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SmugMug Acquires Flickr & Flickr Alternatives for Second Life Residents

SmugMug Acquires Flickr & Flickr Alternatives for Second Life Residents

On April 20th, 2018 SmugMug and Flickr simultaneously announced that Flickr was acquired by SmugMug. After years of being passed around from Yahoo to Verizon and not seeing a vast improvement on the platform, a lot of Flickr users seem to be worried about this new acquisition; especially since the announcements, emails and TOS updates are not as clear.

There is a huge Second Life community on flickr and we use it often to engage with each other. That’s why I felt it was important for me to write this post and possibly offer some alternatives and also try to settle some nerves.

My Concerns

I’ll be honest, when I first heard of the acquisition, I was worried. All of the images on my blog are hosted on flickr. I also received an email from Flickr, that I felt wasn’t as clear in its wording, which stated that my flickr account and data would be transferred to SmugMug on May 25th and if I didn’t want that to happen, I can download my photos and delete my flickr account. On further inspection, I realized that my pictures are not going anywhere, they will still be on flickr, but now my flickr account will be governed by SmugMug’s Terms and Privacy Policy. Upon reading their terms, I noticed it was not much different from Flickr’s current TOS. Under #7 Acceptable Use they state that even nudity and such is allowed, as long as you have the correct filter setting, which is also currently the case in Flickr. So to me, it looks like Flickr will remain and will be business as usual, for the near future.

A Voice of Reason

I was still worried about the future though and what it entails, until I read Thomas Hawk’s post: MY THOUGHTS ON THE SMUGMUG FLICKR ACQUISITION. I was introduced to Thomas Hawk through Empire Avenue many years ago, and have been following his work since then. He’s a wonderful real world photographer and has connections both in Flickr and SmugMug headquarters. He’s not worried about the acquisition at all and in fact is looking forward to some positive changes in Flickr, finally. He feels since SmugMug is a platform that has always encouraged photographers and artists, they might make changes to Flickr that will be beneficial to all in the future. Reading his thoughts on the matter put me at ease about this whole situation.

Two Different Purposes

SmugMug has been a great source for real world photographers for many years. However, it is a completely different animal from Flickr. Flickr is a great place for photographers to share their work and get feedback because it works like a social network. You can follow each other, fav photos, leave comments and really interact with the artists that you follow. Whereas SmugMug is more geared towards selling. It doesn’t work like a social network at all and in fact, you need to have a paid account to use it at all. Because of this, I feel like they definitely will keep both Flickr and SmugMug running separately as they serve two different purposes and both will generate income for them in different ways.

Backup Plans

For now, I plan to do nothing but continue on with Flickr like I have been before. I will still host my blog images there and upload there every time I do a blog post. If things change in the future and they decide they will get rid of flickr, then I will go back and fix/update any important blog posts with the images. Obviously I won’t do all of them, but for major posts I will make time to do that. I also plan to eventually backup all of my flickr pictures to Google Photos. Google Photos gives users free, unlimited storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution. I’ve looked into what would be the easiest way to transfer 10 years of images and I’ve seen a few suggestions such as using a service like MultCloud or do it manually by downloading zip files from your camera roll on flickr and then uploading directly to Google Photos. There is a step by step on this page: How to move your Flickr pictures to Google Photos. This is a backup plan that we all can look into implementing so we don’t lose years of memories. We have time to do this now as it doesn’t look like they have plans to get rid of Flickr anytime soon, so do think about it.

Flickr Alternatives

Let’s say in the future they do decide that they want to close Flickr, where would the Second Life community go to share their art? I have a few suggestions that I looked into. I have also created an account on these networks so if you guys do decide to migrate over, remember to add me and let me know so I can follow back.


There is already a budding Second Life community on Instagram, which was kind of surprising to me as I don’t like to post Second Life images from my phone. I use photoshop and upload directly from my desktop and Instagram is mainly mobile only. However, there are certain apps that you can use on your desktop, which Instagram approves of, that let you upload to Instagram. You can read this article and see which apps are approved by Instagram and choose the one that best suits your needs.  I decided to go with the app and it has been working wonderfully for me so far. I have used it to post three images from my desktop in the past week. The way it works is, you can upload it to from desktop and then schedule when you want to post it. Then I just login to the app on my phone and post it directly to Instagram from there as the picture is already there. So it still requires you to have a phone to do it but it makes uploading the image and scheduling the post a lot easier, for me anyways.

