They had lots of options, including removing original quality images and just keeping resized images, archiving the photos off-platform and charging users to restore them from the archive, or deleting the photos that had the least views.
Not sure which, if any of those, might be a better option, but the one they went with has lots of downsides too.
I have over 22,000 photos in my account — all of them privately shared with my family.
I'm a Pro user, however I only became a Pro thinking that if I stop paying, then the photos I uploaded will be safe from deletion. And I renewed my subscription right after SmugMug announced the acquisition, along with saying that they "don't have any plans to change free accounts". I guess that wasn't a reasonable expectation.
Unfortunately I might have to move off Flickr because it's not a safe storage for my photos. I guess that's the point of their upgrade, heh? They don't want archives, they want communities.
Except that for actually sharing photos with people, Facebook, Instagram, Google Photos are wildly more popular. Which makes Flickr just a forum with a slow interface.
I do understand the business reasons. If it keeps the lights on, then I guess it's better than the alternative.
But I'm also afraid that this will kill Flickr for good.
Personally I moved to Google Photos for all my photos backup and sharing. I have a personal server that has a backup of all my raw and high quality photos to keep.
I would help with archiving stuff, but I don't have the resources unfortunately. All I can do is not delete my downloads folder, so incase the a site goes down, I still have a copy of the stuff I downloaded earlier, which is better than nothing, I hope.
The unlimited photos option made people use it like a backup/archival service. People would upload all their images without naming, tagging or organising them and the average quality of shot reduced. I'd like it to move back towards a quality over quantity mentality.
Hopefully the animated gif group invitation comments will be disabled at some point too.
Their mobile app has a sync process and touts it as a way to backup your photos. Synced photos are automatically marked as private and has NO impact on your desire of quality over quantity.
Flickr has offered free 1TB for a long time. Archival of mobile photos is the intended feature and you are shaming users for using it?
If they want to wall off average Joe from the pros, fine. It's their right. But they should not delete old photos. Storage is cheap. There's going to be lots of unhappy people when they log in a few years from now to find photos of some deceased family and realize SmugMug deleted them.
When SmugMug acquired Flickr my only comment on the article was in regards to the free 1TB (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16888876) as I was afraid it works be on the chopping block. But I never imagined they would be as 'smug' as to delete old photos.
I will likely download the photos and stick them in Amazon Glacier or something.
As far as the rest of the users who are not tech savvy, best of luck to them.
It’s cheaper than it used to be, but it’s not so cheap that you can give away a free terabyte of it to millions of users. The announcement explicitly calls out that storage is a huge cost for them.
This is just a shakedown against the little people using photos that they uploaded in compliance with ToS as blackmail. It's not just the damage it will do to the Internet that is the problem, it is the ethical question. Do you still trust Flickr as a custodian? What happens if you let your Pro account lapse?
Imagine if GMail announced that they were restricting accounts to 1000 emails and deleting the rest. Would anyone trust them after that?
I'm well under the new limit but will be migrating to another service, and will be paying for it.
It should be a photo community, sharing and discussion platform first and foremost.
You can't ignore the fact that Flickr's traffic, especially in the age of Instagram, has taken a massive dip. I'd love to point people towards my rather humble Flickr profile instead of my Instagram one, but most people under twenty five or thirty probably don't even know what Flickr is.
I'm honestly not sure how big a market there is for a prosumer community-oriented photography site. The fact that another one hasn't really popped up is suggestive. But the ship has also sailed on competing with Facebook and Instagram on their own terms. So refocusing on their original audience probably makes sense.
1.) Pros/semi-pros looking to sell images
2.) Prosumers seeking to display their work and interact with a community
3.) Average people wanting to share snapshots with family, friends, and others
4.) People looking for free/cheap backup
ADDED: 5.) A free service that will maintain a massive commons of photos regardless of license "forever."
Flickr started out mostly about #2 but mutated into some of the other areas when the price barrier was removed.
I have a Flickr Pro account and upload my photos set to private. If I find a good shot I set that to public or friends/family depending on the audience. I'm very aware that few people bother doing this, because -- I think -- the way most people take photos has changed. Most people now take way more photos than they used to thanks to mobile cameras, and curating all of it isn't viable. Most of my Flickr photos are private as a result -- because I've not had a chance to go through many of them.
Both Google Photos and iCloud Photos get this, and they try to solve it in slightly different ways -- but fundamentally both use an approach of "just take the photos and let us back it up and worry about surfacing the interesting photos".
I'm not sure Flickr today has the resources to do this. I still enjoy Flickr and its community and even have several hundred public photos of varying quality, but I mainly use it as a private/shared photo album. I like paying for a web-friendly service (which iCloud Photos isn't) that doesn't mess with my photos.
Frankly, seems fair to me. The company certainly benefited (marketing wise) by offering these larger accounts, so they definitively have some responsibility. But I also don't think that should condemn them to indefinite hosting of all photos and videos ever uploaded, should it?
The blog post in which they announced the new policy was similarly two-faced. (Yes, Facebook and Instagram beat Flickr. No, this obviously wasn't because Flickr was too inexpensive.) And as a photographer, there's just no way I will ever trust a company that so blithely deletes huge swathes of photos. No photography company would do that.
My expectations aren't unreasonable. I only have 2 or 3 gigabytes of photos there. Up to two days ago, they were advertising a terabyte of free storage.
Is this greed? Data storage, backups, etc, all cost money. They don't have to allow free accounts at all. That's not greed, it's good business. Do you give away space in your refrigerator to everyone around the world?
I won't throw your food away that I once promised to keep!
