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Is Flickr Flickering Out? Or Is It Turning Pro?
By: Andy Weiss
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Next week Flickr is introducing the first of many changes to the Flickr interface. The revamping bears the stamp of Markus Spiering, who took over the Yahoo product’s helm a year ago. The retro blue link look with its small photos has apparently been shed for a more robust, photo-centric look complete with drag-and-drop and a new upload tool. The changes bring a much-needed redesign to the photo-sharing site, but it is enough?
Flickr averages 3.5 million photo and video uploads a day, but the marketplace has become increasingly crowded since Yahoo purchased the site in 2005 — two full years before the introduction of the iPhone. For anyone who wants to share or post photos, Flickr is not the only or even the best or even least expensive option. There’s the free Photobucket, the group-sharing ZangZing, and the now-socially-connected Picasa and Google+ integration. And with an average of 250 million photos uploaded daily, Facebook is clearly the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
So where does that leave Flickr? The revamped interface and an upcoming integration into Yahoo Mail might be table stakes in the current photo-sharing game. But outside the current group of Flickr devotees, the moves do not appear to be game-changers that would attract or engage a new crop of users. As a primarily ad-driven site, that does not bode well for Yahoo or Flickr. Therefore, that may suggest the need to shift Flickr’s business model and migrate more of the user base to the paid Flickr Pro option. Last month, the site may have tipped its hand on this strategy by changing its pricing structure to include a new three-month option and lower price on the two-year subscription.
Be sure to check out the new Flickr interface when it goes live on the Feb. 28.

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About the Author
Andy Weiss is a digital direct marketer, consumer evangelist, change agent, and cultural anthropologist.
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