I can't quit you

18/06/2014 //

I renewed my Flickr Pro membership yesterday. I don’t check my Yahoo! mail account very often, but when I did, I found my Flickr Pro account had lapsed about a month ago. They were still sending me reminders about renewing, though. (I’m not sure why this stuff didn’t get sent to my active email, but mysterious ways, etc.)

So I pondered for a while whether or not I should let my membership lapse, then thought “eh … fuck it” and paid for the renewal. The thing is, I don’t have a properly informed opinion on whether or not it’s still worth it. Now, I have the the old, no longer available, Pro membership. It features no ads and unlimited space, so even if I’m nowhere close to the 1 TB limit, it would be sort of a shame to lose it; after all, once it expires, I can’t get it back.

The new pro version cost twice as much but has fewer features and finite storage. The ad free version is, well, ad free (except it’s often not, as many angry customers can attest, though to be fair, many Flickr users seem angry most of the time.). It’s is also far too expensive, at 50 dollars a year: Rival site 500px offers a far nicer interface and the equivalent of the old Flickr Pro at the same price point. To add insult to Yahoo!‘s injury, rival Google’s Plus, for all the guff it gets (sometimes from me), is also pretty good for photos.

I know Yahoo! (and consequently Flickr) is ad supported, and since paying for things is considered mostly for suckers these days, I’m going to assume they make more money from ads than the smattering of paying customers like myself. Obviously, it would make sense to try to move people to the ad-supported version, but only if they retain those users.

I like that Flickr is for amateurs and pros alike, and I also appreciate that I can use it as a design portfolio and for posting old paperback covers I come across. Still, I ultimately renewed because I’m hoping Flickr will become truly great again, not because it currently is. I don’t think it’s bad at all, but – last year’s new paint job notwithstanding – it’s pretty clunky compared to the aforementioned 500px.

We’ll see what happens in another two years, but in the end, I think a company probably wants more user motivation for renewing the service than “eh … fuck it”. I suspect the crew at Flickr are thinking the same thing, which may be the reason that renewal period kept stretching out.