SmugMug Buys Flickr. Does This Mean a Bright Future Ahead?
Ah, good ol’ Flickr.
Flickr was the photo-sharing site in the mid-noughties; nothing of this scale had ever existed on the internet before. But perhaps, more important than the ability to freely upload and share photos, was Flickr’s community aspect called Groups. For the first time, photographers across the world could discuss, critique, and collaborate with each other on a global dedicated photography platform.
Arguably, nobody’s quite matched the scale of Flickr’s reach and community since.
The Downward Spiral
Flickr’s fallen on some hard times in recent years. The original co-founder of the platform, Daniel Stewart Butterfield, left in 2008 after his company, Ludicorp, was acquired by Yahoo! in 2005. By 2010 Yahoo! started reducing the workforce behind Flickr by 10-20%, and although the site went through a couple of modernising redesigns between 2013 and 2015 (no doubt inspired by the hiring of new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer), it was increasingly apparent that Yahoo! was struggling and taking Flickr along with it.
This culminated in Yahoo! and Flickr being acquired by Verizon under the Oath Inc. umbrella in 2016, a decision that many thought would be the end of Flickr.
A New Hope?
Personally, I feel that Smugmug’s acquisition of Flickr from Oath/Verizon is a positive move. The company has shown sustainable growth, a passion for photography and photographers, and a desire to help photographers grow their business and communities.
By combining SmugMug’s image storage and photo sales core with Flickr’s communities and social sharing, I can see both brands complementing each other very effectively.
Certainly, anything’s better than being owned by the uncaring Verizon.
I look forward to seeing what happens to the two combined platforms with interest.
Incidentally, you should totally follow me on Flickr.