SmugMug Updates Flickr, Limits Free Accounts (Update 2)

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Update #2:  You can download all of your photos and videos, including your account data by clicking on your buddy icon, then Settings. Select Request my Flickr Data on the lower right corner of that screen. Once the files are ready you will receive a notification to download the content.

 

UPDATE: SmugMug has made some changes to the flickr photo sharing site, now limiting free plan users to 1,000 still images or videos, which they state 97% of free users have fewer than. Users have until January 8th 2019 to backup your images and get the list down to 1,000. After January 8th, flickr will then delete any images or videos over the 1,000 limit, starting with the older images first.

The new flickr overlords stated in their blog that Yahoo made a mistake by giving free users 1TB of free storage, and will remedy that by limiting user backup options. In justifying the move, the flickr Blog stated that the 1TB free storage changed flickr from a photography community to a simple backup interface, which caused flickr to lose site of what it was really all about … Community.

Further, the blog states “free services are seldom actually free for users, who pay with their data or their time. We would rather the arrangement be transparent.” which means, flickr would rather you become a pro user like over at SmugMug, which I predict will happen sooner or later.  would rather have your money.

And who reading this didn’t see the subscription charges coming?  Pro Level users, who currently pay $24.95 a year for the unlimited service, will have their rates doubled to $49.95. This will include “OG Badge” level customer service, ad free browsing, 10 minute videos, 5K display options, and analytics. And you know what, I prefer that too. That way I have control over my data. Users who sign up by November 30th, will get a 30% off discount.

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Having a reliable place to put your content online and share it with the world has become quite a challenge, because things always seem to be in a state of flux. And when Yahoo was bought by Verizon, many Flickr users were concerned that perhaps one of the oldest photo sharing sites online would be going away, and take user’s 1TB of free storage with it. But SmugMug has stepped in to buy the struggling site, and promises that Flickr’s best days are ahead of it.

“Uniting the SmugMug and Flickr brands will make the whole photography community stronger and better connected,” SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill said in a statement. “Together, we can preserve photography as the global language of storytelling.”

Launched in 2004 as one of the first online photo sharing sites, Flickr was bought by Yahoo a year later.  For about ten years, everything was about the same, but the service grew to over 100 million users. This was in large part of Yahoo’s last CEO Melissa Meyer giving every user 1TB of free storage back in 2013.  I certainly embraced it and uploaded my digital photos and videos with a passion.

As of 2013, Flickr came with 1TB of free storage

Then Yahoo fell on tough times, largely due to several failed original streaming content series’, a series of security breaches that seemed to happen on a yearly basis, and people just taking their email and news watching elsewhere. Let’s face it, who really uses Yahoo Mail anymore?

But Flickr users are a sturdy bunch. Even though the interface is a bit antiquated, it works, and there’s still no getting around that 1TB of free storage. And you can upload video, as well as still images.  It’s hard to give up that kinda storage space.

Eventually, the website that was once worth billions, was scooped up by Verizon in a deal that also included the purchase of AOL from Time Warner. The new company, called Oath, then proceeded to put Flickr up for sale, and SmugMug has gobbled it up for an undisclosed amount of cash.

SmugMug is a pay photo sharing service.

SmugMug is an even older image sharing service, having been launched in 2002. Very similar to Flickr, it caters to professionals, mostly and it’s behind a pay wall. That has it’s advantages, however, because photographers can sell their images and offer prints and photo books that are shipped directly to customers.  This also gives SmugMug the resources to offer 24/7 support, as well as photography training in the form of tips, tutorials, and photography webinars and forums.

But what will happen to Flickr’s 100 million users and their coveted 1TB of free space?  SmugMug has said that while they will take over the operations of Flickr and will be migrating user content to their own site, they will be keeping both SmugMug and Flickr separate. So in the short run, nothing will probably change.

As part of the acquisition, all Flickr accounts will move to SmugMug’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You have until May 25, 2018 to either accept SmugMug’s Terms and Privacy Policy or opt out. If you do nothing in that time, your account will simply transition from the current Yahoo Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to SmugMug’s Terms. If you don’t want to make this change, you can delete your Flickr account through your Account Settings page. If you want to preserve a copy of your photos, be sure to download them from your Camera Roll first!

HOWEVER, although the Flickr blog assures users that their free accounts will remain, you can bet that it won’t be long because that 1TB of free space will disappear. Already, SmugMug has stated that Flickr users have until May 25, 2018, to either accept SmugMug’s terms of service and privacy policy or opt out and close their accounts.  That almost always happens down the road after the honeymoon season ends.

SmugMug will likely put out some notice that Flickr users will have a few months to backup all their images before the 1TB of free space goes away, to be replaced by something like 5-15GB of free space. I’m guessing it’ll happen before year’s end.  Meanwhile, you’ll want to go here and submit your email, so you can keep updated on what SmugMug has planned for Flickr beyond the “we’re better together” hype.

So now is the time to backup all your Flickr content and seek an alternative, just in case. I suggest Google Photos. Users get the best of both worlds with 15GB of storage for uncompressed images, and unlimited high resolution compressed images. Certainly good enough to print, but still not uncompressed. It’ll likely be something like that.

Or, if you’re an Amazon Prime user, you have free unlimited image storage already, and it does include video. For $99 a year, you can’t go wrong.

So what does this have to do with filmmaking? Well like I said, not only was Flickr a great place to hold your still image files, but also video files. It was a great place to backup short clips to share with others.  And as these options evolve or go away altogether, it just means users have to get creative in backing up their images on a budget.

Hat Tip – BusinessWire

About James DeRuvo 564 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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