Flickr upgraded their site and offerings today, and I cannot say I’m impressed. Looks like free users are worth more to Yahoo than the long-term paying ones.
Free Users > “Pro” Users
Yahoo “upgraded” the Flickr site today, and the outpouring of foot-stamping, bile-spitting hate on their support forum thread for feedback on the change is amazing. But I believe some is well-founded and deserved. I’m usually into new software and change, but, that’s limited to change that is actually good, and this doesn’t qualify. My first impressions:
- The free 1TB storage for non-pro users, the loss of the Pro badge, and the seeming increase in price for paying users feel like slaps to the face of this long-term Flickr “Pro” (Paid) user. There’s been no word whatsoever to Pro users, saying “this is the situation”. It’s simply “fend for yourself” in the wash of hate posts in the forum. I realize that 25 USD is a tiny drop in the bucket, but why did you make me feel important and special then, up to now?
- There’s a hint that current Pro users are going to be able to keep their “unlimited uploads” status. But there’s nothing definitive that I can find that says whether that is true or not in a clear manner. Will we need to pay 50 USD / year now?
- This whole thing was foisted upon users with nary a whisper of the changes in the winds. Maybe that was purposeful, though, given the current vitriol.
- The new design looks like “design by committee”, taking parts of Google+, 500px and Pinterest, but is not inspired in any way. I want to be able to control what my front page looks like, not have it look like Pinterest with all my photos gridded out as is the fashion these days, but after 15 min of digging I cannot find any way to do that. And seriously, you couldn’t find a designer to make something truly unique? It had to look just like G+, Pinterest, About.me or the like?
- For users who have uploaded photos with frames that looked good on the standard Flickr white background, well, you’re SOL, because the background’s now black.
- The load performance is poor, and the massive grid of photos does not load very well.
Yahoo expect ad revenue to exceed the sum of what Pro users are paying, so, they're content to force the issue
Anyway, despite the breathless gushing praise for the 1 TB for free users, in the end I think it’s a clear example of more Yahoo clumsiness. Well, if we’re to continue on with Flickr, we have to accept that it is what it is, but what I think is going on is this: Yahoo is offering a very attractive free-but-ad-based deal at the expense of all their “dead wood” Pro users and their soddin’ feelings. Yahoo expect their ad revenue to exceed the sum total of what the current 25 USD / year Pro users are paying, so, they’re content to force the issue to bulk up that particular revenue stream. It feels like a good opportunity for everyone else - Google+, DPHOTO, Zenfolio, Smugmug and so on.
Isn’t it nice to be part of the grand Yahoo strategy? I’m feeling a bit of motion sickness from this particular ride.
- 23 May 2013 - there was talk of a 300MB upload limit per month, but this has apparently been lifted and was a bug. So it won’t take you 1000s of years to use up that Terabyte. Performance is still poor, and CSS was broken yesterday. I did get an email that talked about existing recurring Pro users getting the same pricing going forward for unlimited space, essentially being “grandfathered in”, and it appears I need to decide whether to accept that, or, go with the free, ads-supported 1-TB model by Aug this year.