When SmugMug first acquired Flickr back in April 2018, I was a bit worried, but after further investigation, I figured It would be okay and decided to just wait and see what happens. Well, in 6 months they have made some significant changes to Flickr already.
Flickr Changes So Far
- Grandfathered Flickr Pro Accounts Price Increase – In August 2018 they announced that grandfathered Flickr Pro accounts were no longer going to be available at the current price of $25. Now all Pro members would be paying the same, which is currently set at $49.99 per year or $5.99 per month, depending on the plan. This is all in USD.
- Free Account Limitations – On November 1st 2018 they announced that free accounts will soon be limited to 1,000 photos or videos. If you are not a Flickr Pro member by January 8, 2019 and you have over 1000 images/videos in your account, you will no longer be able to upload new content. After February 5, 2019 they will delete your content starting from oldest to newest date uploaded.
- Virtual World / Digital Artists Not Welcome – On October 31st they wrote a blog post “We Can’t Stand Spam Either” which concerned a lot of digital artists like myself. In the post they stated that they are a “photographer-focused community” and that phrase, along with treatment by other flickr members, made a lot of digital artists concerned for their accounts. I spoke to the CEO on Twitter and he responded with this:
Virtual photographers are photographers. You love photography. We love photography. You pay us. You rock and we love you.
— Don MacAskill (@DonMacAskill) November 1, 2018
That response was satisfactory for me because I am a paying flickr member, but the way he worded it, saying “you pay us” made me feel that free accounts may still be at risk of being deleted if reported by other members.
My Thoughts on the Changes
Although I do feel that Flickr now making it so that more people will sign up for Pro may be a good thing in the long run for the company, and perhaps improve the performance, I do know that this situation will also affect a lot of people negatively. Many won’t be able to afford the new Pro pricing plans and will either have to keep their photos and videos under 1000 or move to another photo sharing/storage site.
I’m not leaving flickr at all. I’ve been there since 2007 and I’ve got a lot of memories on there. But I do feel that it is important to branch out to other networks and storage sites just in case something does go wrong or they make more changes in the future.
I’ve made a list of other photo sharing sites I’m on, or have recently joined, that you can also join. I’m also going to make a poll so we can see which networks virtual world residents want to stay most active on, and continue to build the communities there.
- Instagram – Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social network owned by Facebook. It is free to use with no restrictions. Out of all the Flickr Alternatives, I prefer this one the most and I’m most active on it. I follow many Second Life accounts on Instagram already, you can check my follows and add people from there if you are new on Instagram and want to get to know the community. Linden Lab also has official Second Life and Sansar accounts on Instagram. UPDATE: I’ve done a blog post showing how to upload to Instagram from your desktop.
- Tumblr – Tumblr is more like a photo blogging site and I don’t find it very easy to follow when it comes to looking back at people’s older images and posts, but others might like it better. It is free to use without any restrictions. I’m not sure if I’ll use it but if people vote for it a lot in the poll, I’ll try and post there more often.
- Deviant Art – Deviant Art 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 have also heard that many people steal images from there and it’s better to protect your work by watermarks, etc… I’m not active on there at all, but if a lot of people vote for it in the poll, I’ll try being more active.
- Koinup – Koinup is an image and video hosting service, web portal and online community for virtual world users. I have tried for many years to keep up on Koinup but it has been a roller coaster ride. Sometimes it lets me upload images and sometimes it doesn’t. I gave up loading content there in the summer again as it was giving me uploading errors continuously. I just tried to upload an image today and it works. Koinup would be ideal for virtual world users to use, I just wish it was more stable and stayed that way. For now I’ll try using it more often again.
- Ipernity – Ipernity is an independent, non-commercial photo sharing community with more than 25,000 active registered users worldwide. I honestly don’t like it very much and can’t really see myself using it. Their free accounts also have restrictions:
- no more than 200 MB of added content per month
- 30 MB max per file added
- only your 200 latest photos and videos are accessible (your older content disappears but is not deleted. They reappear again if you become a member of the ipernity Club) as of June, 3 2014
- some ads may appear on your pages
- no color customization of your pages
- no possibility of downloading: you cannot download your content to your computer nor offer this possibility to your visitors.
- you can join up to 100 groups
- no priority support
For a free photo storage option, I also want to mention that I am using Google Photos as a backup. You can back up unlimited photos and videos for free, up to 16MP and 1080p HD and access them from any phone, tablet, or computer by going to photos.google.com. This is not a photo networking site, just a photo storage option if you are looking to keep your memories safe in another way.
Let me know if you guys think of other alternatives that may be better than these. Also please fill out the poll below and feel free to add any networks you think should be on the list in the other section.
Please note that multiple selections are allowed in the poll in case you plan to post your images on more than one network. (If you do not see the poll embedded below, please try turning off your ad blocker, thank you).
UPDATE: People requested I add in Ello and Imgur to the poll, so I did. But I don’t really think we can build communities there. Ello maybe, and I do have an account there, but Imgur doesn’t seem much like it would work. I’ve also added Pinterest, which may work.
If you decide to stick with Flickr and go Pro like I have, just a reminder that they do have a 30% off the first year discount available through November 30, 2018.
I hope this post helps us continue to create communities on more platforms so we can keep our memories safe and also get to know each other more. Please feel free to share links to your photo sharing profiles in the comments so we can all follow and strengthen the community. Thank you.
UPDATE: I’ve done another blog post with some Flickr tips for those that are staying: Flickr Tips for Virtual World and Digital Artists