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Flickr responds to 'Dear Marissa Mayer' appeal with an appeal of its own

By dpreview staff on Jul 20, 2012 at 00:12 GMT

When Marissa Mayer was named new CEO of Yahoo recently, Los Angeles-based journalist Sean Bonner posted an appeal for her to 'please make flickr awesome again', signing it 'the Internet'. On his blog, Bonner commented that Flickr, was acquired by Yahoo in 2005, needs someone to 'put some support behind it, bring it up to date, give it an actually functional mobile app and commit to keeping it alive'. 

Sean Bonner's appeal to new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to 'please make Flickr awesome again' has been tweeted more than 20,000 times since he posted it on July 17th.

Claiming that 'it’s no secret that everyone blames Yahoo! for killing Flickr' Bonner created the appeal in the hope that '[Meyer] could be the one to breath life back into it'. His appeal went viral, and today Flickr - which by its own account hosts more than five billion digital images - posted a response, copying the style of Bonner's original open letter.

Addressed 'dear Internet', Flickr's reply invites users to 'come help us make Flickr awesomer' and contains a link to where interested potential applicants can find details of several open positions.

Flickr's tongue-in-cheek response to Bonner's appeal asks for help to 'make flickr awesomer' and provides a link to open positions at the photo-sharing site. 

Although it still has a massive user-base, Flickr has been challenged in recent years by a new wave of competitors including social networking sites like Facebook, which offer increasingly advanced photography-oriented features, and dedicated sharing apps such as Instagram (now also owned by Facebook). 

Are you a Flickr user? Are you satisfied, or do you think it needs to be made 'more awesome'? Or have you turned away from Flickr altogether, in favour of other photo-sharing sites? Let us know. 



Total comments: 156
Tony Tanoury
By Tony Tanoury (Jul 28, 2012)

Flickr is terrific! Any more useful improvements they make will be icing on the cake.
I like it much better than others that I've tried such as Picasa, PBase, PhotoSig and others. Flickr ROCKS!

1 upvote
ronny hermans
By ronny hermans (Jul 27, 2012)

I've been with Flickr a long time now, and have almost stopped twice. Once because I couldn't get the look and structure I wanted and the second time because I felt obbligated to comment on everything.
I've got smugmug now to because i like how you can customize almost everything, but thats me ( but I still use flickr because it's imho still the best community.
Looking at all the other systems available they might look slicker but there isn't so much difference

1 upvote
By beeguy956 (Jul 25, 2012)

I find it odd that so many people are complaining about the interface looking "old". Every interface "upgrade" that I've seen in the last ~10 years - Google, Facebook, just about any web page, Adobe programs, Windows, MS Office, MacOS since early versions of OS X - has made them look worse. I'm just glad they haven't screwed it up!

1 upvote
Bryan Costin
By Bryan Costin (Jul 23, 2012)

This is a really tone-deaf response to a sincere plea from their users. I've been a flickr user for a long time. The site has stagnated and no longer does anything particularly well. Causal users moved to Facebook. Professionals drifted over to SmugMug. Semi-professionals set up accounts at 500px. Mobile photographers moved to Instagram, tumblr, or similar alternatives. Uploading my pics to flickr and sharing them with the contacts and groups I participated in was exciting and fun; now it feels more like an obligation.

There's no better example of the problem than the official flickr mobile app. It was an embarrassment when it was released and has never become more than barely adequate. I've read that this is the result of interoffice politics within Yahoo. That's unfortunate, but if flickr's internal management can't be bothered to champion their own product and figure out a solution for their customers, then I can't be bothered to make excuses for them.

By leogarber (Jul 23, 2012)

Yes, Flickr was my first choice to upload photographs in a secure place. Now, I am a Picasa user, as Google is leading the race to merge Photography,Video, Blogging and even the creation of web pages, which seem to be the way things may go in the next 5 years. Cinema, TV, telephone and internet will be one, soon as the market sees a profit to be made. Owning your editorial means to place photos, videos and text is a fact NOW. So either one keeps up with the times or one has to step aside, to let the inevitable happen. When a device can take videos, photographs and text and send it through the web woldwide, the media, as we know it, will be history. So, it is not enough to be the first, its trying to keep up with change, what will make an idea be perennial or a thing of the past. CHOOSE!

Leopoldo García

Jaded Snapper
By Jaded Snapper (Jul 22, 2012)

Shame he put breath rather than breathe, otherwise it would have made sense.

