As announced on 20 April, Flickr has agreed to be acquired by SmugMug, the photography platform that has long been a go-to place for photography enthusiasts and photographers. Can SmugMug bring Flickr to new heights?
For the past 14 years, Flickr has been the preferred platform to store, organise and share photos. It had an active community of over 100 million users consisting of photography enthusiasts, visual storytellers and professional photographers.
After a year in existence, Flickr was purchased by Yahoo in 2005, a surprise new owner that didn’t quite know what to do with the little gem. Yahoo was then acquired by Verizon and together with AOL, a new entity called Oath was formed.
While Flickr remained active, its relevance began to slip. This can be attributed to the rise of social media and the evolution of photo-sharing.
Instagram happened. Facebook happened. Snapchat happened.
And so did cloud storage services like Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox.
Over the past couple of years, Google Photos has risen in prominence, simply because it has become ubiquitous across devices – Android, iOS, Mac, and PC. Photo-sharing has become a deeply integrated feature in the operating system.
Even Apple has made photography and social networking as a core part of the user experience. Coupled with iCloud storage, users have easy access to photos, videos and files across multiple devices.
So, can Flickr matter again?
It’s a proposition that new owner SmugMug hopes to address. SmugMug itself is an old dog in photo-sharing, which operates a profitable subscription-based model.
Whatever the case, SmugMug hopes to revitalise Flickr. It will continue to operate Flickr as a separate site, with no merging of user accounts or content.
It will however, migrate Flickr onto SmugMug’s technology infrastructure over time.
While what it plans to do with Flickr is still very much a blur, the company’s vision for the combined services is clear:
“SmugMug and Flickr represent the world’s most influential community of photographers, and there is strength in numbers. We want to provide photographers with both inspiration and the tools they need to tell their stories. We want to bring excitement and energy to inspire more photographers to share their perspective. And we want to be a welcome place for all photographers: hobbyist to archivist to professional.”
In its FAQ, Flickr states that you’ll be able to access your photos as per usual, with no change to the flickr.com URL.
There will be no change to how you log in to Flickr and you can continue to log in with your current credentials.
Are you in or are you out?
You would have recently received an email stating that you have until 25 May 2018 to opt out of SmugMug’s Terms of Service, and subsequently the Flickr account will be governed by them.
If you disagree, you can delete your Flickr account through your Accounts Settings page.
You may want to preserve your photos, and you can do this by downloading them from your Camera Roll.
So, what happens if you have an active Flickr Pro subscription? That’s a good question. The answer: Nothing at all. You’ll continue to enjoy the benefits of a Pro membership.
What’s cool is that Flickr has started offering a 45-day free trial for new Pros who sign up for a yearly subscription. This is also extended to users who may have been Pro users in the past and want to give it another try. Too bad I’ve deleted my Flickr account already (was a Pro for quite a number of years).
Monthly Pro users get up to 1TB of storage, powerful photo editing tools, smart photo management, ad-free browsing and sharing, to name a few key features. The monthly plan costs USD5.99 per month.
Annual Pro users get additional perks including discounts on Adobe Creative Cloud, Priime’s Lightroom presets bundle and more. The annual plan costs USD49.99 per year.
You’ll be chuffed to know that Flickr continues to offer free accounts.
Will the union make Flickr great again? Time will tell.
Are you a Flickr user? What do you think?
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