What is the future of Flickr

Flickr blog

Today we're announcing updates to our Free and Pro accounts, which are an important step forward for Flickr. An open word: on our way into the future of Flickr, we keep an eye on the past. We believe Flickr has a great future, but we also understand that wrong steps in the past have alienated some members of our community. We also know that Flickr's successful past contains important clues on how to shape the future.

Many things that we are announcing today are without a doubt positive: A new and simplified registration with an e-mail address of your choice, improvements to the Pro account and other additional services for partners. The changes to our free accounts are significant and we would like to explain why they are necessary and we believe they are the right move for Flickr.

From January 8, 2019, free accounts are limited to 1,000 photos and videos. Those who need unlimited storage must upgrade to Flickr Pro.

In 2013, Yahoo had lost sight of what Flickr was at its core and responded to changes in the area of ​​photo sharing on the Internet by giving every Flickr user the enormous storage space of one terabyte for free. This and numerous relevant changes to the Flickr product during this period had significant negative consequences.

First (and crucially), the free terabyte mainly attracted members looking for free space rather than sharing with other photo enthusiasts. This has led to a significant change in the atmosphere on our platform. The interaction in the community and the work on common interests, which made Flickr a home for photographers from all over the world, faded into the background. We know that members who valued our vibrant community found this change a negative. With this change, we're reinvigorating Flickr's commitment to such interactions.

Second, it says a lot about a product and how money can be made with it. Freeing up large amounts of storage space creates data that can be sold to advertisers. The inevitable result is that the interests of these advertisers take priority over those of the users. If we reduce this free storage, it will make Flickr run on a subscription basis. This in turn guarantees that we always focus on improving the environment for our users. SmugMug, the photography company that Flickr recently acquired from Yahoo, has long had a tenet that is consistent with the Flickr team's belief: “Our users are not our product. Our users are our priority. ”We want to deliver features and experiences that our users enjoy, not our advertisers. If our members are subscribers at the same time, this is made possible.

Thirdly, freeing up storage space had the unfavorable effect of signaling to an entire generation of Flickr members that storage space and Flickr itself are not worth paying for. But this simply does not correspond to the facts: On Flickr, exchange, discovery, learning and interaction are possible in the field of photography like nowhere else. And since it is very expensive to store the billions of photos of Flickr members, we need the support of our most active members to continue investing in the stability, growth and innovation of Flickr.

How did the limit of 1,000 photos or videos come about?
We believe paying free members are critical to keeping Flickr alive and well. We are therefore offering a free category to users who cannot or do not want to pay for a pro account. This gives them the opportunity to participate and contribute to the Flickr community.

For most products today, storage space is measured and paid for by megabytes or gigabytes. The photographers we spoke to all knew how many photos they had taken in the past few days, but few knew how much storage space those photos were taking up without having to do a complicated calculation. It's easier and more intuitive to count photos. This is also more related to Flickr's past (prior to 2013, members of the Free category were limited to 200 photos). We like the idea of ​​going back to the roots on the one hand, but also offering five times the storage space as before.

We also believe that photographers should be able to upload full, uncompressed original images to Flickr without worrying about available storage space or a future where images will require more data.

Finally, we took a look at our members and found a clear separation between accounts in the Free and Pro categories. The vast majority of pros store more than 1,000 photos on Flickr; the vast majority of members in the Free category do not exceed this number. We are convinced that this dividing line has been drawn both fairly and generously.

We know that change is not always welcomed. But we feel obliged to ensure that Flickr remains committed to our photographers. We believe this is the right way to build a sustainable future for Flickr and our community so we can continue to develop features and products that will shape the world of photography for years to come.