Yahoo! Photos Flickrs Out

News yesterday from TechCrunch that Yahoo is shutting down Yahoo! Photos and hoping that the existing user base migrates to flickr. Even though Yahoo! has a massive number of images, flickr is clearly the more sticky site, and is the type of nimble company that Yahoo! needs to bring signs of life back to the company since Google has been kicking them around like an old tire.

The problem with flickr? It’s just not clear what its business is. We’ve all heard rumors of commercialization possibilities, which are undoubtedly in the works (See Daryl Lang’s PDN article). And it’s clear from threads like this and this one from the Strobist, that something has to be done to avoid large companies from ripping off community members.

But will all these efforts have a meaningful impact on Yahoo!’s bottom line?
I think it’s a great decision. Flickr is a social networking site for photos, whereas Yahoo! Photos was just a delivery mechanism. So Yahoo! is going down the right path of enhancing the community. And more importantly, I like the fact that they retained flickr’s identity, and didn’t try a forced integration into the Yahoo! framework.

And what is the impact for sites like PhotoShelter? Nothing. Unless flickr has the intention of doing something other than microstock (which I have a hard time believing), they will be competitive with sites like iStockPhoto, fotolia, and my personal favorite microstock site, Lucky Oliver. On the other hand, we think all serious photographers on flickr that desire to make money should use PhotoShelter with fotoQuote.

On the other hand, by virtue of their size, they could also be the biggest threat (or opportunity) to stock photography ever. We always knew this would get interesting.

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Bob Turitz at 6:17 pm

    Allen: Great article. Makes me feel good that I have Photoshelter, in addtion to my flickr account. The possibilities are endless attracting business in this internet world. Having great tools like Photoshelter really helps us small guys not get the short end of the stick. Thanks also for your links, really good reading!!! Bob Turitz

  2. Allen Murabayashi at 7:56 pm

    Bob, I agree with you in terms of the numerous ways to get your name out. The internet has made it much more cost-effective than in the past to market yourself in a variety of ways. I think getting up on flickr and having a PhotoShelter account is a great combination. Some people say that the effort to market remains the same despite the Internet, but it misses the point that it’s so much easier now to access information. You might get lost in the sea of the Internet, but if someone finds you, they could potentially have access to your entire archive for licensing — even without your intervention.

  3. Thomas Pickard at 7:54 am

    Sites like Flickr and your own e-commerced enabled web site, make even more sense when you read books like ‘The Long Tail’ by Chris Anderson (I think?). That book was a real eye opener to what is happening in the global market place that is the Internet – and we haven’t even scratched the surface yet (makes me wonder where Digital Railroad and Photoshelter will be in 20 years time in terms of size, volume and buyers). In the final chapters of that book, it basically says don’t worry about how people find you, just give people as many possible ways of finding you as possible. When you consider the traffic Flickr gets and how easy it is to drive traffic to your Flickr site through image sharing with the zillion different groups on Flickr, there is really no reason why photog’s shouldn’t pony up the $25 annual fee and help drive some traffic to their own web site.

  4. Allen Murabayashi at 10:55 am

    The Long Tail is a great read. The only thing that I think is different for photos is that Anderson says that a very high percentage of books has sold at least once through Amazon. Since it only takes a fraction of a second to produce an image, and the number of images is several orders of magnitude higher than the number of books, I wouldn’t expect the same dynamic to hold true. That said, people are still finding ways to gain visibility on the Internet, and I have no doubt that an approach with multiple outlets is the only way to win.

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