[I am CEO of Zooomr Inc]
Well, some pretty terrible news from Flickr today.
First Flickr is forcing “old skool” members to give up their email/password log on on March 15th and is forcing them to adopt a Yahoo ID in order to continue using Flickr. After March 15th you will be locked out of your old Flickr account unless you merge.
And second Flickr has added new limits that are bad for community.
Let me tell you more specifically why these changes are bad for me, one of those Flickr members who could be considered “old skool.”
First of all I have four Flickr accounts. I have one Flickr account for my fine art photos. One Flickr account for my personal family photos. One Flickr account for a non profit organization that I’m affiliated with and one Flickr account for blogging images.
Under the old system it was very simple. I could simply log in or out of these accounts with my various email addresses. But now I will no longer be able to do this. I will have to log in and out of four separate Yahoo accounts in order to do this. And so this means that things like stock portfolios, MyYahoo, yahoo mail, etc. will not work for me when I’m logged into 3 of my 4 flickr accounts unless I duplicate all of these services.
What’s more. I don’t want my stock portfolio that I’m tracking, my Yahoo calendar, etc. in any way associated with my Flickr account.
What’s worse is now Flickr will be becoming a place where I can take but not give. My interaction with my contacts will become a more selfish thing.
Let me explain. I make people contacts at Flickr for three reasons. The first reason is because I know the person in real life and want to follow their work. These pepole are typically coded as “friends”. The second reason is because while I don’t know them personally in my offline world, I do admire their photography and want to monitor it. And the third reason that will be impacted the most is that I add people as contacts in order to RECIPOCATE back for them adding me as a contact.
Today I have 5,034 contacts on Flickr. The vast majority of these contacts are people that have added me because they want to follow my photography. I’ve always believed that the polite thing to do was to add them back as contacts so that I could also periodically go through their photos and fave, comment, etc. But now I am going to have to drop about 40% of my contacts whose work that I monitor. So if you notice that I drop you as a contact at Flickr don’t take it personally. Blame Yahoo, they are the ones forcing me to do it. I enjoyed monitoring your work while I was allowed.
If you still want me to monitor your photos feel free to sign up for an account on Zooomr because I’ll do it there.
And before the Flickr brainswashed defenders say, c’mon, how can you really monitor that many people’s photographs, I will tell you that I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours monitoring others photos on Flickr. I have personally favorited over 18,000 photographs from my contacts on Flickr because I love their work. And if they are checking out my stuff I should be able to check out theirs. Yes, the more contacts it gets the harder this is. But almost every day I take time to go through the most recent photos by my contacts and fave and comment on their pictures.
This move is bad for community. There is no need for this limit.
Flickr has also decided to limit tags on photos to 75 tags. While I can understand that in many cases there is no need for tagging a photo more than 75 times, other times there are. For instance. Take a look at this photo of mine called Where I’ve Been Lately. It’s a very popular photo on Flickr and it’s been favorited over 100 times! It was also featured on Boing Boing and many other blogs. It took me hours and hours and hours to build and it was a fun project where I took the last 320 websites I’d visited with favicons and made a photo out of them.
I spent hours building and tagging this photo and now Flickr is going to destroy my metadata and chop it off to 75. This is supposedly to “Make Flickr Better” that they offer up a TM on. I find it ironic that Yahoo decides to joke about trademarking “Making Flickr Better,” when in real life they are actively pursuing a patent on the concept of social rank with photography — a patent that shouldn’t belong to anyone at all.
What’s worse about today’s news is that it comes with a vague promise that all this is being done to “Make Flickr Better,” stating that they are doing this to make Flickr pages load faster.
Do you know what? Flickr is plenty fast for me today. Having to dump 1/3 of my contacts, erasing my metadata, forcing me into a system that will make me log in and out several times a day, these are much more painful.
It’s insulting that Yahoo would somehow try to sugarcoat today’s news.
Flickr should rethink these limits. The world of photosharing should not be about limits it should be about a wide open arena to share your work.
At Flickr in addition to a 200 photo limit for free accounts, we will now have a limit on how we can access the system, a limit on our tags, a limit on our contacts, what’s next? A limit on our photos?
Old skool Flickr members who are being dumped on today probably also remember another quote that came from Flickr once. It was printed on the Flickr Blog in March of 2005 when Flickr made the announcment that Yahoo was buying them. But those days are long gone. Let me reprint it though for people to remember:
“Don’t forget to breathe. It’s not the end, it’s the beginning! As the wise woman who taught us The One True Way of Flickr Massage says, the only thing permanent is change. But we’re going to stay true to our vision and to the people who made us what we are — that’s you, the Flickr pioneers. Thanks for making the first year of Flickr so wonderful.”
Unless you happen to be “old skool” I guess.