No. Its a pox. Flickr is dead.
As of January 2019, Flickr is pulling their offer of a free Terabyte of online image storage for all users and restricting the photo limit for free users to 1,000 photos. They’ll also be culling a decades worth of photos from it's entire user base. In doing so, they're not only burying their main USP, but they're also removing one of Flickr’s best features - an enormous catalogue of images from everyday people, from literally everywhere on earth. You can find photos of almost anything there. Oxegen 2007, it’s there. 9/11 from Ground Zero? Yep. Jake the Snake Roberts terrifying the ugliest group of children you’ve ever seen? Oh, you better believe it. So why is Flickr making a move that will deprive us of terrified-aethetically-impaired juveniles?
Why did Flickr remove its unlimited storage feature?
SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill recently stated that the offer of a free Terabyte of space was cost ineffective and attracted the wrong crowd since it's inception in 2013. Both of these are fair points. Hosting literally billions of photos can't be cheap. Doubly so when Flickr’s approach to advertising looked like it was headed up by Joan Baez. Flickr’s content and user moderation has been shoddy at best in recent years, and as a result it has becoming home to some of the biggest deviants on the internet. “You’ve been invited to the Damp Vixens Group. Yeah, I’m grand there, thanks.
This is clearly not a platform on the same level as Instagram or 500px. So why would anyone hang around when Flickr drops the hammer on it’s free users? What does Flickr’s new €60 annual price point get you - and is it worth it given the wealth of competitors in the market? Let's find out.
This is the big boy. Flickr is offering unlimited storage for its Pro users, which is great. It’s not the cheapest company offering this though – despite its recent marketing graphic’s claims:
The graphic comes with some heavy caveats. Depending on how big you need your images saved, you can still find unlimited free storage space out there. (Also, how do you divide by Unlimited?)
Google Photos is a probably the most obvious place to start. It's entirely free, but with some compression involved – a typical 6,000 longest size file gets compressed to 4,900. Not bad for most people. If you can live with the 16 megapixel limit for your shots, you're onto a winner with the G Team. (Just make sure you upload at “Maximum Quality“ so as not to eat into your 15GB other Google allowance.
Amazon Prime users get free unlimited storage also – but with the benefit here of not being restricted by resolution. So if you’re availing of other Amazon Prime benefits such as next day delivery, Amazon Music or Free eBooks, it’s a no brainer at €80 for the year. If you don’t use Prime, Amazon Glacier is another Bezos option. It’s ‘Cold Storage’, so it’s best for files that you want to hold onto, but that you don’t need access to readily. It’s 1 cent per GB per Year.
So sure, Flickr offers unlimited storage, but unless you have many terabytes of stuff to store, there are better options out there for the typical heavy-end user. Already, it’s looking like the numbers don’t add up. How about the free user experience?
For free users, the new limit of 1,000 photos isn’t in line with competitors. 500px offers space for 2,000 photos – though they impose a maximum of 7 photo uploads per week. But overall the “Community“ that Flickr has been singing about has long since departed. Comments on Flickr come in the form of sparkly gifs or invites to pages filled with more creeps that a World of Warcraft themes Stripclub.
Unlimited Storage Verdict: Flickr is a Dud. There’s better bang for your buck out there - get onto Google for your personal photo back up – or if you’re a Prime Member, check out Amazon’s Photos. Free users can show off their files in bigger numbers and make some cash on the side with 500px too.
Premier Customer Service
As someone who had tried to cancel Flickr THREE times previously (while still being charged), I can safely say that Yahoo's Photo support wasn't ideal. Smugmug are in the driving seat now though, so things could be different. But touting this as a benefit to Pro membership feels like a real press-release space filler. It's not enough to sway this Finglas photographer anyway.
Premier Customer Service Verdict: Wait and see.
Increased video durations and 5k video support
Video duration is growing from 3 minutes to 10 minutes. Flickr now offers 4k video support.
(YouTube has supported 8K video since 2015).
Increased video durations and 5k video support Verdict: I’m sure YouTube are bricking it.
This one is interesting. There's some decent discounts on offer with the likes of Adobe and SmugMug. However, already it looks like it's not as great as it's being heralded as. Over on PetaPixel, they've dissected these offers already. The Adobe offer is seemingly for the first year only, and only for the less popular, more expensive deal they offer. The SmugMug discount cant be used by SmugMug owners either. Jesus wept.
Partnership discounts verdict: potentially decnt, but currently a shambles.
Additional information and stats on how your photos are performing
I'm not entirely sure why people need this. I fully understand that people want to see it for vanity or even just general curiosity reasons. But given that unlike say, 500px which has an inbuilt platform that helps you sell your photos, knowing which of your photos is doing well on Flickr is pointless. Flickr views don’t have a direct sales line (and given how easy it is to rip a full-res image from the code), it would seem like a waste of time anyway. Still, we live in the information age, so maybe there's a benefit in knowing what photos pervert s prefer.
Photo Info verdict: It’s one of the best in the Field, but to what end, I’ve no idea.
Flickr has lost me. I was a strong advocate for years, but much like the Water Charges kerfuffle here in Ireland, it was too much at one time. There was too little warning and even less visible impact for your money. It's a big ask from Flickr given the competition.
The horse has bolted on Flickr. the casual fans have embraced Instagram and the artist types have latched onto 500px. Why anyone is hanging with Flickr in 2019 outside of deep pockets and convenience is beyond me. You'll find me on Instagram instead.