Flickr’s Future

Yahoo bought Flickr 10 years ago. Flickr became the place for serious photographers to post their photos. Then Yahoo starved Flickr and Flickr appears to be dying a slow death.

Verizon just bought Yahoo and it apppears that Flickr’s future is up in the air. As a Verizon shareholder I can see what Verizon wants out of Flickr: its photo storage technology. The rest can be gutted out and some lame-ass photo sharing site based upon an existing Verizon product can take its place. Verizon sometimes misses the mark in user experience. The part of the FiOS customer portal to get your voicemail requires the Java plugin and is stuck in 2009. Imagine what Flickr would be like if Verizon made the photo upload experience the same as checking your FiOS voicemail?

I used to read “Flickr is dying” memes the same way as “FreeBSD” is dying memes. But that was under the mismanagement of Yahoo. Verizon is more disciplined and responsive to the whims of large shareholders and activist investors. So the future of Flickr, which is a money loser, appears dark.

After much deliberation, I paid up for a year with SmugMug and will move my photos there. Flickr Pro didn’t provide as much value as SmugMug. With SmugMug I can turn my profile into a branded portfolio site. Also it’s easier to share private photo collections with clients reviewing their work in progress. I’m getting a few paid jobs so this came into consideration.

Choosing SmugMug came down to choosing a privately held company who is dedicated to serious amateurs and professional photographers. I lose out on a vibrant community but that can be addressed once I figure out a workflow for posting my work from Lightroom Mobile to Instagram. But I gain a better photo sharing experience and a more professional presentation of my portfolio so it’s a fair trade off.