By apiza (Jul 21, 2012)

flickr sucks!

By BJBigler (Jul 21, 2012)

Of the photo sharing sites I've seen, Flickr offers the best overall experience for my purposes. I actually like that they haven't done much to change the format, as it means I don't have to keep "retraining" my parents and other relatives on how to view photos of their grandkids. Uploading through Lightroom is a breeze, and being able to reupload after changing a photo gives me huge flexibility. I can upload a draft for quick sharing, then fix elements later (especially handy for scanning negatives with dust or scratches). If the photo's EXIF info is done correctly, Flickr will display the three main data points that I want to see -- when, who, and where -- without having to dig into pop-ups or other pages. It also makes assigning photos to multiple albums ("sets," in the lingo) terrifically easy. I could go on...

I'm sure Flickr isn't "cool" anymore, but for me it's pretty close to perfect.

Lu Heng
By Lu Heng (Jul 22, 2012)


AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (Jul 26, 2012)

Agree, I have no serious complaints about the site but the mobile platform support is atrocious.

I don't understand some of the posts here about preferring Picassa -- the online galleries and tools for managing them are terrible (I'm referring to the online portion, not the Windows/OSX client).

John P.
By John P. (Jul 21, 2012)

Flickr will NEVER be as good as Iphoto or Picassa!!

1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (Jul 22, 2012)

iPhoto is a photo sharing site??

By CCyber (Jul 21, 2012)

Some features I would like to see (some maybe only for PRO accounts):

-native RAW/DNG Support and storage/backup
-at least a white and a black skin, better would be an additional 1 or 2 gray skins, too
-better integration (sync) in Lightroom/Aperture,etc. or alternatively a real desktop app to manage my files, not just an uploader
-a complete overhaul of the user interface, making use of web 2.0 technologies like AJAX, etc.
-custom resizing (option to add 1 or 2 user defined sizes to the ones defined by Flickr)
-more liberal linking options
-a more flexible API regarding EXIF, descriptions, etc.
-a market place to sell photos,prints,etc.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By Spectro (Jul 22, 2012)

yup, I would like them improve selling photos on flickr too. I just got over a millions views and that is volume. If they make it seamlessly for customers to easily buy my photos, then I am all for that. Tried smug mug once and nobody use that much. Flickr has more people looking at photos then any other site. ( Facebook, you really see only your friends' photos, so that isn't the point).

Plus filckr has a better community of photographers all over the world and groups then any other photo sites I seen. Must websites, government agency news have a flickr account or group. You can upload to these group and they might be seen on a wesite or newspaper. So, while the flickr look maybe dated and needs an upgrade, it shear number, groups, and popularity makes it better for most non-pro.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By xlynx9 (Jul 23, 2012)

-usable forums.

1 upvote
By CCyber (Jul 21, 2012)

This reply by Flickr/Yahoo shows clearly what is typical for most things coming from Yahoo after the original web directory - a total lack of visions and understanding of usability. Interstingly enough, they are only looking for engineers and programmers. As if the problems of Flickr had anything to do with a lack of programming or engineering talent. Actually their superb resizing engine prooves that their programmers are top notch. What they really need is a product manager with a clear vision of the future and a background from the photographic industry. I would hate to see Flickr become just another social picture sharing site - leave all the handy shooters to Facebook & Co. Instead they should focus on the serious photographer (professional or amateur) who is interested in presenting photographs, not snapshots.

By ThomasH_always (Jul 21, 2012)

I never found Flikr attractive, period. I do not care about it. The looks of our photography are ugly with it, lacks camera/lens database. In other words, it lacks a photographers orientation. Yahoo photos were also bad, and as they deleted these, I never looked back and for the most part I am happy with pBase. That is though a complicated issue, and I looked several times for alternatives. Flickr was always on the very bottom of the list.

Others have mentioned Lightroom/Aperture support, etc. Personally I say no, no interest at all. I want the operating system support to be the intermediary. No senseless bloat with more and more "intelligent" features, which offer no additional function but more learning, dependency and more maintenance.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Rick Knepper
By Rick Knepper (Jul 21, 2012)

Leave it alone. Let the whiners go elsewhere.

chris maytag
By chris maytag (Jul 21, 2012)

I find Flickr's response they think that it's a lack of employees that has made the site lose its appeal? Don't hire new programmers. Hire new bosses.