Here are some Instagram accounts you may want to follow:

You can also embed Instagram pictures into your blog posts. Here are a couple of my pictures from the past week:

Jewel #SecondLife #VirtualReality #VirtualWorld #secondlifestyle #StrawberrySingh

A post shared by Strawberry Singh (@strawberrysinghvr) on


Koinup was a great social network for virtual world photographers but it was sold to another company and since then I noticed it was getting spammed by weird real life images. Hopefully, we can take it back if we all decide to move there. I quit posting there last year, but if more people join and follow, then I’ll start participating there again. This is my Koinup account.


DeviantArt is one of the biggest online communities for artists and art-lovers. I have heard that a lot of the artists on DeviantArt don’t appreciate Second Life images, but I’m not sure how true that is. I do have an account on DeviantArt, but honestly don’t really use it that often. I just uploaded a couple of pictures today, I’ll see how it goes. Let me know if you guys decide to join.

Other Photo Platforms

Other platforms where you can share your photographs that I’ve heard of, but haven’t created an account myself: SlickPic, 500px, and PhotoBucket.


I hope this post helps settle your nerves a bit as I do feel like flickr isn’t going anywhere, not any time soon anyways. But even if it does in the future, it’s good to have a backup plan and also establish a presence on other photo platforms.

Other social networks that I also share images on are: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and my Second Life Profile.


Strawberry has been a Second Life Resident since 2007 and a Linden Lab employee since 2019.

20 thoughts on “SmugMug Acquires Flickr & Flickr Alternatives for Second Life Residents

  • I’ve looked at all the sites over the years, and Flickr was the most suitable for SL work, despite being technologically unstable at times. DA is dominated by kids, SlickPic and 500px are pretentious, Koinup is a backwater limited by being too game based, Google are only doing it to be in the game (Picasa having died a death), and Instagram is really for rl stuff.

    Lack of investment meant Flickr might easily have collapsed financially, but at last it has some security. Smugmug say they want to keep things as they are, just improve the backend. It would be a strange time to jump ship, just as Flickr has stabilised and is finally getting the investment it needs.

  • Scarlet Absolan

    We also have a growing community on Second Life Amino! which is a app on the phone you could always check out as well 🙂

  • Nobody uses Photobucket anymore as they now make you pay a monthly fee, without paying that fee you can’t use or see photobucket pictures on third party sites like forums.

    Ipernity was going to be a flickr alternative when everyone got upset about the changes, however even though its free most returned to flickr but Ipernity is still around.

  • jackson redstar

    I wonder how viable any site can be that offers “free” hosting – which has been an issue with flickr, and flickr is more old school now. As it it now there is barely any reason or need to have a paid flickr account. That I can def see changing. Smugmug is going to need to make their acquisition profitable – ROI – and I can see them knee-capping ‘free’ accounts big time to push people into paid accounts

  • John Oeffinger aka Jean Swashbuckler

    Yes, this is along comment…but…I agree with Tom Hawk’s analysis. I’m an RL photographer that has been much more active the last two years after upgrading my camera and lens. I hesitated adding images to Flickr not knowing the direction they were going in post-Yahoo sale. I certainly didn’t want to be in Google because they view the user as the product. The recent congressional hearings highlight the dangers. Worse, with machine learning and artificial intelligence taking root, I really didn’t want Google to have access to my images, but I digress.

    A Flickr community in the hands of people who are passionate about photography – any kind of photography including SL photography which can be jaw dropping – can be a perfect match. I started following SmugMug when our photographic SIG for our local Mac Users Group introduced local photogs to the service years ago. Folks loved the service and the serious photogs talked highly of it. Full disclosure, I have only watched it from outside the view of a user…but I do like what they do. Having learned the hard lessons in several Internet startups that there really is no “free Internet,” I have no issue with paying for something if it is reasonably priced. What I do hate is getting spun the idea that the service is free only to learn how much data Google, Facebook, Instagram, and others are collecting because you are the product. Yea, the targeted ads might be a nice distraction but I’m really not into impulse buying or voting.

    So what does this have to do with SL. At one point we owned six regions on the USS. We let those go back six years ago and rented a homestead from a friend in the USS. The sim owners have to pay tier and we had no problem paying our share to have a place we could call home. Last year we purchased a region and homestead way out on the grid. We’re not finished with our work, the building always continues. We’ve upgraded a lot most of our builds to mesh. We’re having fun. We have people spending time in the sims. Since they keep returning we think that’s great.

