to restore an account.

At least one user has claimed that since adopting this new policy that they have in fact actually had a deleted account recovered. I don’t know the details on this case or why Flickr changed their mind and reinstated the linked account, but it would seem that appealing to flickr after the deletion will in some cases work.

My single biggest fear while on flickr has been that I’d wake up one morning and find my account nuked. They’ve already nuked one of my groups in the past and having my account deleted has always been a worry of mine.

While it’s still a worry of mine that Flickr could suddenly decide one day that I’m “that guy,” and nuke me, it’s good to know that I’d have time to fight for my account in the future should this happen.

I’d say that this change is the most positive thing flickr has done in the past five years. Thank you especially to Daniel Brogan at Flickr for finally making this happen. 😉

Secondly, TechCrunch is reporting that Twitter is getting into the photosharing game — supposedly an announcement is coming this week.

I think this is great for a couple of reasons. First the leading player in the Twitter photo space twitpic is a total ripoff for photographers. When you use it you are giving them the right to sell your photos through some fine print in the TOS. Many people don’t read TOS agreements and twitpic doesn’t really advertise or clearly disclose that they can screw you over and steal your rights.

It’s one thing for a company to actually claim this right, but then not actually try and use it. It’s quite another thing for a company to actually come out and state that they are going to start doing this. In twitpic’s case they violated this trust with their users. What’s worse, the revenue split that goes with your photos that twitpic sells is 100% twitpic 0% photographer.

So as far as a new Twitter photosharing service screwing over twitpic, I’m all for that. Unfortunately out of the twitpic rights grab, some other photosharing services used that opportunity to differentiate themselves (like Mobypicture). It will probably make it harder for any external photosharing service to survive which is based primarily on the Twitter ecosystem, with an actual Twitter photosharing component built in.

As far as what twitter might offer for us, I hope that they think about giving users full rights over their own photos (like flickr, Mobypicture, 500px and others do). It would a bummer to see Twitter try to do the same rights grab that twitpic did.

I do think that there is a place for microblogging photos. Many photographers don’t want camera phone photos cluttering up their flickrstream or other places, but still want to use them to show what’s happening and going on in their life on a daily basis. A Twitter photosharing option would seem ideal for this.

I’m not exactly sure what a Twitter photosharing service would/could look like. Maybe like Instagram a little bit except that you’d be able to use it without having an iPhone. Looking forward to seeing whatever they come up with though.

Say Goodbye to Detroit

Say Goodbye to Detroit

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

What Happened to Your Sweet Summertime Dress

What Happened to Your Sweet Summertime Dress

Swords and Arches, Bones and Cement

Swords and Arches, Bones and Cement

If You Want to See if You Have Any Testimonials Waiting For Your Approval on Flickr, Click Here…

If You Want to See if You Have Any Testimonials Waiting For Your Approval on Flickr, Click Here...

If you want to see if you have any testimonials at flickr waiting to be approved click here.

The screenshot above is of testimonials that I’ve written for people on flickr that have never been approved. These are photographers on the site whose work I actually liked enough to take valuable time out of my day and sit down and thoughtfully put together a short write up on why I valued them and their art on the site.

Some of these were written by me months ago. Some, in fact, years ago.

Unfortunately many of these will never be approved and were a complete waste of time on my part.

The reason why they’ll never be approved is the same reason why others that I’ve written have taken months and even years to be approved — because Flickr has no notification process in place for when someone writes you a testimonial.

Unlike someone’s Facebook Wall or 500px Wall, at Flickr, when you write something nice about someone on their main profile page, the only possible way that they’ll ever know about it (in order to approve it) is to actually go to the “Manage Your Testimonials” page buried three levels deep inside Flickr.

Because many users don’t know about this page, thousands (if not tens of thousands) of testimonials have been written on Flickr that never are published.

As a user of the site, knowing that there is a chance that my testimonial won’t be seen, it discourages me from wanting to write more of them. If I’ve wasted my time in the past, and the user won’t even find out about it anyways, why even write one?

Testimonials are some of the most powerful ways for people to communicate on a social network. They are generally more meaningful than a mere comment on a photo and are much more thoughtful as well. They are not just a comment on a specific photo, they are a comment on something bigger, you as a photographer.

The fact that Flickr has left testimonial notification broken for this many years makes me feel like they are simply just clueless about how social networks ought to work. It’s an epic fail and even worse when the way to fix it is so easy.

To fix testimonials flickr just has to do two things.

1. When someone writes someone a testimonial, forward a flickr mail to that person automatically from the system. They already have a mechanism to do this for other things on the site, why not testimonials?

2. When someone writes someone a testimonial, put this action in the recent activity page. This is the most viewed page on Flickr and will likely be seen by them.

By doing these two super easy things Flickr could double or triple the amount of testimonials written on the site. More testimonials = more page views. More testimonials means more people feel good about themselves and the site.

Or maybe it would be better if I just put this in a language that the Yahoos at Yahoo can actually understand. (More testimonials = more page views = more ad$$$vertising impressions) + (more testimonials = more people feeling good about themselves on the site = more Pro acc$$$ounts) = $$$.

Did I mention $$$?

This is such a no brainer. Instead of working on things like the boring old log off page (Zzzzzzzzzz….) that flickr redesigned last week, they should be fixing things that matter like this.

Angels Above San Francisco

Angels Above San Francisco{EAV_BLOG_VER:d4edd8cbe2f0473c}

Deano’s Motel

Deano's Motel

Spinning for Infinity

Spinning for Infinity

Fall Into My Arms

Fall Into My Arms