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How Yahoo Killed Flickr (2012) (gizmodo.com)
238 points by uptown on Apr 25, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 179 comments



  Because Flickr photos were tagged and labeled and categorized so efficiently 
  by users, they were highly searchable.

  "That is the reason we bought Flickr—not the community. We didn't give a shit about 
  that. The theory behind buying Flickr was not to increase social connections, it was to
  monetize the image index. It was totally not about social communities or social 
  networking. It was certainly nothing to do with the users."
It is kind of amazing that it did not occur to them that the users were the one who created this index and would have continued to do so.


Agreed. The hubris in that statement is almost palpable. They're essentially saying the didn't give a shit about the cause of the result they were buying.


Welcome to humanity. I doubt Facebook cares a lot of its users as well. They are living off the network effects of an incumbent monopoly.


Seems very similar to DIGG.com's story.


And soon to be Reddit's story with their pending redesign which removes all CSS from subreddits among other things that only serve advertisers rather than the community.


Could we get a source on this? It's very hard to believe Reddit is rolling out a change that removes CSS.

EDIT: Source - https://www.reddit.com/r/modnews/comments/66q4is/the_web_red...

We’re designing a new set of tools to address the challenges with CSS but continue to allow communities to express their identities. These tools will allow moderators to select customization options for key areas of their subreddit across platforms. For example, header images and flair colors will be rendered correctly on desktop and mobile.

We know great things happen when we give users as much flexibility as possible. The menu of options we’ll provide for customization is still being determined. Our starting point is to replicate as many of the existing uses that already exist, and to expand beyond as we evolve.

Sounds like they're trying to keep the same flexibility as the existing CSS options, which is a bit different than removing styling.

On the other hand, there are a lot of concerns with the approach Reddit is taking: https://www.reddit.com/r/modnews/comments/66q4is/the_web_red...


Meh, it's time someone knocked them off their perch. It's the same with all these platforms. They all degrade after a few years. Their priorities change from providing a valuable service to squeezing every red cent they can out of their platform. That was probably always the plan but as soon as your agenda switches away from providing for your users, you're trash and it's just a function of time before people start jumping ship.


As far as I can tell, the custom CSS is holding reddit back from any type of optimization/modernization of the HTML markup. Removing it and adding other customization options could actually improve the experience while still allowing subreddits to make changes.


I've always found the css to be annoying (and force remove it with res), never mind that it doesn't work at all on mobile.


What really?!? Completely removing all the sub-reddit CSS will kill so much of the individual subreddit personalities.


It seems very out of touch when we have things like /r/place that would not be possible without CSS


/r/place isn't possible for community created subreddits. You can only do css, with limited hacks with placing stuff in the sidebar content.


That's quite a bit of conjecture!


Then refute it; you won't.


* make it impossible to sign in: check

* break the batch uploadr in an effort to quickly release the new UI: check

* don't respond to features in Google Photos people care about: check

Everything they did to Flickr since Mayer's takeover has been half baked. They concurrently had the new UI and the old one, but most damning of all as another user mentioned was the impossible miserable sign in process.


> The first community problems became evident when Yahoo decided all existing Flickr users would need a Yahoo account to log in. That switchover occurred in 2007, and was part of the CorpDev integration process to establish a single sign on. Flickr set it to go live on the Ides of March.

That was it for me. After this I couldn't login because of a combination of Yahoo's convoluted username+password requirements and their broken password recovery process. I gave up after multiple attempts over a couple of years. I mentally filed 'Yahoo' under 'corporate dysfunction'.


Recently it has been improving though. I was able to successfully recover my account myself.


You got my hopes up. I tried again after all this time. Remembered they gave me a new account instead of granting access to my old (PRO) account that had all my photos from a once in a lifetime road trip. You can't contact a human to fix it as far as I can tell. Now excuse me while I walk into the street and take my frustration out on an innocent passerby.


I remember https://twitter.com/YahooCare for example.


Nope, their support humans live in an impregnable fortress of circular forum links and ContactUs decoys. I give up.


Maybe the people that stole all the login data have taken over that function.


I want to use Flickr again but I don't have access to my Hotmail(!) account anymore. I don't even recognize the area code for the number they have on file for me.

After exhausting those two options it sends you to the yahoo help website. The first page asks for your yahoo email address. I don't have a yahoo email address and one was never associated with my flickr that I am aware of.

I've tried but have no clue how I can access my own photos again. I'm a customer just sitting here begging to use their service again and they don't want me to.


Sorry, but it doesn't seem to be their fault, it looks more like the usual case where the user doesn't want to take responsibility for their actions and blames customer support for it.


Yahoo has a really crummy recovery system compared to the big 5. If things really go wrong, Google will let you recover your account provided authorized forms of identification -- obviously forgery is an issue and Google is very thorough with regard to this (like checking if the account is still being used by the regular IPs or has gone inactive.)

Yahoo on the other hand basically tells you "go fuck yourself." I literally had a Yahoo agent curse me on the phone after I asked for the supervisor. And then she hung up. I gave up on recovering my parents' yahoo account. Yahoo deserves the demise it suffered. Unlike the big 5, its processes are kludgy, even when it comes to customer service and people stuff. Good riddance.


Sorry but it does seem to be their fault.

