Flickr In Trouble   Leave a comment

The above was posted by SmugMug on the Flickr Blog on December 19. You can read the entire letter on their site. It outlines a situation that I’ve wondered about for some time — how Flickr pays its bills to pay for what is probably thousands of servers and thousands … if not millions … of terabytes of storage. Clearly, they’ve been having problems, and they’re still having problems, even after being purchased by SmugMug. Nobody can afford to pour water out a flagging-open window forever.

Some fast (and not necessarily authoritative) thoughts —

The concern is not absolutely immediate, but it’s something we users of Flickr need to be aware of, especially if we have photos on the service that we haven’t backed up in recent years. As I’m seeing it, SmugMug has a few options open to them:

  • Let Flickr eventually go under
  • Find outside backing
  • Sell the service to another company

You may see other options I don’t.

We also have choices we can make. The ones I can see at the moment are:

  • Buy a Pro subscription
  • Locate to another service — many did when SmugMug changed Flickr’s terms of service, moving to Instagram
  • Moving our galleries to our own blog spaces

I advocate none of these in particular. I do point out that, whatever choice you as an individual make, you have to do it with your bank account and future purchases in mind. We’re each probably going to end up paying for a service at some point, no matter where we end up if Flickr goes under. We can’t keep on getting something for nothing. (That’s one reason why I eventually bought a premium subscription to Second Life.)

What you decide to do is up to you. I’m probably, since I have a Pro account, going to offer exhibit space to my blog-sisters and -brother again, as I was doing a year or so ago, as I know they can’t or won’t buy a Pro account for various reasons. That’s not a guarantee for the future, though, and we’ll need to discuss this together at some point.

There’s one thing all of us should do, though: back up any photos we don’t have copies of, if we want to save our archive of work. I’m fortunate; I’ve kept an archive of everything since the start of 2013 on an outboard terabyte drive. (Frankly, most of my earlier stuff was trash by current equipment standards, anyway.) The others are so recent (or do so little work in world) that they have their entire archive already safe. Your mileage may vary on what you want to keep; if you do want to preserve all the work you’ve done, whether Flickr survives or not, I’d urge you to get down to it.

And now, as my professors said on the exam papers at the end of an essay question or two, “Discuss.”

Posted December 22, 2019 by Harper Ganesvoort in News

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