Image by Justin in SD
The water motion in this reminds me of a washing machine. When I was a kid I remember being mesmerized by my grandparents front loading washing machine. At home we had a top loader, so it was something new and interesting when I was little.
My Flickr Pro Account expired today. When I went to look at my stats for today I got an ad page, so I went to renew my account for another year. Overall I’ve been pretty happy with Flickr, so I clicked through to renew my 1-year subscription and eventually got to the end of the process and was presented with this:
"You are about to subscribe to the Yahoo! service listed above. You will be charged the total due, on an auto-renew basis, for each term as shown above, until you cancel."
As a consumer I find this kind of policy offensive. It’s a tactic used by second rate companies to collect recurring subscription fees even after a customer stops using the service. Some people find automatic renewal to be convenient, but for them there has always been an option to enroll in auto-renewal. This policy change was enough to get me to take a step back and reassess what I get from Flickr, and how it compares with other sites.
The best feature Flickr Pro offers has no competitive alternative that I know of, and that is unlimited storage of full resolution photos. This is the single feature that has convinced me to renew, at least for now. At some point I am planning to build a gallery with a service like Zenfolio, or Smugmug, or one of the other similar options. Once I do, this Flickr feature will become much less important.
The other feature Flickr has that I enjoy is their groups, but since Google+ added communities I find it to be almost as good. I still think Flickr’s groups are better, especially with the way photos are added, but communities are close enough, and the activity and engagement from Google+ communities is actually much better than Flickr.
My Flickr presence had about a 1 year head start on my Google+ presence, so the group I interact with on Flickr was initially much larger. Now that I’ve spent time on Google+ I’ve found that my personal community is growing many times faster than on Flickr. It’s also much easier to find active relevant and interesting discussions on Google+.
Flickr has Explore, which is a huge opportunity for exposure that doesn’t really exist on Google+, and only kind of exists on 500px (if you can get to the front page). The problem is, despite having improved my photography (in my opinion), and definitely increased the engagement I get on the photos I post, the last time I had a photo in explore was March of 2012 (13 months ago). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to complain about this, and I understand it’s a complex algorithm that accounts for many different factors, but if I never have a photo reach explore, it’s not a relevant feature to consider when I’m deciding whether or not to continue using Flickr, or renew my Flickr Pro.
The last feature Flickr Pro offers that I do really enjoy is stats. I like to see where my photo views come from. As far as I know, nothing like this exists on other social networks.
Ultimately, I renewed my Flickr Pro for 3 months (instead of the 1-year I was originally planning) and immediately canceled it so it won’t auto-renew. In 3 months, I’ll reassess my Flickr use, but for now, I’ll continue on. But Flickr, I want you to know I’m not happy with your policy changes, and your competition is evolving much faster than you, so our days together may be numbered.