Disclaimer: I work at Yahoo!, but not on Flickr. These are simply opinions of mine.
Three things happened in quick succession this past week:
- Flickr limited number of tags to 75 and number of contacts to 3,000
- They also announced a date when the users who aren’t using Yahoo! accounts would have to merge their accounts with a Yahoo! ID
- Yahoo! launched a branded Wii site which includes a Flickr stream of all photos tagged Wii.
And what a reaction there was. People in an uproar over so many things it’s hard to enumerate. But as someone who is an old skooler and am inside Yahoo!, I really gotta say a few things to the whiners:
- Flickr has the best interest of the users in mind but it can’t make every last individual happy. Seriously, I know a lot of the people in there and they give a shit. You on the other hand, don’t seem to care enough to give the benefit of the doubt any time something doesn’t go EXACTLY your way.
- Get a grip. There is no conspiracy. You guys have talked about the doom and gloom and how Flickr was going to suck since the acquisition TWO YEARS AGO and guess what? It just kept getting better. Geo-tagging, guest passes, machine tags, printing of photos, half priced subscription … what the heck do you need as proof that Flickr is doing fine while in Yahoo!?
- Grow up. Tag bombing the Wii site by putting up “Yahoo! is Poo” images? Yahoo!, and many many many other sites, have been using tag streams of Flickr photos well before the Wii branded site. Sorry you were too clueless to notice that and it’s not because of Yahoo!’s Terms of Service vs. Flickr’s. Remember that whole Web 2.0 thing you guys love to be a part of? This is what it’s about. They’re public photos with creative commons license.
- There’s no point in lying about technological challenges. Flickr has some really smart people working on that plumbing and hey, when you build for millions of users and more photos than just about every other photo site out there, with real time ties in relationships, THEN say, “unlimited contacts should be easy.” Scalability is a hard problem. I don’t presume to know how you do your job.
- Does anyone actually know/remember 19,000 people? That’s not social networking. That’s playing MySpace Pokemon.
- Have they actually given you a reason to distrust them? Aside from “well I hate all things Yahoo!” which is completely irrational and devoid of logic, I mean. Yes, few of us are blind to the fact that Yahoo! has done some pretty crappy things with Geocities and numerous other things and we all know there’s a reputation issue but there aren’t many people around now that were around 5+ years ago. Leaving without even seeing it through seems kind of premature.
- Flickr has an API for you to go elsewhere. If that’s not a sign of caring about your data, I don’t know what is.
- Yahoo!’s sign in sucks. The namespace is polluted and it’s hard to get a good ID. The registration sucks. We know these things. We’re working on it. Having said that, the Yahoo! ID you use isn’t exposed on Flickr so having an unpretty name is actually not that relevant.
- Oh and, Thomas Hawk. Love your photos. Hate the way you continually troll Flickr forums while running a clone with a bad name (were two o’s and no e taken?) and an interface so similar it took me awhile to realize I wasn’t in Flickr.
There’s no question that there are problems with Yahoo! and a lot of the products. Flickr is not one of them and that hasn’t changed just because your sign-in is different. If you old skoolers find something better, let me know. I’m gonna bet you don’t.