They made their service unusable for years as explained in the article and in many comments here. It's not uncommon to change email address over a period of year, and that's for places where we tend to keep addresses around China is a totally different approach. With the lack of option to recover access to your account you are now locked out of your data. This would not happen with other third party service provider hosting your data.

But as always do have backupS and do not rely on third party for your data. Host it yourself and have a copy on those services. At least if you care about the data.


I've lost a flickr account because yahoo deletes emails that don't get used.


There is no customer support! I can't even see any way to contact them or email or call flickr customer support from the pages they show me.


It felt good to see this on HN, and it felt better to read it in bold, dark, black text.


Flickr's (and Yahoo's) account handling is terrible, but your story isn't an example of that.

You don't know your password, don't know the associated phone number, and can't check the associated email. You're lacking every credential required for access, so WTF do you expect them to do that wouldn't also be a huge security loophole?

If you can call and get access, then anybody could call and get access, so they're erring on the right side here as far as I'm concerned.


How could it not be ?

Yahoo's handling of flickr push user away for years. do you remember the password of that email account you have not used for 5 years ? good not try to log in and discover that this address has been deleted or reclaimed by hotmail for being inactive.

Do you still have the phone number you had in 2005 ? chances are you have changed several times.

I don't even know most of my current passwords, I never give my phone number for privacy reason (still have about 2-3 telemarketers calls a day for having given it a few times in the past) and I usually can't check the associated email because I don't even remember which temporary email address service I used to register with your service to protect myself from the spam and reselling of my address.

I've learned a lot since the 90's and I trust the web services for exploiting, reselling any piece of info I may give them so everything is single use or fake, it has proven very effective at keeping annoyances at a very low level.

Funny that you would mention a potential security issue when yahoo's credentials and user data has been breached, twice.


To be fair, it seems like it would be very difficult to guarantee you own the account without access to your email or phone number.


They wouldn't even give my parents' account back when I offered to send pictures of their drivers license / social security cards / passport in. All because they forgot a dumb "secret answer" question. Yahoo has beyond terrible customer service.


How is this a terrible customer service? Sending easily faked pictures of documents is not a proof of account ownership. It's your (or your parents') responsibility to remember password or security answer, don't blame customer service for that.


At the very least, cursing at you when you ask for a supervisor, then hanging up, counts as terrible customer service. Other companies offer last-ditch methods for recovering accounts. Yahoo could too; it's not like they'd damage their shining reputation for account security.

> It's your (or your parents') responsibility to remember password or security answer, don't blame customer service for that.

It is, but it's customer service's job to help out the customers. Elderly people aren't known for great memory. It's got to be expected that people in general might not remember to update the account when they change a phone number, and might not remember the security answer that they provided years ago.


A human is behind an account. There need to be ways to recover an account when certain measures fail with non-tech savvy folk like my elderly parents. Yahoo offered no way to recover the account.


And those same methods you mention are how people get "hacked". Everything that would make it easier for your parents to recover their account also make it easier for someone to social engineer.


The H word is such a lazy excuse. Techies overestimate how much the common folk give a shit about getting hacked. 99% of the population are not celebrities.

I know a bank that purposely reduce their Internet banking security. To cater for specific elderly customers who constantly forget their password. They are not going to force their customers to walk into the bank everytime.

These accounts are at a risk of getting hacked. It's called a tradeoff. As a bank, do you want customers or not? Do you like money or not?

As for the Yahoo situation. If they gave a shit about customer service: they can accept copies of drivers licence/passport signed off by a justice of peace.


Sounds like a bank that doesn't want my business. And that's fine if that's how they want to operate. But if a company wants my business, lightening security standards is not the way to get it.


And that bank is probably in violation of PCI DSS.


You're a customer too? How much ad space do you purchase?

This might help things if you mentioned it to them...


I'm the product lose me and the customer will have nothing to match the ad against


My parents paid for the yahoo mail plus for years. But Yahoo didn't care at all. They offered no way to get the account back.


> Everything they did to Flickr since Mayer's takeover has been half baked

Did you have a specific act in mind when you linked this to Mayer? They bought Flickr in 2005 and it's hard to think of anything positive which happened in the 5 years before she was involved.


> make it impossible to sign in: check

yep. fta:

> Yahoo's RegID solution turned out to be a nightmare for the existing community.

It was such a pain for me to have to recover my old and never-used Yahoo account that I just quit using Flickr. Just like that.


> don't respond to features in Google Photos

By the time GPhotos launched, was there anybody still invested in the rotting carcass of Flickr? I bought Flickr Pro almost 10 years ago and immediately regretted my decision when they broke some blog-integration thing I relied on.


I wanted to root for Mayer in the beginning but omg was her run a shit show.


Also signup was a pain.


It's 2017 and I still use my Flickr account because I can't find an equivalent service that maintains the level of photo metadata, privacy settings, and archive capability that Flickr does.

I have close to 11,000 items personal photos and videos in there (60GB), and it is constantly growing, yet searchable. I also have a myriad of tools to back up my Flickr photos and metadata to Dropbox, which I do periodically.

People love to nitpick about it, but I still find Flickr enormously useful, and have been paying for Pro for nearly a decade. I try to be proactive and open to alternative photo services, but migrating to something else at this point seems like be a huge hassle.

I wish they didn't have old and new UI mixing though. Yahoo could definitely polish that.


