A few days ago, Flickr gave me the not-so-subtle warning that my account was about to expire. Since I’ve had a pro-Flickr account for a full year now, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the service so far.
Flickr sort of came to the limelight about 18-24 months ago as one of the leading websites that had real Web 2.0 technology. If you haven’t been there you should definitely check it out. Most of the website utilizes Ajax and as you use it, sometimes it feels more like an application than a mere website, and that was really one of their original selling points.
Most people would probably be surprised to learn that they were once a Vancouver company. I actually popped by their office before (located in a small Yaletown room, next to UBVideo) they were acquired by Yahoo. I’m honestly not too sure if they still have employees here, but last time I was in that building it looked like their doors were closed forever.
I’m actually a really big fan of Flickr. Not only have I really learned alot by looking at other people’s photographs, I have also even made a few new friends in the real world thanks to the active user base and community feeling ingrained in the website. If you don’t want to purchase a pro-account, you can still upload photos and take part in all the online photographs, you are just limited in how much you can upload each month, and how many sets/collections you can make. But for $25 a year, it’s really a no brainer for anyone who enjoys photography. Plus, they promise to keep all your original photos archived for you in case you lose them.
I liked Flickr so much that I wrote a WordPress plugin a few months ago to tie my blog closer to my Flickr account (I’m almost done the next version — should be cool). That experience has given me a really up-close look into the entire Flickr back-end API system that developers can use. While other sites have tried to mimic the functionality, I think Flickr really did a good job helping developers utilize their technology. That’s not to say it’s without faults — I’ve emailed them on multiple occasions about the clunkiness of some of their APIs, and how with a few small changes they could drastically reduce the number of queries they have to manage (and as a plugin developer, I’m forced to generate). But other than that, it works quite well.
The only negative aspect I can really think of is that some people take the whole group concept too far and almost turn it into a popularity contest. Whenever I post a “good” photo, I usually get a few people inviting me to their groups with these really ugly banners meant to demonstrate what their group is about. I really hate it, and I wish I had the option within my account preferences to turn off group invites completely.
I’m really looking forward to another year of photos on Flickr, and seeing just what they have in store this year for changes to the website.