Here are some points on the new flickr update:
This update is long overdue. The update is good, probably a much needed update, but at least three years too late. Three years ago this would have been revolutionary, but today it seems to be following the latest trend. Don’t get me wrong, the trend is good (from my perspective) but it is following the trend.
The update was poorly initiated. You have to forgive flickr for not being up to speed on how these things happen. They have only had one or two major updates since the site began over 10 years ago. Over the years, Facebook has learned that it needs to announce changes and allow people the opportunity to try them out and opt into them before they throw the switch. Surprised updates are what kill. People don’t know it’s coming and the initial reaction is always going to be “put it back I didn’t ask for this what is this I don’t even”.
Whenever you make a change you need to ignore the initial reaction and wait for the calmer heads to prevail. You need to allow a few days or weeks for people to go through the grieving process and realize what changes are actually for the best. (Granted, you’ll want to keep up with the bug fixes.) It appears that flickr is waiting to see the reaction before it says too much, but this lack of communication, coupled with the poor reputation Yahoo has earned for destroying things, is not doing them any favors.
Along with the lack of response from Yahoo and flickr about the changes, the FAQ pages do not seem to adequately respond to many of the questions and confusions that most people have. There are a lot of vague phrases that discuss “reoccurring” pro accounts and accounts being “eligible”. It does not say what any of this means, this makes people more scared and confused.
What’s more, the new pricing scheme doubles the “pro” fee fo $25 a year to $50 a year for “ad free” but doesn’t say if it is ad free for the people looking at your photos or just for you as you browse the site. This change is not well documented and due to limitations in the English language and the writing style of the FAQs, many things remain unclear.
Right now all flickr users should be rejoicing because Yahoo just confirmed that flickr is not going away anytime soon. They just sunk a bunch of time and resources into making flickr better and ensuring the longevity of the service. They made the free account easier to use so that more people can use the service. Where Yahoo bought and killed off many other services, it will not be the case with flickr.
Is every new feature with flickr good? Maybe not. Should some things be changed either back to the way there were or to something eles, possibly. But to cry out in outrage because Yahoo is showing dedication that they should have shown years ago is not going to help anyone at this point.
The biggest problem with the update was how it was handled. Even worse, though, was how the user base handled the changed. This is the internet, and that means change. Find me a website that doesn’t change it’s layout to keep up to speed with the latest trends and I will show you a website that isn’t worth visiting. ( Remember this, anyone? )