Change is an inevitable thing, especially when your parent company Yahoo is bought out by US telecom giant Verizon. That’s why the recent announcement from photo-sharing service Flickr has met with resignation rather than surprise as the once-darling photo repository’s users increasingly express worries about an uncertain future with the service.
In an announcement to its community forums, Flickr announced that it would stop all printing services for wall art and would phase out the photo album printing service, gradually transitioning that business over to Blurb: “Today we announced on the Flickr Blog that we are discontinuing Flickr photo books and Flickr wall art. In place of Flickr photo books, we are partnering with Blurb to provide a Flickr integration that offers you more options to customize your creations. Flickr wall art will not be replaced at this time.”
Connecting a user’s Flickr account to Blurb will allow the user to browse the account’s Flickr photostream and select photos to be turned into a photo album for possible distribution through Amazon, Ingram, and the Blurb bookstore. Photographers can specify the book’s size, layout, and paper type among other options.
Flickr is offering Flickr Pro users a $35 credit to begin creating their first photo album with Blurb. There is also a $35 credit to Flickr Pro users who renew their subscription. Users will have until December 1, 2017 to finish projects they are currently prepping under Flickr’s soon-to-be-discontinued system.
While it isn’t unexpected Verizon would begin to trim down less profitable sectors of their recently acquired Yahoo purchase, many longtime Flickr users are worried about what this change signals for the future of the platform, with many already reporting decreased engagement metrics and a growing unease about the direction of the service in general according to DIY Photography.
Flickr debuted as an early Internet wunderkind but has faded from its former glory as the market for photo storage and the attendant community of photographers and fans that come with it has expanded, including juggernauts like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Amazon, and Google, to name a few.
Flickr received renewed interest during the tenure of former Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer but has failed to capitalize on its advantages in the face of the strong competition outlined above.