Starting this January 2019, Flickr will only allow 1000 photos on their free tier. If you want for than this, pay or leave. More or less. I’m a paying member since 2012. I’ll continue to pay for the foreseeable future. Why? Because this is the only photography platform I believe in. Now that they we’re purchased by SmugMug, things will star to move again for Flickr (I hope).
What will happen to those accounts (there must be a whole bunch of them) that have more than 1000 photos but don’t pay? They will be deleted after a grace period. Boom. This could be catastrophic from a digital memory perspective. A recent article from Thomas Hawks “WHY LIMITING FREE USERS TO 1,000 PHOTOS ON FLICKR IS A SMART MOVE“, a passage got my attention:
Besides the obvious business model reasons why this is a smart decision for Flickr and their users, there are other important reasons this makes Flickr better as well. One of the things I noticed after Flickr began offering 1 terabyte for free to users was that many users simply began using Flickr as a backup site for all of their photos. Instead of sharing their best photos with a community, they simply dumped everything on their hard drive to Flickr and left and went away. These photos were then indexed for search and populated the service littering it with low quality content (screengrabs, 1,000 bad photos in a row of fireworks, 3,000 poorly composed photos in a row of somebody’s sister’s wedding, etc.). By focusing Flickr’s vision on photo sharing and community rather than simply another online photo backup dump this makes the visual experience better for those of us who are actually there to share photos and engage with each other.
The problem is that Flickr is responsible for people who uploaded their entire library on their service for backup purposes. Flickr made a utility that specifically propose the users to upload their pictures on their platform. I’m myself using the Flickr upload utility on my iMac since a while. And this little software always try to upload all my photos from external devices I plug to my Mac. I always have to answer “not now” otherwise the upload process begins. Even their mobile app is offering the same feature like shown here.
I’m happy to see this feature going away if this can make Flickr a more sustainable business.