Thoughts on Flickr changes and Second Life, with a little advice from Berry


Update, November 5th: Today I received an e-mail from Flickr support which may be of interest to quarterly Pro account holders: The 30% one year discount on annual Pro subscriptions (available through until the end of November) is also available to those who opt to  switch from the quarterly plan to the annual plan. 

Quite a few people have registered disappointment over the recently announced changes being made to Flickr free accounts by new owners SmugMug.

Personally, I admit to finding Flickr has been good value for money as a Pro member. I’ve enjoyed unlimited storage (and could continue to do so) and – more particularly – ad-free browsing of the Flickr site, as well as a good level of support. True, I am a little narked that in August Flickr removed the grandfathered rate for Pro users (introduced when Yahoo decided to up free accounts from 200 photos to up to a terrabyte of storage) without apparently e-mailing all Pro users about the change; but, at the end of the day, even the increase still represents pretty reasonable value for a dedicated service that offers a solid platform for image sharing.

Further, the upping of Pro fees puts Flickr on a par with SmugMug’s Basic offering, allowing a fairer comparison between the two for those who might want to have a potentially more flexible approach to how they organise and share their images. For example, SmugMug’s offering includes customisable web page options for displaying images, a greater video length (20 minutes / 3Gb per video, rather than Flickr Pro’s 10 min maximum).

Of course, we all hate paying for something: but like Second Life, Flickr is a business, and as such, SmugMug need to ensure it remains viable. As such, the revisions to the free account are, at the end of the day, something of a reasonable balance: the provision of 1,000 free images is still 5 times the volume originally offered to free account holders at the time free accounts were extended to 1 Tb of storage, allowing what SmugMug to see as the majority of the free account users going without forcing them to upgrade, while it is not so excessive as to have Pro account holders looking elsewhere for a home given that the grandfathered rate for long-time Pro users has been rescinded.

In my piece covering the announcement by SmugMug I offered a link to Toms Guide’s recommended photo sharing sites for those SL users on Flickr free accounts who might be considering their options. Whether people decide to move or not is entirely a personal choice. But it is worth that given Flickr’s track record on frequency of changes, it’s likely there will be few additional pricing updates to the platform in the near future; thus, Flickr does still represent good value for money. Less that US $5.00 a month when paying annually, and US $6.00 a month for those on the quarterly plan (with the ability to make a swap to elsewhere with greater ease than annual subscribers are able to enjoy).

Even so, for those remaining with Flickr (either by limiting themselves to the free account or upping to Pro), there are some understandable concerns. In blogging about spam on Flickr, SmugMug came close to sounding as if digital images from the likes of Second Life would no longer be welcome. However, Don MacAskill, SmugMug’s CEO, has made it clear this is not the case.

Black Bayou Lake; Inara Pey, October 2018, on Flickr
SL images uploaded to Flickr should be labelled “Screenshots” to meet SmugMug’s Terms of Service requirements. Strawberry Singh has provided instructions on how to do this – also see the video below. Image: Black Bayou Lakeblog post)

But, as Strawberry Singh points out, in an exceptionally clear and concise blog post, in order to ensure SL images do not run afoul of SmugMug’s Terms of Service, it is essential they are correctly labelled as screen shots). Strawberry provides clear instructions on how to do this in her blog post. In addition, she also provides some important advice to Second Life Flirckr group owners, and for SL content creators using Flickr; as such I strongly recommend reading her post if you do intend to continue to use Flickr.

Berry has also produced a video on making the required changes to meet SmugMug’s TOS (together with other information), so I’ve taken the liberty of embedding it here for those who prefer a video guide to what needs to be done.


8 thoughts on “Thoughts on Flickr changes and Second Life, with a little advice from Berry

  1. I still have a ways to go to the 1000 mark on Flickr and don’t mind deleting old photos. All these site fees add up and as I pay for two other art websites including WordPress, I’m ok with keeping the freebie on Flickr!


