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Flickr Offers a Bad Choice

I've written about flickr before. I was an early user of Flickr and have continued to use it because it has suited my needs extremely well. My primary use of it has been to share the small number of photographs I take each month in a medium that easily allows me to: apply a Creative Commons license, add metadata, and share via Twitter. Flickr also gives access to the full-size original image file, and, finally, allows access to resized versions that I can use to illustrate blog posts. This was an incredibly convenient feature, early on, when I realized I could manage all my imagery efficiently on one site and use the imagery for blog posts on all my other sites.

But now Flickr offers only a bad choice: purchase a Pro account or else.

I was previously a Flickr Pro user: I was happy to support Flickr because it met my needs at a time when few others did. But this time, I'm not inclined to sign up. I'm only using 1.2% of the 1TB storage. It's hard to justify paying full price for something I barely use. They're pricing themselves out of having me for a customer and their "free" account simply has no value for me since it doesn't match my use case at all.

Previously the limitation was how much data you could upload per month. This time, however, they propose to delete all but your most recent 1000 photos. Having used Flickr for 15 years, I have 4700 photos. I don't like being told that my history is going to be erased if I don't pony up the money. It will be impossible to go back and fix all the posts where I shared a photo using Flickr. But I figure the most important thing at this point is to build on a solid foundation going forward.

But in addition to using Flickr myself, I've also used Flickr in my teaching to help students find good creative-commons licensed imagery. If they throw away most of the historical imagery on Flickr (because I assume no-one will pay for it), Flickr AS A SITE will have *way* less value and I'll have to find another source for imagery for my students too.

I think their plan is exactly backwards: it reduces the value of their site and punishes the people who've used the site for the longest time rather than rewarding them for loyalty. It's not my place to tell them how to run their business, but I guess I'll have to vote with my money.