Dear Yahoo buyer, please don’t screw up Flickr.
I like Flickr. In fact, I like it a lot. Maybe it’s not as popular as it used to be - and sure, some people pick on it - but I think it’s still a wonderful site for photography and photographers. I have made many friends there over the years, I have discovered other photographers who I learn from, and I have discovered many photographers and photographs there that inspire me. The quantity and quality of the content there is a constant source of amazement and inspiration for many, including myself.
In the news, we keep hearing that Yahoo is up for sale, and several big websites have already predicted the demise of Flickr, and suggested that we move on. They tell us it will get sold off, or abandoned, and that we are better off moving to another platform.
I sure hope they are wrong.
I like Flickr, and I want to keep using it. I don’t want it to get screwed up. The organization system of Sets and Collections is just so perfect, and being a bit OCD myself, I like that - a lot. I think it’s the best out there. The mobile app is pretty solid all-around, and the Stats page works great for me.
Sure, you could make all sorts of improvements to the site, but considering the state of things at Yahoo, we all know that isn’t happening at this time, and that’s ok. It’s still incredibly functional in it’s current state.
It has brought me customers, friends, and inspiration - sort of the holy trinity in the art world.
I recently uploaded my 5,000th photo there, and I think it’s the best site on the web for sharing a wide collection of photographs and keeping them organized. I love being able to go look at my photos from years ago, all organized both by Sets but also chronologically. Seeing how my work and my processing choices and skills have changed over the years is educational and inspirational for me.
I don’t even want to consider having to move them and start over on another service. This is THE catalog of my work. It’s not just a place I post photos. Plus, I’ve already “released” the photos that are there - starting somewhere new is like re-releasing them. It’s a waste. I’ve got better things to do with my time, like process some of the nearly 200,000 other photos in my library. ;-)
I may host my portfolio elsewhere (it’s on SmugMug, which offers a great e-commerce engine), but Flickr provides great search functionality and people find me and my blog through Flickr rather often. It has brought me opportunities that I doubt would have come my way otherwise. It probably helps that Yahoo has a search engine - of course, I’m assuming it’s connected in some way. If Flickr is sold off I assume that would go away, but I don’t care. It still works for me.
Come to think of it, maybe it’s better if you do sell it off when Yahoo gets sold/dismantled. It could be a great asset to the right buyer, with a huge archive of amazing photographs and a passionate and engaged user base. Perhaps it could stand alone?
The point is, there is a ton of value in the site and the brand, and besides little old me, there are surely thousands (and probably millions) of other folks out there that feel the same way.
Please don’t hang us out to dry. That would suck.
The Photography Community
p.s. You can find me on Flick here if you would like to connect.
Editor's note: Hat tip to Thomas Hawk, who has written extensively about Flickr on his blog, has some wonderful insights into the site and is surely the most prolific photographer that I know. He has somewhere around 120,000 photos on Flickr (no, that is not a typo) and has a stated goal of reaching 1 million published photos in his lifetime.