If you want to know how it would feel if it was more consistent, the Flickr (partial) redesign was done by the same guy who did the Chow(hound) most recent redesign.

I don't think much of him.


I hesitate to question anyone's abilities before you know what constraints they had to work under. Designers often get the blame for internal management chaos, and a lot of executives feel qualified to make major design decisions.


A dev and a designer require the same primary quality: being able to manage the scope and the conflicting requests from the environment.


Well, yes, but they also have a job to do. If whoever is in charge mandates something your options may be to do it or find another job, and not everyone is financially comfortable walking away.

I'm not saying everything is great, only that it's far more common for something wrong to be explained by factors you aren't aware of than someone to be utterly unqualified to hold their job.


Relax. Noone is getting fired for asking what's the purpose of a feature.

You gotta understand why you are creating what you are creating to make it well. And that is perfectly reasonable to suggest an alternative route if you think it's better for the business and the users.


First of all, I shouldn't have said I'm not a fan of him. It's his work.

Second, if you're doing redesigns for major, major sites, there has to be some accountability.


Is the search as good as Google Photos? I don't need to do it often, but when I want to find photos I've taken of dogs (for example), it's pretty nice.


The search is terrible. If a recent photographer has taken 1,000 photos and tagged them with your search keyword, you have to wade through all 1,000 of that photographer's photos first, even if they are all of a style you aren't looking for. And this happens to a large degree on practically every search keyword you try. They have no collapsing of photos from one source, nor any ability to filter out such spurious results.


What's the backup tool you use? I've had trouble finding something that works.


I used https://github.com/drtoast/flickr-backup but it has some limitations (only backs up photos that are in photosets, max 500 photos per photoset - neither of which were a problem with my account)


> I can't find an equivalent service that maintains the level of photo metadata

Smugmug?


Yahoo did not kill Flickr, Facebook did. Turned out the secret sauce to putting photos on the internet was the social interaction with your friends, not a bunch of photograph amateurs obsessed with lens quality (not that there's anything wrong with that), but that's not what regular folks care about and Facebook really took this aspect of the web by storm.


What? Not sure where you got that idea, but Facebook was never a good choice for photographers to showcase their work in isolation from other noise, or for people to browse photos in specific categories and collections.

The social part makes it all "oh, I was there too it was such a nice day, are you coming to my party next week?".... I'm guessing that's FB. Facebook = happysnap. Instagram = happiersnap.

This article is from 2012, and is off the mark. Flickr is still up and running, even if crammed with ads sending uBlock into a frenzy.

If anything, photographic collections and studies don't have the appeal they once had due to the trillions of images we see everywhere now. The eyesore of over-sharpened, over-saturated, too high dynamic ranged retina candy. Good photography now is back in the galleries where it should be...IMHO, the image resting on a print not emitting any light of its own. No blinding pixels, and hopefully matte paper, no glass.


>What? Not sure where you got that idea, but Facebook was never a good choice for photographers to showcase their work in isolation from other noise, or for people to browse photos in specific categories and collections.

What the parent says is that this, even if true, the above is totally irrelevant.

There's not much of a market for "photographers to showcase their work in isolation from other noise" or for "people to browse photos in specific categories and collections".

What there's actually a huge user base for that can be turned into ad money is casually sharing photos AMONG other stuff, with friends and relatives. Which is what Facebook offers.

This killed Flickr, except in the way you describe -- which nobody (as in: few millions of people) cares about.


Not everything is about aiming for the lowest common denominator with the most profitable market. Random funny pics and cheeseburgers will always be greater markets, but that is irrelevant.

When you invest in camera gear then study or explore photography, you will gravitate away from junk food image sharing platforms, and instead find places dedicated to skills, techniques and themed photography showcases and resources.

Nobody killed Flickr. It could use some interface and feature improvements, and probably some new administrators or project teams, but it's still there doing what it does. For what it's worth, I was never a big fan of Flickr due to the lack of control over how your gallery page could look and function.


>Not everything is about aiming for the lowest common denominator with the most profitable market.

No, but Facebook level businesses are.

>Random funny pics and cheeseburgers will always be greater markets, but that is irrelevant.

And so is Flickr in the context of the grandparent's comment.

>Nobody killed Flickr. It could use some interface and feature improvements, and probably some new administrators or project teams, but it's still there doing what it does.

Killing for a social medium, even more so a business-run social medium, is not about not being able to do "what it does".

It's about being unable to monetize it, it losing mind-share, people moving away, the action getting elsewhere etc.


> There's not much of a market for [...] "people to browse photos in specific categories and collections".

I would venture that Avenue Q had a more accurate view of this (in the song "The Internet is for Porn").


Nice catch. I forgot those categories and collections :-)


> Turned out the secret sauce to putting photos on the internet was the social interaction with your friends

Flickr actually did the social aspect well with their communities. What they missed was transitioning this social component to mobile.

And the UI change around 2013 where they got rid of the grid layout and moved to some Pintrest collage / infinite scroll ostracized a lot of users.


Was there ever a community like, say, Reddit or Facebook Page. Flickr has become just professional photographer's closet. Unless you link the photo on FB/Instagram/Twitter, not that many people would go there to look for photos. Do you go there every time to find a photo? I do go there occasionally to look for open license photos to include in my presentations, but that's about it.