1 upvote
By MarkInSF (Jul 21, 2012)

Yahoo has earned a reputation for being a dull, unrewarding place to work without the nice employee benefits of other big tech companies. There is a major labor shortage right now in this field and being unable to hire first rate engineering talent has a massive effect on what Yahoo can accomplish. A lack of engineering capability also makes it hard to hire visionary managers. They don't like working in a place where their ideas can't be accomplished. Besides, managers are recruited personally, not by requests for resumes. Marissa Mayer has an excellent reputation that will make it easier for Yahoo to hire serious talent. I hope she puts some work into improving the work environment so they can keep good people.

1 upvote
chris maytag
By chris maytag (Jul 21, 2012)

I've been a Flickr user since way, way before the Yahoo takeover. Once Yahoo came in, things were fine for a while (read: until the yahoo management team figured out how to use the new phone system and started changing things), then went to hell. User support was bad, yahoo's user-hostile deletion policies were notorious, and coupled with lack of innovation and a visual experience rivaled in stark ugliness only by Google's pages combine to make Flickr a dinosaur.

By perspic (Jul 21, 2012)

flickr changed or improved little since as long as I know it. they don't apparently know where they should go so it doesn't matter to them anyway.

By AngryCorgi (Jul 21, 2012)

Some people think cucumbers taste better pickled.

By coffeefrog (Jul 21, 2012)

That response suggests that they are either not taking the criticism seriously, or worse, that someone in management there believes some kind of nonsense about the design of core products emerging spontaneously from all of the employees collectively. Either way they are doomed.

By teaboneski (Jul 20, 2012)

Flickr has a great community and probably the most comprehensive collection of images on the net. Its downfall is that the site looks like something out of 1999. I'd love to see a 500px-like user interface. That, plus the unparalleled user base of Flickr, would be a great combination.

Don't get me wrong, 500px is great as is, especially if you love landscapes and nudes, but Flickr's catalog contains a more than fair representation (to my mind's expanses) of every style of photography known to man - something most museums can't even boast. So, if Flickr (and "the Internet," I suppose) answer the call, I think their future is very bright.

1 upvote
Ross Alford
By Ross Alford (Jul 20, 2012)

Their community aspects were good but I have never liked the interface and the general approach to displaying images.

I've had a flickr account for years but my main hosting site is which makes it much easier to actually assemble nice galleries of your work in the format you want.

By eths (Jul 20, 2012)

500px is awesome.

By vcastelo (Jul 22, 2012)

Flickr needs many improvements, but have you seen the new Flickr presentations?, like this:

By jsam (Jul 20, 2012)

Better support for integration with the likes of Aperture and Lightroom. Their developers say Flickr makes this hard.

Default to a black background (or at least a border).

By samhain (Jul 20, 2012)

Moved to 500px and haven't looked back.

1 upvote
Max Thunder
By Max Thunder (Jul 20, 2012)

Money Money Money...

By Stone13 (Jul 20, 2012)

Honestly, I probably won't be renewing my Flickr Pro membership this year. There are just too many options out there that offer me more value for my dollar and I'm not talking about free options either. Yahoo treated Flickr like an asset and completely abandoned the community aspects of the site which is why it's gone way downhill....

Ivan Lietaert
By Ivan Lietaert (Jul 20, 2012)

It's not flickr, but the flickr users and their pictures that are awesome!
The depth of some threads goes very deep.

Who is Sean Bonner anyhow?!

chris maytag
By chris maytag (Jul 21, 2012)

Sean's a well known blogger at boingboing, among other things. Smart (and often funny) guy about a bunch of things.

Ivan Lietaert
By Ivan Lietaert (Jul 22, 2012)

He's a blogger, really?
So he's no photographer?
Then who cares?

By xchric (Jul 20, 2012)

Flickr resizing engine is the best out there. So it IS awesome.

By LiSkynden (Jul 20, 2012)

I never got why Flickr ended up so popular. Did people use Yahoo Photos already and it was popular and i just didnt know about it?

oops, i didnt know Filickr was acquired by Yahoo in 2005. SOrry. :D

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By OBI656 (Jul 20, 2012)

Flicker has UGLY interface and is in need of a big-time overhaul ... till then it will be just old NEVER awesome Flicker.

