How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet

I’m a Flickr user, that barely uses Flickr. I’m not the minority in that regard. I was once a Flickr Pro user, for 2 years. Then, when my subscription came due, I realized that the site that I loved had become something that I just hoped didn’t die because it is feeding a digital photo frame in my parent’s house with images of their grandkids.

This is the story of a wonderful idea. Something that had never been done before, a moment of change that shaped the Internet we know today. This is the story of Flickr. And how Yahoo bought it and murdered it and screwed itself out of relevance along the way.

I always assumed that Yahoo was to blame. The login issue was one that especially bothered me, because I didn’t want to have to have a Yahoo account just to use my Flickr account.

Because Flickr wasn’t as profitable as some of the other bigger properties, like Yahoo Mail or Yahoo Sports, it wasn’t given the resources that were dedicated to other products. That meant it had to spend its resources on integration, rather than innovation. Which made it harder to attract new users, which meant it couldn’t make as much money, which meant (full circle) it didn’t get more resources. And so it goes.

I have a feeling that this happens quite a bit in large companies.

So let’s say Flickr finally gets it together. Let’s say it fixes its app, reinvigorates the community, and finally gets back on path. The question is: Is it too late?


Flickr is still pretty wonderful. But it’s lovely in the same way a box of old photos you’ve stashed under the bed is. It’s an archive of nostalgia that you love dearly, on the rare occasion you stumble across it. You pull them out, and hold them up to the light, and remember a time when you were younger, and the Web was a more optimistic place, and it really was almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world.

And then you close the box.

And you click over to Facebook, to see what’s new.

I agree with everything here except the last statement. I deactivated my Facebook account two weeks ago, however, I do click over to Instagram, Twitter, etc. By the way, if Instagram ever requires a Facebook login, I’ll consider it killed as well.

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linkpost   tech  
2012 May·17

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