Flickr could be made really useful if Yahoo provides a "make a photographer website" with Flickr backing as photo storage backend. Imagine I am looking for a wedding photographer nearby. I need to browse their work, want to know their rates, and even book time. Perhaps also an option to "sell my photo for use" and even a way to search for illegal usage of photo (it is a concern for many professional photographers).


> Was there ever a community like, say, Reddit or Facebook Page. Flickr has become just professional photographer's closet.

Flickr had a relatively active blog that would showcase photos relative to special days (e.g. Pi Day photos). On top of that, there was Flickr Explore that could be thought of as the front page of interesting photos.

And in terms of communities, anyone could make a community. So if you were a plane spotter, you could start (and there are), communities dedicated to that. You live in Boston and want to have a Boston Photographers Group? Done! Wedding photographers? Here you go:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/weddingphoto/

https://www.flickr.com/groups/flickr_wedding_photojournalism...

There were plenty of communities on Flickr and that's one thing I feel like hasn't really filled the void. 500px and VSCO exist, but they're a bit too focused for most amateurs or casual photo snappers.

Flickr for many was this soup of personal vacation photos, along with people visually documenting their non-photographic hobbies, and photographic-focused photographers. Their photostream was the lifestream for many. I met a handful of friends from Flickr not because of photography, but because they seemed like interesting people.

Perhaps this also speaks of social media now--we're fluent with the medium and now carefully polish our online identities. But in this process of self-curation, we've lost what makes us real and interesting.


Like you, I go to Flickr to look for Creative Commons licensed photos to use in presentations. (Which I do attribute.) For me, that's super-useful as I give a lot of presentations. But I mostly grew out of browsing for photos just because I want to look at interesting photos.

I do find flickr a useful place to upload my selected photos. I can display "slideshows" from there, share them with friends, etc. But, if flickr didn't exist, I'd easily enough find some other way to do the same thing whether self-hosted or otherwise.


No, Yahoo did by not keeping up the pace and evolving. It was static because Yahoo was under terrible leadership that never could figure out whether to shit or get off the pot.

To quote some execs I had a meeting with at Yahoo when we were acquired by them "we don't innovate: we copy what others do and make it better".

Not only is this an idiotic strategy, but it was one they consistently failed at. They never made anything better. I did point out at the time that I thought they were being delusional.

I left in 2005 because it was obvious the company didn't have any actual leadership. Just indecision and half measures. I left because I used none of the products anymore.

Yahoo handed the victory to Facebook.


I was a heavy Flickr user for about 5 years and I have to disagree with you.

Facebook certainly brought photo sharing to the masses, but most Flickr users were actually "a bunch of amateurs obsessed with lens quality", at least the active ones. Most of these didn't move their photography to Facebook but to other sites like 500px and later Instagram.

I agree with the article, Flickr died because Yahoo let it rot.


> Flickr died because Yahoo let it rot.

And then placed ads on the corpse.


Well, while Flickr would never be Facebook, they could have been Instagram.

Turns out people still like to snap pictures and post them online in 2017. And they don't care that much about quality.

If people cared about quality, vimeo would be bigger than youtube. It isn't.


Maybe I am in the minority but I would rather have simpler things with options to add more, rather than all or nothing.

One of the reasons I hate posting on Facebook is that you can comment on every little thing, and frankly not everything warrants a comment thread. Despite what is warranted, some people cannot help themselves and write pointless things on just about any picture. Instead of just a nice posting of $PICTURE, I then have $UNWANTED_TEXT next to my picture, forever (unless I erase and repost the image but that will just trigger Facebook's "HEY WORLD, LOOK WHAT HE JUST POSTED" algorithms again).


fun fact: Flickr was originally created as a social video game, but the photo-sharing component overshadowed the game component.

Flickr users weren't obsessed with lens quality, they were obsessed with good looking pictures. Facebook spent 10 years (and maybe still) adding horrible jpeg compression to photos.


For the photographers, it was 500px or VSCO that replaced Flickr.


Not true at all. The serious Flickr users switched to other photography sites, like SmugMug and 500px, and the not so serious ones went to Instagram.

Not to say all those people don't also post photos to Facebook, but saying Facebook killed Flickr is akin to saying Facebook killed Google Code and everyone is uploading their code to Facebook now.

Obviously that's a silly comparison, but my point is, for people using Flickr as intended, Facebook isn't really a substitute.


I would argue Flickr's target audience was people who really care about photography and not social butterflies. As soon as it started to go down the toilet, the real audience left. So you're left with the social butterflies who were probably just as content with every other craptrap website at the time that would host photos. Those people will always flutter to next shiny thing with a crowd around it.


Many photographers I know won't touch Facebook since their attribution at the time was incredibly permissive and photographers are touchy about that.


Facebook has nothing to do with photos. Simple example: I'm looking for a creative common photo of a cat to reuse how do I find this on facebook ?

Facebook is not shutterstock or getty, photo is not their business, providing their useds with as little friction so they can be exposed to the customer's ads longer is their core business.


This is nonsense. It was nonsense back a few years ago when everyone though social networks were the entire internet and it's even more nonsense now. Flickr always occupied a different space than FB and could have leveraged that. They chose not to.


Flickr is used by many respected artists, not just "photography amateurs"


I'd say Instagram did a better job of killing Flickr.


Agree with this. Outside of the normal complaints wedged against Flickr, people moved into a mobile-first world and left Flickr in the dust.