By Pentax_Prime (Jul 20, 2012)

Flickr was NEVER awesome. Always behind in terms of code, file linking, site design, and general usefulness. The best favor they could do for it is shut it down and start over. Tons of fake praise, compact camera shots, and meme's on that terrible site as well.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Jul 20, 2012)

seriously, how important is it that a free online filehoster is awesome? ^^

i mean it has fullscreen slideshows and it gives you the code to put them on your webpage.

i dont understand this guy claiming "the internet" want this and that^^

who cares its free when it starts to suck everyone will switch to a new plattform like everytime a page died.

By CAcreeks (Jul 20, 2012)

When was Flickr ever awesome?

By SeeRoy (Jul 20, 2012)

"Awesome..." Says it all, really. I remember Yahoo; they should have sold it whilst the offer was on the table. Dead in the water.

1 upvote
By customminds (Jul 20, 2012)

For a single person to make 71 million (Marissa Mayer)... you would think she would be the only one the company needed to hire to make flickr awesome again.

By onlooker (Jul 20, 2012)

Sometimes the company may have great engineers but a lack of vision. That comes from the top, and without it companies sink regardless of how talented the engineers are.

By lecoupdejarnac (Jul 20, 2012)

...and you could certainly never find anyone with vision for less than multi-millions of dollars. They need to pay that much to attract top talent!

Ahh the myths that the elite perpetuate...

Clint Dunn
By Clint Dunn (Jul 20, 2012)

Come on guys....what's next are you going to camp out on Yahoo's lawn in protest of the '1%'. I've never understood why some people begrudge the money others make. Trust me.....if I could make 70 million I would take it in a heartbeat, and so would you. Good for her.

1 upvote
By customminds (Jul 21, 2012)

Clint - Sure, why not. The article is basically the web telling Yahoo how to use their money (invest in Flickr). We might as well criticize their employee pay scale at the same time.

Michael Doleman
By Michael Doleman (Jul 20, 2012)

I'm not "unhappy" with Flickr--for the pittance that I pay for a Pro account, it does everything that I think it could be expected to do. The interface & usability experience could stand a bit of sprucing-up, is all, and perhaps a few more interesting "social" features. The way groups/tags are managed could use some re-thinking, too.
On the other hand, though, if Flickr wanted to charge more for various "premium" services, there are some interesting things they could do. The biggest example I could think of would be to offer a true cloud-based storage/backup service for entire archives, and make that service seamlessly integrate with Lightroom, Aperture, iPhoto, etc. Perhaps even go all the way and offer a bona-fide asset management system accessed directly through the site. That would be cool.

By migus (Jul 20, 2012)

Is anybody trying Picasaweb...?
Had 2k res, 1GB free/account, unlimited accounts (for greedy cheapskates such as I), Google-class of Bw (high!), original file support, Geolocation etc. since years ago... when Flickr and the rest were crawling at low-res, yet were popular.

Sample this in F11 Slideshow mode (i limited it to 1600x1200, over-compressed jPGs, but you'll get the taste of it)

1 upvote
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Jul 20, 2012)

As they say, "Picasa es tu casa" (sorry, couldn't resist...)

ronny hermans
By ronny hermans (Jul 27, 2012)

picasaweb is rather closed and now it's messed up by Google plus.

Doug Bale
By Doug Bale (Jul 20, 2012)

The improvement I would most like to see in Flickr is a filter that would catch multiple postings of the same photo, or of photos that are virtually identical. One of the chief pleasures of the site is the ability to seeing what other people are shooting. It's a pleasure severely diminished by people who take forty-seven virtually indistinguishable shots of the same thing and post every last one of them. It would be nice if Flickr had an algorithm that could tell when anyone does that, and if those peopler could then be required to select no more than three or four of images to keep on the site. It's called editing.

By NiallM (Jul 20, 2012)

That's a gripe i have with Flickr too, but the only way around it is to limit all users/members to a strict quota of daily uploads. 3 photos per day would suffice, then we'd be spared 35 photos of an oil tanker gradually exiting stage left...

1 upvote
Doug Bale
By Doug Bale (Jul 25, 2012)

No, what I'm proposing would let posters put up as many pictures as they chose, as long as the pictures aren't virtually identical — that is, if you fit one over the other there would be virtually no dissimilarities between them. Post sixteen pictures of your new baby if you must, but vary the angle, the distance, and wait till the kid changes expression.

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
By Roadrunner123 (Jul 20, 2012)

Very happy with flickr pro especially their views on copyright

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
By andywhoa (Jul 20, 2012)

Dear flickr,

None of the open positions are product management positions. A developer at a large company doesn't get to make the decisions. Only implement them.