If I sell the fridge to a new owner, of course they can do whatever they want. Throwing away old food that was promised to be kept is the corporate greed part.
This fridge has been sold, and the new owners are doing whatever they want.
(Flickr has been sold from Yahoo to Smugmug.)
I remember when imageshack pulled off the same thing. Instantly half of the images in forums and such were gone forever. Sometimes I still stumble upon old turials with dead pictures. :(
Maybe you can make a case for "small business" greed, but "corporate" just seems like the wrong buzzword.
I did not believe the 1 Terabyte promise to begin with. I dumped my 300 thousand pics into Google Photos instead. Google seems to have more processing power too, as everyday I get suggestions for Google-generated panoramas and videos and other shit.
The "High quality" is free and I am totally happy with it. Never even seen a 16 megapixel camera and most of my videos are of VHS-quality.
It's maybe even culturally important to try and maintain it.
But then some is just a bit crap, a bit like there used to be a bit of a crap building and then a new one got built that was better and did better things for more people more cheaply and environmentally friendly than before. Why save the old building? Just 'because'? Hmm, not sure about that.
So is it really worth saving everything? Is it actually irresponsible to save everything, given the power costs (something has to physically hold the data and be powered)?
I'm not really sure but it seems certain it's not an obvious black and white, good/bad, one way or the other type matter.
I was once a Pro user, but after they announced 1TB for free users, I let my Pro status lapse. I'm not a pro photographer and care mostly about backing up my photos, making them convenient for me to access, and sharing them privately with friends and family. The 1TB limit gave me plenty of room for that.
At $50 a year, if you take a lot of photos, Pro seems like a no-brainer. Even the cheaper cloud storage options, like Backblaze, would charge me ~$50 a year to store my 200GB (and growing) photo library. (I'm intentionally discounting options like Glacier that don't allow me to browse full resolution photos at any time.) You also get a mobile app that makes browsing and sharing your photos easy, and tools like "Guest Pass" for making private photo links that don't require Flickr logins.
All that said, there's a large part of me that wants to get off the Flickr treadmill (every two or three years they get bought and/or change prices and limitations) and just self-host. It seems like it'd be relatively easy to make a static site generator that could be pointed at a huge pile of original photos and metadata to produce a nice-looking responsive website of galleries, but I've never seen one that didn't look like a toy. Does anyone use something like this?
- https://github.com/thumbsup/thumbsup (believe this one is actually a static site generator)
Good luck finding one though, I hope I'll be able to help you soon.
Some sort of browser support for an image format that allows for one, small, clickable, link in a fixed position could make it viable. I suppose, though, it would just get hijacked by spammers and become useless.
Just wonder on two fronts, will they continue to sell ads? And will it continue to remain a Yahoo property (given they would not need a Yahoo id to login).
No, and it isn't now. Flickr was recently acquired by SmugMug - a paid-for gallery hosting site . It's SmugMug that is driving this change, not Oath / Yahoo.
That brand has faced such a horrible downfall - it was a shining example of the power of Web.
(Hopefully this will prevent the downvotes)
- I’d better upgrade my Flickr membership to keep my pictures
- I already deleted my account because Flickr doesn’t materially benefit my photography (e.g. in getting work)
- So it is worth being a Pro member after all
- I haven’t used my Flickr account for ages because Yahoo locked it
Compared with the discussion here, no-one got heated about the link rot issue.
- 4500 photos
- 2.1 % of the 1 Tb storage used.
So basically, I have to remove 3500 photos while I don't consume that much size. Or go the paid way...
So I fork out $50/yr and Flickr will stop flogging my data to advertisers or, will grow a very specific group of users, whos data is more valuable to advertisers than the general free membership .... and Flickr will then flog that to advertisers at a premium?
I would have preferred to see improvements to Flickr before a push to subscriptions. My guess is that for the money I can find much better established services, tho in fairness I have not looked, so may be wrong on that. I guess I am about to find out.
Perhaps. Personally I'm not sure they do need to particularly do that though. Smugmug is a place to backup and showcase your photos as an individual. It's a portfolio service. There's not much community there really.
Flickr was a community for high quality photography. They talk at great length in the post about how it lost it's way and want to get back to the community and quality aspect.
If anything I'd say they're talking about the right stuff - how they're going to make Flickr great again.
Flickr is a giant database of photos that will now disappear from the web. In terms of the actual community, the groups themselves have always been full of spam and the discussions pretty dumb to be honest, what has always been great being the photos themselves.
Flickr to me was best when there were pretty tight upload limits, so the early days were by no means 'unlimited'. And I think there were limits even then to how many photos you could see as a free account. That goes back a long way now but I was around back then and the groups were pretty vibrant and people actually discussed things.
If anything, the groups went to shit as more and more uninvested people piled in dumping more and more photos just to chase likes - mostly thanks to limits being relaxed.
I think it got even worse with the redesign and the 1TB limit. Especially as the new Pro accounts were limited too! That was nuts. At least that's what I remember and why I left. Seems now unlimited is actually unlimited again.
Thankfully Instagram can now fulfil that need and hopefully putting up a barrier to entry will cut out the hoards who aren't interested in the community.
Also the yearly subscription for removing the limits was dirt cheap, I remember it being something like $20 per year.
1. I understand the two month heads up was likely made by business concerns, but if I was to sunset this I'd give a year's warning.
2. Don't apply this rule to accounts that have been dormant for a long time. I can imagine photo collections on some old Blogspot account by some departed blogger from the mid-'00s. If inactive accounts with >1000 photos don't comprise a significant cost, why not keep those accounts? The owners of those photos might not be in a state to upgrade to Pro anyway.