If flickr wanted back in the game they'd have to jump in the mobile market and re-design their traditional web platform.


It could argued though that if Yahoo had cared about Flickr it could have become Instagram.


"Web startups are made out of two things: people and code. The people make the code, and the code makes the people rich. Code is like a poem; it has to follow certain structural requirements, and yet out of that structure can come art. But code is art that does something. It is the assembly of something brand new from nothing but an idea."

Are writers required to write a minimum number of words? Why so many writers write stuff that add nothing?


You're not the target audience for this article. It's the average, non-technical Gizmodo reader.

To that person, this paragraph conveys the insight that both code and coders aren't fungible. You'd be surprised how many non-techies believe that they are.


Yep. You get better SEO for lengthier, "more comprehensive" articles and often freelance writers get payed per word.


>Are writers required to write a minimum number of words? Why so many writers write stuff that add nothing?

You used 2 sentences instead of 1. Why?


You took the words right out of my mouth :)

> Why so many writers write stuff that add nothing?

I also found this amusing.


That's an interesting question. I would say that articles are made out of two things: words and spin. The author writes the words, and the words make the reader spin. Words are like a poem; they have to follow certain structural requirements, and yet out of that structure can come art...


Regardless of the missed huge opportunity here, I actually love Flickr the product. It's an enthusiast community for people who love photography. That's not nearly as big of a market as consumer and beyond, but I'm glad Flickr exists as-is.


> It's an enthusiast community for people who love photography.

500px replaced Flickr as that for me.

I was a long-time Flickr user back in the day because the community aspect helped me become a better photographer. I got feedback from other photographers, and got inspiration from their stuff. Now that Flickr is a ghost town, that aspect is dead.

500px has been a great substitute (though it has some strange biases towards lots of Russian model photography) for that.


I still use it. Not enough but occasionally. I do like looking through what the 5 people I "follow" post once and a while. Plus I like the occasionally email that people have posted new photos.

Generally I find them strong high quality photos.

I find Instagram is more of "I am here" kind of photos.


While I have this nagging feeling that Flickr could have done more, it actually still works pretty well for me for what I use it for. I also can't help feeling that if Flickr/Yahoo! followed the "I coulda been a contender, I coulda been Facebook" advice that a lot of people are peddling, it would probably have crashed and burned and no longer been useful as Flickr.


Way too many examples of this over the years. First one that I can remember off the top of my head was AOL buying Global Network Navigator (GNN). Great resource. AOL took their dial up subscribers and killed the website.

Of course, AOL switched it's focus away from dial up once it went unlimited shortly after so the entire acquisition did nothing but to make a valuable resource disappear.

AOL and Yahoo have been buying up companies, killing them, and then writing off the losses for years. This spans multiple management teams. It's inbred into the system.

It cracks me up that these two companies with years and years worth of fail between them, are somehow going to combine and become a winning organization.

Full Disclosure: I worked for a company purchased by AOL in the early 1990's, they immediately came in and ramped it up to about 120 people, and then killed it and fired everyone less than a year later.

That one was over an internal power struggle at AOL. One management team loved the idea, bought the company, and then lost political power. His replacement came in and killed everything his predecessor had been working on.


Del.icio.us and Tumblr is also acquired and killed by Yahoo. Also Geocities, like it's hard to serve some static files.


I wouldn't say Yahoo killed Tumblr. At the time of acquisition, Tumblr's growth was flattening. It also had a poor transition into mobile.

I don't recall of Yahoo forcing any UX or integration objectives on Tumblr, other than to start monetizing which eventually included the use of Yahoo media sales agents.

Tumblr's product simply didn't keep up in the race for attention.


Yahoo filtered out "adult" content, this is a dead giveaway that it at least attempted to kill tumblr.


Not true, that had nothing to do with Yahoo. If you want to be on the mobile app stores, you have to filter adult content availability out of your app. Tumblr always had a permissive approach to NSFW content, you just had to flag your blog as such so it didn't turn up in Tumblr search reuslts.

Src: https://tumblr.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/231885248-Adult...


Tumblr isn't innovating since they bought it. That's why it can't compete, because nothing Yahoo owns can compete.


I mean, I would fault Tumblr's CEO David Karp then, who is the original founder and still CEO. I guess you could blame Yahoo for not replacing him, but either way, its so easy (and popular) to just blame Yahoo.


Yahoo's shares of alibaba can compete.


Last time I checked Tumblr was still well and alive with two disjunct communities (tumblr-bullshit-feminism and porn curation).


They also annexed deviant art's fan art/fanfiction community for tv shows and books.


Don't forget that they killed Pipes.


I still remember when they killed Konfabulator.


Del.icio.us was sold to AVOS systems. It changed hand a couple of more times and now owned by an entity called 'Delicious Media'. In its current state, it is almost non-functional. The bookmarklet for tagging links does not work, API and RSS feed are deprecated. I knew it was time to get out when I found the data export function to be broken. I wrote a scraper[1] to get my data out and export to some other service.

[1] https://gist.github.com/rubayeet/a5c25458986ddecafd5e569866c...


The demise of del.icio.us was expected the instant they sold out, but the good news is that the service was useful so it gave rise to shaarli[1].

