Should Yahoo/Flickr Be Advertising Paid Pro Memberships as “Ad-Free Browsing and Sharing” When They In Fact Plan on Advertsing at Them?

Should Yahoo/Flickr Be Advertising Paid Pro Memberships as "Ad-Free Browsing and Sharing" When They In Fact Plan on Advertsing at Them?

Last week I blogged about the latest advertising campaign that’s shown up on Flickr, the McDonald’s “Show us What You’re Made Of,” campaign/group sponsored by McDonald’s “quality” group. The group is clearly commercial and designed to promote McDonald’s on Flickr. The group links directly to a McDonald’s page and encourages members to submit “tough questions,” to a McDonald’s owned forum where you can ask McDonalds “anything” about their food quality and get “honest, straightforward answers.”

Somehow I’d imagine though that you won’t find questions like this one from the U.S. Politics and the World Group on Flickr entitled, “Why I Don’t Eat Clown Meat.

Now whatever you think of McDonald’s (personally I’m a huge fan of the Shamrock Shake) the fact that McDonald’s is advertising on Flickr does raise an interesting point about truth in advertising. And that is, why is Yahoo / Flickr promising you an ad free Pro account when you pay up with an annual fee and then turning around and advertising at you?

And it’s not just McDonald’s. In the past few months several additional companies have now started advertising to paid Pro Flickr Members. In addition to the “Show Us What You’re Made Of” Mickey D’s group. Today I noticed that I could also now share with “Team Visa” what inspires me to “get moving.” By the way, someone should show the “Team Visa” admin how to change their default avatar from the blank flickr face to something more cool looking.

From the Visa campaign:

“What inspires you to get moving? Send in your photos of people in action— whether it’s an everyday activity like going to the movies, or a titanic event like scaling the Matterhorn, whether it’s swimming with dolphins, or walking the dog. And your pics could appear for Visa campaigns all over the world.

Have you ever been surprised to find out some place takes Visa? (Places like your neighbor’s lemonade stand, or a traveling noodle shop in Tibet.) If you have, send those pictures along, too.”

That’s it damnit. Cancel that American Express card pronto. The traveling noodle shop in Tibet now takes, yep, you guessed it! VISA!

But if McDonald’s and Visa are not enough for you, maybe you ought to check out the Nikon Digital Learning Center. Or how about the Kiss and Be Kissed Group (sponsored by Nivea). Or you can tell Kodak what your story is here. Or you can hang out in the uber cool “Life’s for Sharing” group sponsored by Deutsche Telekom (warning it’s in German). Or check this out. Ford Motor Company is now inviting a few very lucky select flickr members to be a guest editor on their “This is Now” blog through their “This is Now” group on Flickr (your bailout dollars hard at work I guess). All of these groups, by the way, are now prominently displayed on the main groups page for all free *and* paid Pro account Flickr members.

Now. I’m as much for Yahoo/Flickr making money as the next Taurus driving Nikon shooting hamburger hawking clown. But the point is, why are they pumping all these adverts out at paid members when they promise you an ad free experience on Flickr if you pay and upgrade to Pro. Whatever happened to, in the words of the immortal Hunter S. Thompson, “you buy the ticket, take the ride?”

My own opinion is that paid members ought to be exempt from having these adverts directed at them. Either that or Flickr ought to drop the “ad-free browsing and sharing” claim from their own advert above.

And this post was *not* brought to you by Burger King.