Flickr, the image and video hosting service is exceptionally popular with Second Life users. Initially created by Ludicorp in 2004 and then acquired by Yahoo! In April 2018, it was sold to SmugMug, with the promise that there would be changes down the road.
On November 1st, 2018, those changes were officially announced, and could hit those SL users making use of Flickr’s free account offering hard. In short, it has been announced that:
- As from January 8th, 2019, free accounts on the platform will be limited to no more than 1,000 photos or videos.
- After that date, members over the limit will no longer be able to upload new photos to Flickr.
- Starting on February 5th, 2019, free accounts that contain over 1,000 photos or videos will have content actively deleted, starting from oldest date uploaded, to meet the new limit.
To compensate, SmugMug is upping the Flickr Pro account to try to make it more attractive to users. Pro accounts already receive unlimited storage, ad-free browsing and advanced stats, and will in the near future include things like a 5K photo display option, an increasing in video length from 3 minutes to 10, improved support, and additional partner discounts. To further encourage free account holders to move to Pro usage, those upgrading to the service before November 30th, 2018, will receive a 30% discount on their first year’s annual Pro membership (usually US $49.99 or equivalent per year).
As well as the main announcement, SmugMug have offered a blog post explaining the changes, which in part justifies them as being something as a “return to Flickr’s roots”: prior to 2013, free accounts on the platform were limited to just 200 photos at a time. The further state that in their estimation, the majority of free account holders tend to have fewer than 1,000 photos stored on the service.
Given the prolific nature of Second Life users, I double either of these reasons will serve to sate upset at the announcement – particularly given that the old free account limit was rescinded simply to encourage wider user of the service. Whether the “extras” of the Pro account will be enough to persuade those so affected to pay the annual fee or simply bite the bullet and move their work to another platform, remains to be seen. Those interested in seeing what else is available might want to check this list from Tom’s Guide.
It’s also interesting to note that at the time of the announcement, SmugMug’s own photo sharing options can be utilised from US $48.00 a month, putting it slightly below Flickr’s usual annual pricing for Pro accounts, with a 14-day free trial period. Their Basic account provides users with: unlimited uploads, 20 min / 3Gb videos, a customisable website, full-screen galleries, drag-n-drop photo organisation, multi-level password protection (allowing controlled access to images), print ordering options, and the expected sharing options.
In the meantime, if you’ve not already seen the announcement and the blog post from Flickr and are a free account user of the service, be sure to follow the links above, read, and consider your options.
JMB Balogh asked about the grandfathering of Pro accounts – something I wrestled with querying myself in the above article, eventually opting to keep to just the facts about the free account impact. However, in checking my quarterly Pro membership fees (I’d forgotten a payment was due at the end of October), it would appear the Grandfathering has been rescinded as well.