[1]: https://github.com/shaarli/Shaarli


Do any bookmarklets for tagging links work anywhere? It seems like most services simple javascript bookmarklets were shut out by increasing security? At least I know the bookmarklet that I used for pinboard became nonfunctional in Firefox then Chrome for example.


The pinboard bookmarklet seems to work for me in Firefox on almost every site except Github (where the CSP blocks it).


Well huh, so it does. Some maybe it was just a temporary gap that I fell into..


I still use pinboard. Still works fine for me modulo bitrot.


I absolutely still use pinboard, just not it's bookmarklet.


I know that "killed" and "murdered" etc. are hyperbole, but I wonder if they might be toxic, bad hyperbole.

Flickr is still bigger and more important than anything I'll ever be able to take credit for. Any random reader of this comment will almost certainly have to admit the same.

So Flickr is a hit with photo hobbyists, and general-interest snapshot-sharing happens elsewhere. Big deal. That only makes Flickr "dead" if you have a very narrow vision of what it means to run a business, of what it means to succeed.


Last time I tried to use Flickr was when they upped (or removed?) their storage limit and I was looking for a way to move several old hard drives worth of photos to the cloud.

I couldn't even sign up for a yahoo account because they required a mobile number. Am I the only one without one? I have to imagine they are missing out on a large chunk of people by requiring that but maybe not since Microsoft is the same way when you sign up for Azure.

Just tried again and they still require a valid mobile number (not google voice or skype).


People that have an internet connection but no phone number? I think you're in the minority of the minority there.


Have none? Probably not that many (although Flickr probably is comparatively interesting for a large part of that demographic). Willing to share with a random service on the other hand...


It's a security measure which protects the unlimited storage feature, among other things.

What if someone wants to use random burner accounts to store gigabytes of child pornography?

That's a lot harder to achieve if they have to buy a burner mobile phone for each account, and each burner phone has the potential to be tracked to the point of sale to use video and other techniques to catch the predator.

Mobile number verification is a very cheap and powerful way to cut out the vast majority of bad actors.


Phone number requirements is a very effective tool of surveillance and surveillance capitalism but it's also incredibly effective at keeping potential users out of your business.

Have a look at the popularity of online services providing phone numbers for verification purpose.


"Have a look at the popularity of online services providing phone numbers for verification purpose."

Sure.

Let's see, Facebook requires phone number verification:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-net...

Facebook is #1 most popular social network.

Okay, WhatsApp is #2 service: Requires Phone Number verification

Youtube, #3: No phone number verification, service is full of fake accounts, trolling, bigotry, and state propaganda and is seen as one of the worst communities in internet history

#4: Facebook Messenger: Phone Number Verification

#5: WeChat: Phone Number Verification

#6: QQ: Optional phone verification, but operated under am authoritarian government which strictly regulates user bases, use of networks, messages made, etc. (AKA they hire armies of people to manually monitor and police the service)

Perhaps I'm failing to see your point...?


yahoo doesn't accept voip numbers for signup. I moved my mobile number to a voip provider and got a data only plan because it is way cheaper.

I have hit a few roadblocks here and there, but end up saving 50% on my phone bill.


I'm pretty sure the majority on the planet does not have a phone number.

Anyways do you think it is a sound business practice to refuse minorities because they are minorities ? Long tail says otherwise.

After a few years of having my own internet access I got rid of the now irrelevant phone number, in the recent years it started to become a requirement for surveillance capitalism reasons and services that provide phone numbers for registration or verification started popping up right and left.


"[World Bank] Report Says 75 Percent Of World's Population Have Mobile Phones"

http://www.rferl.org/a/report-says-75-percent-of-worlds-popu...


I have a phone number, just not a "mobile" one or whatever that means to yahoo's verification setup.


Many telephone companies will read texts aloud if sent to a landline number. Sometimes I text my parents that way.


mobile


Did you try putting a landline phone number in? Many times they'll check their database and see that it is a landline and use an automated call system instead of a text. Just don't be on a VOIP connection because that's what spammers use.


My landline provider is using VoIP and has been for a decade.

The good news is that it protects me from having a yahoo, google, facebook or any other accounts with stupid requirements to feed surveillance capitalism.


I have a Flickr account without a phone number, but I've had it for a long time. It's the same with GMail, though, so it's hardly a Yahoo thing.


It doesn't matter if you're not the only one. Somebody did the math and determined that people without mobile numbers weren't worth the support cost. It sucks to be the wrong side of that math but it happens to a lot of people for a lot of different things.

Developers tend to try and include everyone but that is often a mistake -- the benefit rarely outweighs the cost.


> Somebody did the math and determined that people without mobile numbers weren't worth the support cost.

While I'd normally agree I'm not sure that Yahoos decision making process should be the role model regarding optimizing user growth. Their lack of users was not a minor issue.


Based on this article and the general decline of Flickr's userbase I think it's clear that the math was wrong.


I highly doubt requiring mobile numbers was the flaw here.


Requiring mobile numbers is still a flaw.

Calculation is "make mobile phone number optional and have most of the users refuse to give it away because they know better and miss profit opportunity or make it mandatory and risk having a few fringe users use worthless numbers", so optimal profit per user is the chosen way when the company is driven by maximizing their own profit (actually shareholders) and do not care about people, communities and such.


This link doesn't seem to work from Australia and New Zealand, it redirects to https://www.gizmodo.com.au/?r=US which is just the main page.

