I’ve had a 14+ year loving relationship with flickr since joining in maybe March 2004. I’ve seen all of the prognostications of its death after its sale to Yahoo and absorption into Yahoo and more recently the sale to SmugMug.

I have over 61,000 photos sitting there which has benefited me many times over in unexpected ways.

My first sources of information about the new plans to change flickr’s free accounts came not from the company, to whom I have paid pro memberships going way back, but first via a tweet from Jason Scott (who has been on a great barrage of conversations there)

So I did read all of Why We are Changing Flickr Free Accounts:

To be candid, we’re driving toward the future of Flickr with one eye on the rearview mirror; we’re certain that Flickr’s brightest days lay ahead, but we remain acutely aware that past missteps have alienated some members of our community. We also recognize that many of the clues for how best to build the future of Flickr can be found in our own, rich history.

I cannot imagine any way for the new owners of flickr to surmount Yahoo’s inexplicable insane colossally stupid idea to offer unlimited image hosting to all free accounts.

But if flickr wants to not alienate their community, why are they doing it right off the bat? No one who has the photos deleted is going to say nice things about the company. I guess their dice roll is to not worry about the ingrates who were not paying. Or that anyone will be satisfied by the new 1000 photo limit knowing it used to be 200.

Would it not have been a less alientating approach to maybe offer current free account users make a more generous grandfathered limit, like 10k? Or maybe offering a more generous allotment for people willing to put their photos into the public domain? Or maybe making Pro accounts a sliding scale based on use? I get 60,000 photos hosted at the same rate someone else pays for 2000.

Nor are people happy who replied when I retweeted what I heard from @textfiles…


Another colleague shared an email she got from someone who was wondering why they are not making money off of all the images like Google does, because Google lets you upload unlimited photos. But you have to stop and remember where Google’s money comes from; advertisers, and advertisers who are paying for information about those images.

Not too many regular companies can make money the way Google does.

Yet I stray from my point (or maybe have yet to make one).

First of all, who the **** in charge of their communication strategy? Were they not communicating with flickr members earlier? I am a pro member but have not gotten any emails about changes n flickr, my sources are random tweets.

Yet I also have to question people getting all holy bent out of shape because the service they never paid for is shutting down the door to using it as a dumping cloud for photos. I never worry about losing my flickr photos because I’ve had a long running strategy to manage them locally before sending to flickr; I see the cloud as not my storage for media but my exhaust.

My photos are important and have been worth paying the yearly flickr Pro rates. And while not happy at their bump in rates (from $25/year to $44/year) I can still feel I get value for that, though the things they have put on the table as benefits are pretty thin.

So I dont have much at all to defend about flickr’s move. I just want them to stay in existence. And I have been betting on it for a while with my pal Roland

I won a lunch out of the deal this past April (still to be collected) but I might be less confident next time around, even if we differ on photo organizing approaches



I’m not resorting to print yet.

I remain loyal in my flickr love. I post photos there daily. I get regular contacts from people who reuse my open licensed photos. I even recently got money for one. I run two creative sites (5 Card Flickr Stories and pechaflickr) that are fueled by the flickr API, one of the only APIs I have used that has not been unplugged or diminished by their publisher (I’m glancing sideways at Google and Twitter for how they continually change the rules and features of their API).

I totally get why people would pull out if they were facing mass deletion in 2 months. It’s totally alientating to their users and if they had any sense they would toss their free users a bigger incentive to want to stay and pay.

But I am not ready to pull out the burial shovel for flickr but am not really given them any praise for this new direction. Call me Marcus Flickerus.

All I can do is post more photos.

Update: Nov 7, 2018

Now they are telling me by email that things are changing? Gah.

Featured Image: My own mashup of Roman – Portrait of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius – Walters 23215.jpg Wikimedia Commons image shared by the Walters Art Gallery shared into the public domain, with eyes masked out to reveal the colors of the flickr logo with background from pixabay image by antomonta also shared into the public domain using Creative Commons CC0. I’d call it all PD.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. Since I’ve got at least three flickr accounts I have a lot of thinking to do. No way I’m paying for all three. Have you seen anything about how this will impact the Flickr Commons? I don’t see many institutions shifting to paid for this but maybe there’s something that gets them in differently?

    1. Commons stuff will stay the Commons (and free) afaict.

      I, too, was amazed at getting no communication from them about this. I, too, will be staying a member, though I’m not sure I could really say “loyal member” at this point.

  2. Hi Alan,
    The upside is all the old stuff that is CC will stay. Hopefully this means anything I’ve used the API for, where I filter for CC, will not get worse.
    I’ve had a pro account cause I love the API, which is so lovely for the amateur.

    What would be really great would be a flick that is powered like Wikipedia or the Internet Archive with the API.

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