  2. Of course Flickr is business and SmugMug needs to make money out of it, both to keep it open and to make it attractive to them. It would be absurd to criticize them for that. They’ve probably examined different possibilities before deciding that the changes that they are announcing now are the best way to go. Still, as a user, each one of us has to decide what one can do or not and what are one’s priorities. When I joined Flickr, I was prepared to manage my account in a way tha I would carefully select the pics that I would upload as a non-paying user, and to check if they had a reasonable size in order to look good without occupying so much space in Flickr’s servers. When everyone received 1TB for free, of course I relaxed – not so much, but I did relax. It doesn’t mean I started uploading every snapshot, but I have allowed myself to upload more images (I like to think they are all high quality ones) and in bigger, high-res sizes (though not in the original sizes they have on my HD). It all brought me close to the limits that SmugMug is announcing now for Flickr. Even though the price for going Pro is not so high, it will mean continuous payments in a yearly basis. The more images I have on Flickr, the more I’ll feel the need to keep paying them – and to keep being submitted to possible price changes. Also, I already have costs related to my second life – I pay for land in SL and for goods (clothes, deco items, pets, vehicles, etc.) there. I have to add to those costs all the payments I have to do related to my RL – cause they all come from the same pocket. And I also have to decide what to do about my RL-related Flickr account. So, because of that, I’ve already decided that my SL-related Flickr account is not a priority. At some point, I have to stop adding expenses to my wallet – even the small ones. I’ll find some other way to share my SL pics with the SL community and to be able to interact with other SL photographers. I understand SmugMug’s decision about Flickr – and as they took theirs, I took my decision too. Finally, on a side note: I’d have preferred that they had established a total size limit – like 10GB for free accounts, for instance. That would have allowed me to manage my photos with more flexibility. Nonetheless, of course, it’s for them to decide on that, not me, and I’m sure they’ve considered that possibility and have found the announced option better for their business.

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  3. “the provision of 1,000 free images is still 5 times the volume originally offered to free account holders at the time free accounts were extended to 1 Tb of storage”.

    This is a tad misleading. The old 200 limit was regarding how many photos were displayed in your photostream.You could upload more than 200 images, they just wouldn’t display in your photostream, but if you had added them to groups or added them to blog posts, they would still be available, even if you couldn’t access them in your photostream.

    This actually worked as an incentive to go pro. The new changes do not do that.

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    1. That’s it. Everyone was mentioning a 200 image limit and I couldn’t actually remember it – and that’s the reason, that limit was for showing on your photostream. But I do remember a storage size limitation that was much lower than 1TB. Still, one could manage that as they wish. In my case, I’d upload images that weren’t so big, but still good for displaying on a computer screen. Like that, I’d be able to upload more images – and show them on my blog.

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    2. “The old 200 limit was regarding how many photos were displayed in your photostream.You could upload more than 200 images,”

      Hmmmm… I upped to Pro partially on the basis I *was* blocked from uploads on hitting a limit (I can recalling getting a message informing me I’d have to delete in order to continue with uploads). But whether the limit I’d hit was 200 or more or less or based on disk space, I cannot actually remember now – hence going with the 200 photos comment the Flickr post references. It was actually this issue that caused me to compare between upping photo space on WordPress (limited to 10 Gb photos and audio) or going to Flickr with (at the time) a terrabyte for $6.00 a quarter with the option for videos as well. So, I opted for Flickr Pro.


      1. I don’t recall the old upload limit but taking a look around I can find articles stating there was a limit of 300MB a month before Yahoo went crazy with their changes.


        1. I upgraded in 2014. As noted, I do recall being prevented from uploads & being told I had to clear space. At the time I used to upload about 12-18 images per location visit, but only used 4-6 in blog posts, so the warning made me start going through and deleting those images I *hadn’t* used in blog posts; hence why it sticks in my mind. That became tiresome pretty quickly, so I looked at options, per last comment. As an aside, a hold over from that is that despite having unlimited space now, I *still* only (on average) upload around 6 images per location I blog about.


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