Flickr announced some changes to terms and conditions today.
1) All users must now use a Yahoo account to login to Flickr.
2) A limit in the amount of tags has been added – 75 per photo
3) The maximum amount of contacts a user can have is 3000
When I saw the hysterical headlines about Flickr today I thought some hard hitting changes had been implemented. It even made the BBC tech news pages. However dig a little deeper and it’s some changes blown well out of proportion.
1) Yahoo integration with Flickr started a long time ago. I eventually merged my Flickr and Yahoo accounts last year with no problem. The Flickr page stills looks the same and I don’t need to do the ‘Yahoo dance’ when logging in. Is Yahoo a big horrible company – aren’t they all? If I had an issue with privacy at all I’d probably not be using many accounts on the net or indeed sharing my photo’s. I can understand there maybe some kudos with having an old Flickr ID instead of a Yahoo account but does that really matter? Did my photo’s or contacts disappear when I moved – no. In fact my user experience didn’t change at all – it’s something I don’t even think about now.
2) 75 tags is a limit? Who the hell wants 75 tags on one photo. Why? Who’s got the time to put 75 tags on a photo? How does that help to identify and manage photo’s. Some people have too much time on their hands.
3) 3000 contacts also seems a massive amount of contacts to have. Does anyone know 3000 people and want to share private photo’s with them? OK there is one guy on the Flickr forums that has 19000 contacts who he loves and respects. I’m sure they also love the private porn pictures he regularly posts. Not really the target audience for Flickr. I can’t see anyone realistically browsing 3000 users photo’s regularly. Is that not what Flickr groups are for?
Probably most annoying is the vocal minority that this affects and the influence of sites like Digg (I do love Digg but you’ve got to question some of it’s user base and their reporting). Firstly Flickr has around six million users. Don’t know how many are active but the Flickr group Flick Off which is against the forced usage of Yahoo accounts has 1447 members. Not much in the grand scheme of things. The mail that old school folk received today said 95% used a Yahoo account. Yet people in the main forum post that has all the complaints are making comments like 1 million pro folk may leave because they don’t want a Yahoo account. How bizarre. Seeing the Flickr staff respond frequently in these posts impresses me and reassures me all is well.
The Digg post with the most comments was submitted by Thomas Hawk. He didn’t point to the Flickr news page on these changes but to his own blog post. I guess there’s nothing wrong with self publicity or having an opinion as he has posted a lot of content on Flickr…but he is CEO for Zooomr, one of Flickr’s competitors. I’ve posted about Zooomr before and even have a pro account which I got via a give-away last year. The site however is so slow as to be unusable. It’s allegedly down to increased traffic today but I tried it last week to see if there were any improvements and I was disappointedly with it’s speed then. No fear – there’s an upgrade on the way sometime in March. Yeah, right.
I’ll be sticking with Flickr which offers a great service and since the Yahoo merger offers unlimited uploads. It’s also fast and they’ve now added an API which allows export of photo’s and tags if you so wish. Maybe long term there will be other changes which degrade the service as the doom bringers are predicting but something I’ve always felt hasn’t changed for me. Flickr isn’t Yahoo. Thankfully it isn’t Zooomr either.