For anyone else who can't read it, here's a Google cache version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:oMEtULA...

I'm not sure whether it's intentionally region blocked or if the site is just stupid.


Gizmodo is stupid, and automatic redirect due to localization is even more stupid.


How is flickr dead?

* I still have my 1TB.

* I can still upload straight from Lightroom

* I can still share private photos with friends via URL, or make them public, or hotlink

Seems fine to me.


Myspace isn't dead either. I mean I can log in and there are people on there I'm sure.


No it's just much like Detroit, only without criminality.


it's dead because users have left and eyeballs look the other way.

To me flickr died when it made it a pain to download pictures that were displayed right in front of me in my browser, breaking a basic web feature. Never came back.


Don't forget Yahoo Pipes. Another great idea killed by Yahoo.


I think yahoo lost for a simple reason: it was really hard to make an account. You had to fill out tons of forms.

Instead, they should have started with a very lightweight signup process and progressively deepened it as you were pulled back by activities you subscribed to.

Their second problem was not embracing mobile early enough or well enough.

YUI and Pipes was great though!


> Their second problem was not embracing mobile early enough or well enough.

Maybe not well enough, but they were certainly early enough; see this press release from 2001 [1], where they were making mobile search available (in 2001, Y! was using Google for search, so don't freak out about that part)

As with many things Yahoo, they were there early, put in time and money, saw results that weren't great, so they backed off, and may have come back too late. PS, you can read old Yahoo! news releases to get good ideas for what to do today :)

[1] https://investor.yahoo.net/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=17431...


I should have said smartphone apps


> Their second problem was not embracing mobile early enough or well enough.

Not sure if it's ever been fixed but everytime I would go on the App I couldn't find half of the features, like I can join groups, but how do I make one? I could see that I could have family to share pictures with, but how do I add them.

Also as many have said, requiring a Yahoo account is a drawback as well.


Yahoo did not lost, they never even intended to enter the ring if they were aware there was a ring to enter.

It's not only yahoo, all the big contenders do this: they buy a smaller but growing or holding interesting/competing asset to kill it, or poach employees or tech. Microsoft and google are notoriously been doing this, this is standard procedure to maintain dominant position and try to mitigate the lack of internal innovation and creativity that comes with being dominant.


Recently heard a talk by Thomas Friedman about how the year 2007 was a really interesting "inflection" year wrt all kinds of technology.

The cost of making solar panels began to decline sharply in 2007. Airbnb was conceived in 2007 and change.org started in 2007. GitHub, now the world’s largest open-source software sharing library, was opened in 2007. And in 2007 Intel for the first time introduced non-Silicon materials into its microchip transistors, thus extending the duration of Moore’s Law — the expectation that the power of microchips would double roughly every two years. As a result, the exponential growth in computing power continues to this day.

His talk was basically a rehash of everything he talks about here: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/sunday/dancing-in...

Yahoo was an awesome company in 2007. Back when developer conferences were more or less free (for attendees), it hosted the first conference I attended as a newly transplanted person to SF... the "Open Source CMS Summit"... I think I still have some of the stickers it handed out to promote some of its then-recent acquisitions the original article discusses. Yahoo! was kind of one of the first companies to really actively engage and enable external developers (those not employed by Yahoo) as collaborative partners who probably could have helped Yahoo keep its then competitive advantage. Mozilla did this a bit earlier, yes... but not as a publicly-traded company. So part of its demise was due to impatient investors, for sure; however, I think the article makes a good argument for the implications of ignorance when it comes to fostering community.

It's now ten years after this inflection point that Friedman talks about; and according to him, it's just getting started.


Yahoo was an awesome company in 2007

I know nothing about the company, but in ~2003 I remember associating yahoo with elderly people who didn't know how to use their computer. Granted, this could have been a side effect of doing tech support for a dial up ISP.


I agree that 2007 was a big year - that's also when the iPhone first came out. But I don't think "we're just getting started" - I think the opposite, that we've been coasting on the momentum that the innovations of 2007 provided, and we're gradually running out of new ways to use them.


> Yahoo was an awesome company in 2007

Was it ? In my own reality in 2000 yahoo was already irrelevant and had never managed to be awesome in any way. It was just another web portal that no one really cared about, sort of a less obnoxious AOL.


I've had a Flickr pro account since 2006. I'm not that into photography, I use it as a means to share pictures with extended family around the world. For that purpose it does pretty much everything I need it to, I don't use any of the 'social' aspects of it. What I do hate is having it tied to a yahoo account which I don't use (other than signing in to flickr) and would rather close, and that downloading a dump of all of my photos for my own backup is not a simple task. If I could find something that would cost me the same amount (30$USD ish per year) that offered the same level of privacy control I would probably switch.


I believe Smugmug's basic plan may be what you're looking for. They've been around for 15 years (and I believe some of the founder's articles have been on HN), so should be in it for the long haul.


I like what they are doing at that site and some of the options they have available but the ability to use access controls only kicks in at the power user level which is $70 per year and that's a key thing for me.


Well, I agree with lots of the points in the article, but I am one of the user who never used Flickr for their social capabilities, all their groups which could allow you to get discovered by pro photographs, or as a gallery, but mainly for their unlimited storage and their (a bit horrible tbh) api.

