For the last months, many bloggers and journalists have noticed the raise of 500px, instagram, and other photo sharing websites whereas the old and fading lady of this kind, Flickr, was just doing… nothing. Some were saying, more in a provocative way, that Flickr is dead.
First, one should understand why: that’s easy, Yahoo! has been into a major restructuring for months (if not more), and being a product into such an organization means “you can’t take any real decision”. In a way or another, it will eventually change. OK one may argue it could last and damaged a lot Flickr, fair enough, but from my personal experience, I find this scenario unlikely. The Flickr team has been waiting for too long, and the management of Yahoo! will have to take a decision, at least will make possible some evolutions of the photo sharing website at, at least, a reasonable pace. It is not like if Flickr has less means, people or money than the others, it is just Yahoo! which is a crazy mess right now and mess does not last forever. Companies die, break or come back, but can’t be messy too long.
Now let’s come to Flickr main assets versus its directs so called competitors: its vibrant and large community. I tried other photo sharing websites, but this one is really active and the diversity is so great, one can really explore the realm of photography, from casual shooters posting their last vacations pictures to serious professional, even if they all tend not to like Flickr any more but that’s easy to understand:
Flickr main weakness is obviously displaying the pictures (obsolete and ugly for 2012), and the browsing experience (too many clicks). It is complicated to solve these issues, given the size of the community (I am an engineer so I can get it), but other did it and again, I believe Flickr can do it. Conversely, acquire such a community and make it so vibrant is not a technological impediment. Facebook prevailed upon myspace, but there are not so many Facebook and a big and vibrant community is a real asset, quite tough to acquire.
The other photo sharing websites are interesting, but none can offer what Flickr has. A place for photography, for photographers, for all of them.
Therefore, I would not bury so fast Flickr, they are not dead, they have just been sleeping. Please wake up guys! Photography needs you!