What Flickr Pro Upgrade Means for Free Users
Flickr emerged as a free, photo hosting site for individuals, professional photographers, affinity groups and organizations. It was originally one of the few user-friendly and free photo-hosting sites. Fast forward 10 years, having shifted from Yahoo! to Verizon and now SmugMug, Flickr introduced many new and improved features, fees, as well as advertising opportunities. As with so many free web services, and given the recent changes, either the user becomes the product (i.e. Facebook, Google), or, it’s simply time for a new, more sustainable model.
Since the acquisition last year, SmugMug has begun to migrate Flickr away from a more consumer photo-sharing ground to a community-centric platform, focused more on the professional photographer. To this end, SmugMug announced on November 1, 2018, that Flickr’s free service would be limited to just 1000 photos. As of January 8, 2019, similar to many other SAAS-based products, users exceeding this limit were required to upgrade to Flickr Pro in order to upload any additional photos into their account, paying a monthly fee of $49.99.
What It Means for Users
Since the announcement, there has been a lot of discussion about the changes and what they mean to Flickr and its users. While most users understand the move and respond positively to SmugMug taking steps to enhance Flickr, many are also disappointed that the changes come with fewer additional features or functionality. What is clear from these changes is that SmugMug is committed to converting Flickr into a viable business focused on the photography community, even if that means pushing away millions of users who had been using Flickr as their dedicated photo storage and social media site.
(See AMA Incoming: SmugMug’s CEO Don MacAskill is coming back to /r/photography to talk about their new changes to Flickr and what it means for the community. 9am PST Monday 17th of December, 2019 – Reddit)
Is Flickr Pro the best solution?
While SmugMug is an excellent tool for photographers, with the ability to showcase and sell work, consider this: if you are going to invest in a tool, you need to absolutely make sure it’s the right tool for you. For schools especially, think about 2 things:
1 – Privacy and Security
Giving it’s due credit, Flickr has lasted a long time as a (basically) free service. But when it’s all said and done, entrusting information like personally-identifiable information and publicly hosted media to a free service is not the best long-term approach, particularly in the light of recent events!
2 – Community Engagement
How you are currently engaging families, students, and staff with media in the first place? What’s more, how are you managing the avalanche of content collected yearly, and the intricate rights and implications around how each photo or video is used and shared? What you need, is a place to not only showcase and sell, but to first and foremost: store, organize and privately share unlimited content in a way that is meaningful and mindful to the people within your community.