I am one of these old school guy who still want to believe in the power of the personal website, and so my main tool to convince people to pay me to photograph them for their wedding is still my photography website.

With Flickr and a plug-in like Justified Image Gallery for WordPress, I can use Flickr basically as the storage backend for all my pictures (and I still do). As I have dozens of thousands of pictures, it's useful.

As such, I don't care that much to have thousands of followers to tell me my photos look beautiful, I know they are. And I don't think personally that to have thousands of subscribers will bring me much more paying opportunities. To be contacted by big firms to do corporate photography requires to put the time and energy to build a much bigger following in the likes of the dozens and dozens of thousands of followers, something I'm just not interested in, I still have a day job after all...

But still, what I would have liked with Flickr would have rather be to go much higher end in the pro market. For example, I would have loved to be able to have the equivalent of my lightroom catalog online. I would have loved to be able to upload my raw photographs rather than only jpegs. That would have been a differentiating factor worth a lot to me. I don't care about having a Facebook bis or an instagram bis.

And I would have loved to be able to rsync or ftp my pictures, gosh, batch upload or processing is still a pain in the a.


Note: this article is from 2012


It seems to me that the Yahoo! brand was perceived as destroyed, and simply milked for as much short-term profit as was possible. Security was completely sacrificed, and there was never any vision for building brand loyalty despite having highly-loyal properties (e.g. tumblr/flickr/fantasysports/finance). Long-term value is not built with short-term thinking.


Yeah, the Yahoo home page reminds me of the old advertisement laden Altavista site.

It takes 9 seconds to finished load and always sends my computer fan on.


And the question remains, what becomes of Flickr in a post Verizon world?[1]

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/25/yahoo-mov...


(2012)


For those wondering why a five year old article is on HN today, you can thank Taylor Swift:

https://twitter.com/SwiftOnSecurity/status/85669833453010944...


On a related note, the iOS app has basically stopped working. Whatever APIs are driving it behind the scenes seem to be up maybe one out of four days. The rest of the time you just get a spinning icon.

Time to move my photos off, I suppose.


i rely on flickr as my mobile photos backup should i be worried, and look for alternatives

i know it is not very social a la instagram and all .. but it is really good to backup and store my photos and share them with family

i hope they dont close it


Dropbox also has a pretty good mobile photos backup feature if you're a Dropbox user.

My problem hasn't been where to backup photos but how the heck to manage (and make use of) tens of thousands of photos. I mean, 50 years from now when each of us has several hundred thousand photos, what exactly are we going to do with them all? And our children and grandchildren? Those are going to be pretty big (and ever-increasing) photo albums. We need better ways of managing and making use of them. Apple has made good progress here with Moments and facial recognition and grouping by location, but all of that is siloed in Apple's infrastructure.


Why would your grandchildren want to view several thousands of your photos? Just find the best ones, and backup to multiple locations. Print the best of the best and make a physical album. Scribble some notes under the photos with an actual pen. Your grandchildren will love it. By doing that you are giving importance and meaning to the images, which otherwise would be absent in an ocean of dropbox archives.


Hwo would your grandchildren be able to view outdated digital file format that no one knows how to use anymore ?

They'll probably be busy trying to find clean air, clean water, food and shelter scrambling to face the consequences of overpopulation in a climate changing world out of cheap oil more than looking at photos they don't care. You don't even look at your own photos from a few years ago.


> Just find the best ones,

The best for which purpose? Your descendants will probably not be looking at your pictures with the same ends in mind as you (if they are looking at all).


well lets be realistic

tagging is key now facebook has shown us it can automate tagging people at least with face recognition maybe it will be able to auto tag locations ... maybe it already does

so the solution will be a combination of

1- discipline, spend the time tagging your own photos (technology can help here by making this task more user friendly and easier)

2- be reasonable, dont take or save 10s of thousands of photos .. learn and accept to delete (again technology can help here by suggesting what to delete , offer you almost identical photos and suggest to delete some)

3- automated tagging

4- skimming, loading and browsing should be super fast to allow photo skimming

i dont see solution outside of those 4 elements two rely on you .. manual tagging and deleting (and they can be technology assisted) two rely on technology .. auto tagging and skimming


Dropbox was barely recommendable and has become a hard no-no when they got Condoleeza Rice on their board of directors.

http://www.drop-dropbox.com/


google has had the same functionality for years now in their google photos service.

they randomly create compilations of your photos (if its enabled) and send you google plus updates like "do you remember that visit to [location] on [date]? we made an album for you!"


If you have to ask, the answer is yes.

In the end, YOU are responsible for your own backups.


The day I was forced to sign up for a yahoo account was the day they lost me...after finally finding a crappy yahoo user id which was sooo much less cool than my three letter initials flickr id I got when it was in beta, I failed the recatpcha 4 times, cursed them a dozen times, and said goodbye forever.


Oh man, they put ads in between my photos. You would see some three photos then an ad. That's when I removed all of my content, my account, everything (try doing that on fb).


I'm curious what was the story of Dabble DB, and why they killed it.


(2012)


From the bloody knife pic to the snark...this article lost me at paragraph 1


it was a very good article, but yes, the bloody knife pic was offputting


Now, can someone please tell me who is fucking up Photobucket? It has been impossible for me to login to my account for a couple of months, even though I know the credentials are correct. I've been using imagen.one instead, but that's not what I would prefer.




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