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The New Flickr is Lovely to Look at But Users Are Crying Foul




Yahoo’s had a busy week. First, they took over Tumblr and then they redesigned their old photo storage service Flickr. (Or was it the other way around?)

Flickr’s an interesting beast. Like many aging websites, there was a time when everyone knew it and used it. But in the last few years, people have slowly migrated their photos over to Facebook or Google+ and Flickr’s been on a downhill slide.

In order to renew interest, Yahoo invested in a lovely new design that even made me, the girl with only 35 pictures in her account, come back.

flickr new design

The new layout features a grid of big, high-resolution photos under a photo header. They also added a new slideshow option with enhancing software that finds the focal point of your photo and makes it better. The photos look great here because you can upload your pics at full resolution. You also don’t have to worry about running out of space because they’re giving everyone a terabyte of space for free. How much is a terabyte? “Well, you could take a photo every hour for forty years without filling one.”

Flickr also added the ability to upload videos up to 3 minutes long and they redesigned their Android app to go along with the new webpage design.

Wonderful, right?

Of course not.

There’s trouble in photo paradise as evidenced by this post from the management on the help forum.

Hello again everyone. We’ve made some big, giant changes to the site, and it will take some getting used to. We are listening, and value what you all have to say.

We are also committed to making sure the new pages are working properly, and will continue to make improvements as we hear more from you. Please do your part to make sure that people coming to the Forum for help or to report bugs and site issues get a chance to be heard.

For those of you who have reported bugs or other usability concerns already, we’ll be working over the following days to take stock of ongoing issues and respond when possible.

Finally, it should also go without saying that personal attacks against Staff or other users will not be tolerated, and may prevent your ability to take part in discussion here in the Help Forum.

Bugs are to be expected with a big change like this but they have to tell people to stop attacking the staff? Wow.

Part of the problem stems from the new pricing structure and, as always, ads. Previously, if you wanted to store a lot of photos, you could get a Pro plan for $24.95 a year. Now, all users can get for free what Pro users paid for only with ads. If you want to get rid of the ads, you have to pay $49.99 a year. The only other option is to upgrade to the Doublr account with 2 Terabytes of space and all it will cost you is $499.99 a year. No, I didn’t slip an extra 9 in there. That’s the price.

The feedback on the site contains the word ‘hate’ more times than I can count. There are currently over 15,000 responses and I haven’t seen one positive note in the pack. You expect a certain amount of descent whenever you make a major change to a website but this is insane.

If you’re looking for a place to archive your massive digital photo collection – the new free Flickr account is a bargain. Just don’t get too attached to the current look. I have a feeling it will change again very soon.

There’s a song from the Lil’ Abner movie that comes to mind, it’s called “Put ‘em Back the Way They Was.”

  • grammar what

    “You expect a certain amount of descent whenever you make a major change”

    The word you are looking for is dissent.

  • http://www.webmaisterpro.com/ Kaloyan Banev

    I personally like it, landed on Flickr by Monday early morning and was nicely surprised by this “Pinterestish” design.

  • Duncan

    I would be shocked if they changed it back to what it was. They are upsetting some core users, yes, but giving much more functionality to the general population. It’s a risky move, but they’ve already taken the step.

  • http://www.trackur.com/ Andy Beal

    Superficially it’s pretty, but Flickr has made it harder to get to certain settings, and other options have been completely omitted. Even their FAQ is not up to date with the new changes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.boris Cynthia Boris

      It does sound like they have some issues to iron out but it seems like they’re pandering to the lowest common denominator, not the hardcore fans. Is that a good thing or a bad thing.

  • Katja

    Actually, the article isn’t correct. Pro users had other features, including *unlimited* storage, photo stats, unlimited sets & collections, etc. Now, unlimited storage isn’t even offered, and for those people who shoot pictures professionally and who have been on the site for years and have tens of thousands of pictures, it’s unacceptable. I’m a Pro user, and I don’t use Flickr all that often, but over the years, I’ve amassed over 5000 photos on Flickr. Where you think it’s pretty for all your pictures to scroll down on your screen, it’s a mess to people who have a lot of pictures, and impossible to find anything specific, plus if you have a less than stellar internet connection, it takes forever. Furthermore, many people had a lot of text attached to the photos, and now all that text is hidden unless the picture – thrown in among thousands of others – is clicked on specifically. Add to that that the FAQs were not rewritten, and that there are bugs all over the place, plus a lot of the old site pops up in random places, and it’s no wonder that people – especially those paying for Flickr – are upset.

