smugmug CEO just doesn’t “get it” (re: Flickr)

A programmer starts a company in Houston, because why not? Expanded to Mountain View maybe 2011 ish? Along the way took up photography in 2006. I know the exact photo. It’s on flickr. I’m on flickr because it was talked about at Etech. That’s the backstory.

Economics of Data (including Photos)

Let’s forget ethics, the value of community, the historical role of a site, the role of O’Reilly and Etech growing their brand, and let’s just talk about PROFIT. Smugmug’s CEO is currently making a HUGE error by blocking new uploads to flickr for long time users. I know this because not only am I holding out, despite having been a Pro paying user for many of the last 13 years.

As a long time flickr user I can point out the fact that many of my photos are on wikipedia, despite the fact I have NEVER uploaded a photo to wikipedia. How? Because I frequently share my photos creative commons attribution. Other people can legally use them and upload them with attribution (e.g. “Photo by Ed Schipul”) and nothing more. They found these photos on Flickr because the taxonomy allowed us to specify the CC license.

But first, the email I received today looks this:

the generous flickr option to pay them to host my photos and monetize them. smugmug doesn’t get social

Text from their email:

We’ve made some big changes to free Flickr accounts over the past year, and our community has made it clear that they’d like more time to decide on a home for their photos. 

Because we know how important that decision is, we’re giving free Flickr accounts with 1,000+ photos and videos another month to make a decision, whether it means upgrading to Flickr Pro (with unlimited storage) or downloading your photos onto a computer.
On March 12, 2019, any photos and videos over 1,000 on free Flickr accounts will be at risk for deletion.

https://www.flickr.com

Having spent years traveling, and one year living full time in San Francisco, I can say with the advent of AI and machine learning, there are startups that offer FREE security cameras. Why? Because of the value of the XIF data and to feed into algorithms.

And on the Internet there are numerous currencies; attention, cash, link-backs are three primary currencies.

Riddle me this. Why would you block someone from uploading high value content to your site that creates attention and links back to your site? It’s not like they bought any of my cameras or paid me. But I’m blocked from uploading and the smugmug CEO is sending out emails pointing out that their “storage” is cheaper than “other people’s storage.” Baroo? Did you seriously just call my photography “storage”? WTF?

As I type this, this is what flickr looks like so I can’t “link you” to any of the ridiculously rich content and photos I have uploaded over the last 13 years.

Because flickr is down. Me thinks they are in over their heads.

I’ll end on a positive note. Flickr/Smugmug’s CEO may not understand their actions, that they are killing photography on the Internet, because they weren’t there back in the day. Naive, yet at least they did provide a download link. The community is being destroyed, and we will rebuild. Ethically I have to say THANK YOU for providing our data.

Any other open source developers out there who want to provide a Python/Django based gallery option that includes OG community? Because we are apparently on our own folks.

#peace