    So the announcement that Flickr was bought by SmugMug is personally very exciting. I’ll now be spending time uploading RL and SL images (yes that outs my avatar) but I won’t have to be doing this in two places. My RL images are showing progess and I would love to be in a photographic community learning from others and sharing my work. My SL images need to become more refined but I’m learning as well. To be able to do this in one place will make this so much more convenient. Who knows, maybe some RL photographers will see SL images and get interested in learning more about SL. One never knows what can happen when to communities begin to see their different work.

    And Thanks Strawberry for all the work you do in blogging about SL!!

  • This entire post absolutely ROCKS! Thank you for all the hard work you put into it. It really shows.

  • Soda Sullivan

    Thanks so much Strawberry for putting your investigator hat on and looking into this for all your readers! I have to say, even though I did not know much about Smugmug, I was excited to hear that they had bought Flikr. This is just my opinion, but I think anything Yahoo touches pretty much turns to crap. I hated having a Yahoo Profile and mail account because of yahoo’s history, but I created one just to use Flikr. Which brings up the question, will we still have to have a yahoo account to use Flikr?

    I kind of like Slickpic and I am going to give it a try. One problem I have with Flikr is how it has become a race to the bottom to see how many groups you can get in and how many faves you can get…quantity over quality. Slickpic seems more designed to give you a nice creative space to present your pictures. it looks like something that is at least worth trying out, so thank you again for the information!

  • Thank you for writing and explaining all of this.

    I’ve also been on Flickr for a long time and was very unsure about the latest sale.

    Time will tell but fingers crossed 🙂

  • I’ve been in DeviantArt for 15 years! Was even featured on the front page once back in 2004. I do crosspost my SL images there. I originally was uploading Daz/Poser renders there, but I left it for SecondLife since SL is way more fun and has so much more content, not to mention, a far more affordable 3d play ground. I would LOVE to see a SL community bloom there. If anyone goes there and want to connect, my gallery is here:

  • p.s. I forgot to mention the dark side of DeviantArt….. thief. Artists are looking out for each other. When my stuff is stolen, people run to tell me where and who did it. I don’t know if DA is more prone to content thief than other places, or if the community is more hyper alert to thief and protects it own. I get stuff stolen ALL THE TIME on DA. I’ve had my stuff used without my permission on mousepads, shirts, in facebook app games, phone wallpaper, magazines, and even in a tv commercial in the Philippines. (old anime fanart stuff is stolen the most)

  • lorimark

    Berry thank u for the article! u can up images to istagram fron u pc. I leave a little tutorial here:

  • Thanks for explaining the acquisition so well. I hope you’re right, and that SmugMug will preserve Flickr as it now is (apart from improvements which one hopes will be more gracefully implemented that they are now under Yahoo).

  • moonieratty resident

    If you want to use android apps on your PC you can use an android emulator. bluestacks works very well and allows you to upload images from your hard drive. So essentially any Android app is doable. Be warned though the first time you use an android emulator google may block the emulator as a security measure until they receive a support ticket/email from you confirming that it’s legitimate. They usually will allow the account to be used on the emulator within 24 hours of receiving the ticket BTW.

  • As Pro on Flickr since 2007, i was worried about the new terms, and new prices, so i have written a message in the french forum on Flickr.

    A guy from the Flickr’s staff has assured me that nothing will change. The pro prices which has been paid the day you got it, will stay, there will be not change on the contract.

    There is a lot of photographers and artists on Flickr, around 75 millions (i read it somewhere), i’m sure SmugMug will find benefits with Flickr and will not close it.

  • wintergeist

    Flickr is, at the moment the best platform. an alternative would be Ipernity.

    Instagram… I just deleted my account since they wanted to track my phone.
    Koinup is kinda dying a slow death.
    DiviantArt… I guess I am to grown up for that.

    So…. yes I will stay and see what happens.

  • As of today, Koinup is closed for registration with the following:

    Registration temporary disabled
    Sorry, registration has been temporary disabled.
    Please contact us for more info.

    After reading the release from Smugmug & Flickr, I’m fairly confident that nothing will change. Also the founder of Flickr has got behind the sale saying it’s expected that Smugmug will only improve the user experience over the long term. Yahoo did very little to the platform and Smugmug are already experts in the space, so fingers crossed!

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  • Kat Jamez

    Great article and thoughts SS. I have a free acct on Flickr and didn’t realize I have over 600 photos. It is so easy to take pics through the post to Flickr in the cam tool in Firestorm. I am looking for a viable alternative that is easy like that. The other option on the cam is post to Twitter – have been posting the last couple of days to see how that works out. I am also trying out Gyazo ( I think Flickr has started on the downhill slope – so many people use the free account option and my friends in SL who are pro users are upset with the price change.

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