  • Jean Sinclair

    I’ve been a Flickr user for about five years but no more. It’s changed overnight from a photography website to a would be social network.

  • macgee

    I totally agree with Katja.

    I’m a pro (paying) user and fine art photographer and I used Flickr for many years as a place to organize and distribute my photo’s in a easy and organized way (over 3,000). It was an outlet to easily display my photographs but more importantly to display them on a clean and unadulterated screen; with the intent of letting each photo stand on it’s own without distractions. Even the photo’s sets were nicely isolated.

    Now flickr seems like I’m on Myspace or a Pinterest collage. It seems like the hectic look (current fashion) of the website is more important than my own images and this is where it fails in look and function. The impact of each photo is greatly diminished, not to mention that any real navigating is quickly tiring.

    I’m very sad to see flickr going down this path, I may have to transfer my portfolio to another site catering better to avid & pro photographers like Zenfolio.

  • drofmit

    Cynthia,
    There are pro’s and con’s to the “NEW” Fumblr…
    The biggest two con’s are:
    [A] No choice of background colour… you’ve got to have black!
    [B] The compulsory “justified” look and the fact that it is a continuous rollin’ fill of them

    A lot of the bad comments would go way away if the programmers addressed those two points…

    As a professional graphic artist I need to have some say over what the background is…
    and how many BLACK art galleries have you visited…
    the colours are almost invariably neutral.

    Even the ghastly “magnolia” makes a good picture background…

    Comments from B&W photographers have pointed out that their pictures are vanishing at the edges… that is no way to have your carefully thought out work displayed.
    I hate BLACK!!
    And I hate their two line comment box…. yes, I know it can be stretched.

    The best “pro” is the full screen slide show… and… I’ll type the word carefully… black… [ugh]… does work with that…. so much so that I have now turned both the screen saver and automatic screen rest off and am using a manual start of the slideshow when I leave the machine for a period of time… my screen is a wide graphics screen and it adds a new dimension to the workspace.

    I’m going to stay with Fumblr until my, now ripped off, “Pro”….
    [in bunny ears because we aren’t professional any more… Ms MM told us so]…
    account expires….
    a lot of the comments are from formerly “Pro” account holders because we purchased….
    or were led to believe that it was a purchase…
    a pictorial web arena for our work…

    But what this fiasco has made me do…
    is make a parallel move to both ipernity and pbase…
    where there is still control over how my pictures are displayed…
    and then I’ll probably link the lot by a cut and paste tag that I’ll add to the bottom of each photo descriptor.

    Others might do the same thing to their sites…
    so I’m going to put many eggs in many baskets!

  • shane20

    Wow, I really like the new one though. Huge money will coming out I guess :) Australia puzzles, new zealand puzzles

  • http://www.facebook.com/sujit1779 Sujit Kumar Singh

    I like the change, not because of UI change, but 1 TB is definitely a lot. Now I can upload all my photos there, but we shouldn’t trust flickr fully. Have backup at multiple places. I use picbackman for this, its easy and automatic, Is there any other alternate?

  • shane20

    Wow, I really like the new one though. Huge money will coming out I guess :) Australia puzzles

  • David Muggleton

    No the New Flickr is awful to look at!

  • Peter Levitan

    Yikes. Reading the negative responses makes me want to ask 2 key questions:

    1) Are the negative responders a small fraction of the user base? My point being that there will always be unhappy campers when a major website / service makes changes. Yahoo! should listen but there will always be complainers.

    2) Did Yahoo! test the revisions with a sample of its user base? I hope so.

    P

  • ozwildbird

    I can no longer use my accounts on Flickr as it displays as HTML since they updated it. Would not consider paying for something I cannot use. Replying to enquiries received through my account is near impossible. Flickr never replied to my emails even though they were acknowledged receiving them with a standard reply. My IT person has tried a few times to find out why it displays incorrect and so have I, endlessly. Brand new computer built specifically for photography, using Windows 7, so not he PC fault. I now use Photobucket ………why stuff something up that worked perfectly? Greatly dissappointed.