Flickr is one of the classic stories of a business that didn’t recognise its market until it was too late. It was arguably the most popular place for people to post photos and share them online but completely missed the social media bandwagon and found itself usurped by Instagram and Facebook as the preferred way for people to share images. Now Flickr, which was acquired by Yahoo! in 2005, is being sold to SmugMug – a site popular with professional photographers and “visual storytellers”.
SmugMug has told Flickr members that nothing will change immediately and that user accounts and data will shift to SmugMug. If you’re a Flickr user and don’t want your images and account to move, you’ve got until 25 May 2018 to go to your Flickr account, download the photos and videos you want to keep and then delete your account from Account Settings.
Shared images will retain their Flickr URL for now so any images embedded on websites or shared to friends, clients or anyone else will remain accessible according to a blog post from Flickr. The same post says the two services will continue to run separately with no plans for them to merge. So, if you’re a member of both SmugMug and Flickr, you’ll have two user accounts.
The acquisition makes sense for both parties in my view. Yahoo! has been a basket case for a while now, following some massive data breaches and being totally swamped by Google when it comes to search and by almost everyone else for online email. They have no real online productivity tools and offer no cloud services.
They are on their way to being another Alta Vista or Netscape.
SmugMug “gets” photographers in a way that Yahoo! never really did. It makes sense for them to boost their numbers and, eventually, provide a path for their user base to migrate to a single platform.
Are you a Flickr or SmugMug user? What do you think about this move?