SmugMug acquires Flickr
Photo sharing website Flickr, which has been struggling in recent years, has been acquired by rival professional photography website SmugMug. The sale has arisen out of Yahoo’s purchase by Verizon last year.
A rather confusing email was sent by Flickr this morning to its users:
We think you are going to love Flickr under SmugMug ownership, but you can choose to not have your Flickr account and data transferred to SmugMug until May 25, 2018. If you want to keep your Flickr account and data from being transferred, you must go to your Flickr account to download the photos and videos you want to keep, then delete your account from your Account Settings by May 25, 2018.
Don MacAskill, founder and owner of SmugMug, clarified what this really meant on Twitter this morning:
Sorry if this wasn’t crystal clear in the email, but if you stay with @Flickr, you’re simply agreeing to transfer your data to @SmugMug [the company], not @SmugMug [the product]. (And our data policies are great!) Keeping Flickr on its own so it can grow and thrive! Not migrating @DonMacAskill, 23 April 2018
Flickr itself announced that one of its first priorities will be to remove itself from the Yahoo/Oath login infrastructure, which will enable Flickr users to log-in with whichever email address they like:
As we transition from Yahoo/Oath infrastructure, one of our first priorities will be authentication/login. When that system is built, will be able to use whatever email you prefer to log into Flickr. @Flickr, 23 April 2018
What exactly this means for Flickr users is unclear, but Flickr have announced that free accounts will remain:
We’ve seen a lot of questions about free Flickr accounts since our SmugMug announcement. When Flickr joins SmugMug on May 25th, we will continue to offer free Flickr accounts. @Flickr, 23 April 2018
Ever since Yahoo purchased Flickr, it has been struggling, although a serious revival attempt was made in 2013. Under Yahoo, Flickr missed the mobile photography revolution and allowed Instagram to be purchased by Facebook. Whilst Flickr is not as mainstream as it once was, its service remains one of the best for photo-sharing and its community is both strong and passionate.
Whilst only time will tell, the general consensus seems to be that Flickr will do well under SmugMug who are passionate about photography (unlike Yahoo). There has been a lot of positive reaction on the Official Flickr Help Page about the change.
I have been a Flickr member for a long time and I am excited about this acquisition. I look forward to some exciting changes that will grow Flickr into the future.