By MarkInSF (Jul 21, 2012)

Not the final decisions, no, but almost all of Google's products and features originated with engineers. Google actively encourages their engineers to spend time coming up with new ideas. One reason it can keep great engineers happy.

Dolan Halbrook
By Dolan Halbrook (Jul 20, 2012)

Flickr is taking baby steps in bringing itself up to date, but not at the rate that it should. I've been on Flickr since 2005, so it's not like i'm going anywhere, but i'd certainly like to see improvements. The new justified view in contacts and group pool is a nice start. Now let's see them do something similar with the photostream itself.

M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Jul 20, 2012)

In overall I'm happy with how Flicker now is. Of course i have many preferences I like to be seen build in. One of that is personalization of your photo presentation, much better stats support, support of scripting/CSS and a few other things.

By fuurin (Jul 20, 2012)

Fix flickr performance, please. It's slow on response..

By Mescalamba (Jul 20, 2012)

Moved to 500px. When I post photos I want them to look good.. (and preferably reasonably big, not too big, but.. "enough"). Plus overall quality of work posted on Flickr is pretty low..

Daran Kandasamy
By Daran Kandasamy (Jul 25, 2012)

I agree :) 500px has a user base that posts quality photos overall as opposed Flickr where you get a lot of low quality "taken with my phone camera" type of shots :/ Am finding 500px much better

By aroundomaha (Jul 20, 2012)

Still have and like Flickr but the integration of the groups needs a LOT of work. Most are dead zones where people dump loads of images looking for public approval. Most groups are dead zones with little to no discussion, except for a few like Strobist. Smugmug is still where I post galleries as Flickr has never been able to supplant their focused presentation capabilities. I have zero interest in services such as Tumblr which makes you agree to allow them to use your images even if you delete your account. Flickr still has an opportunity to be something original that both protects photographers while enabling them to come together in a compelling way.

1 upvote
Joe Braun
By Joe Braun (Jul 20, 2012)

I used to use flickr, but like the Yahoo sites themselves, it desperately needs a facelift and interface update. Everything Yahoo does still looks like it's designed for the late 1990s. And while I'm ranting, other Yahoo sites/products like "groups" were promised updates that never happened. I hope this flickr movement will convince Yahoo to get out of the past with ALL of their products.

1 upvote
DotCom Editor
By DotCom Editor (Jul 20, 2012)

Me not care

1 upvote
By skiphunt13 (Jul 20, 2012)

I don't really use my flickr pro account for social networking. For me it's a very good place to host full res images for use in other flickr supported services like Magcloud. For what you get, unlimited storage on a very stable system with support from other services for the $29 annual fee is a good value.

By Bali_Mirage (Jul 20, 2012)

I had a Flickr Pro account for several years........about 3,000 photos and close to a million views. I took a look at Tumblr and switched. Much happier now.

By tbower (Jul 20, 2012)

As a Flickr user for seven years I would say that some improvement is in order. I think the social aspect of Flickr is important and as it is right now perfectly adequate. I would NOT want Flickr to compete with, or become another Facebook.

Most of my complaints are with the presentation of photos. That white background MUST go! Check out SmugMug for an example of what Flickr should be in that regard.

I have also noticed that Flickr has become slower....I'm not sure why. Also, Flickr has some odd rules on linking to external sites. I'm a musician as well as a photographer and tried to link to one of my songs on Soundclick which I have done in the past. Apparently, Flickr has added Soundclick to a banned list of explanation and the HELP section is worthless.

It also appears to me that Flickr doesn't listen or take seriously what users have to say about any aspect of the site. That will spell doom.

By Andrys (Jul 20, 2012)

As Michael J Davis says, check out which displays your public flickr photos in a flowing stream at the size you choose. It's amazing.
Sorry to hear about things like the lack of linking to Soundclick.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By JackM (Jul 20, 2012)

Flickr has always and will always -suck- for actually looking at photographs. Going "back" to where it came from will only increase the suckage.

By BelePhotography (Jul 20, 2012)

If find 500px quite awesome now :-)
Flickr just went wild with strange content and bad photos. It just wasn't for anyone with a serious interest in photography anymore. Or rather too much of it wasn't and distracted from the good content.

Hope they'll unclutter and the instagrams users will join instagram and leave Flickr alone ;-)

Just my personal opinion.


Total comments: 156