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.