Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Flickr changes - Much Ado About Nothing?

While I would prefer that Flickr not set limits on the number of contacts a user can have, or the maximum number of tags that can be placed on a photo, after reading the arguments for and against in the Flickr forums I find myself coming to a few conclusions:

1. Yeah, merging the Flickr and Yahoo logins sounds wishy-washy. But after doing it, logging out and logging back in, I fail to see what difference it makes. Sure I go to a Yahoo login page, but I enter my username and password and I'm in. As simple as before. No URL changes to my photo stream. Why is this such a pain for some people? When I switched to the new Blogger I had to change my login to my gmail login info. No complaint here. No fuss anywhere else it seems either.

2. The 3000 contact per user limit is so well and truly above what I'll ever need that it simply doesn't register as a problem to me. How anyone could effectively follow the work of 3000 other photographers sounds ridiculous to start with. But there just has to be a better, more efficient way to do this if that is your goal.

3. Applying 75 tags to a photo seems outlandish to me. Sometimes simplicity is a benefit. Maybe this will force people to be a little more efficient with their descriptions. I think if you can't adequately describe your photo in less than 76 tags, you have a few too many subjects in your photo.

4. It appears that these changes will affect a minute (but vocal) portion of the Flickr user base. It is being done in the name of site performance. You either believe Flickr or you think they're liars. If you think they're liars, you should move your photos somewhere else now.

5. Blogs seem to be reporting on this as if Flickr users everywhere are in the midst of revolt. Thomas Hawk (who it should be said, is also the CEO of a competing service and a Flickr user) is probably the most prominent blogger engaged in this issue. But if you go read the Flickr forums you will find that there are quite a few Flickr users who are NOT in revolt, but who are perfectly content with the coming changes. Don't be misled by antagonistic blog posts telling you otherwise.

6. This is how a market is supposed to work. If Flickr ends up screwing it's users and the users get pissed off enough, they'll move to a competitor. That's the way it should work. If Flickr makes the changes and users remain happy, then it succeeds.

7. Just because Flickr is a social networking site, doesn't mean it's owned by the users. I'm have a paid Pro Flickr account, but I make no insinuations that I should have final call on business decisions. As long as they are not violating the Terms of Service I agreed to, I have no argument.

Currently Flickr is providing a great service for me. If they piss me off enough, I leave. Simple.