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December 24th 2012 11:48 am

Did you migrate back to Flickr?

Anyone who was on the Internet last week probably heard about the changes to Instagram's Terms of Service, where they say they can sell your photos to advertisers and other such commercial interests... at least, that's what everyone was going around saying. The Verge laid it out here:


Eventually they reversed course on the changes, but maybe it was too little, too late:


It seems a lot of Instagram users migrated back to Flickr. The timing is certainly good for them, as they've just released their new app for iOS, which includes:
  • It's now easier than ever to share your Flickr photos on Facebook
  • Get instant notifications when your Facebook friends join Flickr
  • Easily find your Twitter contacts on Flickr
  • New notifications when someone comments on a photo you've also commented on


It's obvious that many of the changes are geared toward improving the social experience, which paled in comparison (and lost users) to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I happened to start using Flickr again last month after I bought my new camera (the gdgt Must-have Sony Cyber-shot RX100 gdgt.com­/sony­/cyber­-shot­/dsc­-rx100/), mostly because of the ability to display my images at larger sizes and work with them on the web. I wasn't expecting to see a lot of traffic, given the migration to Instagram and other services. So I was surprised when my inbox lit up with friend requests in the past week and a half.

I'm certainly happy to see people back on Flickr, but I wonder how long this will last. Flickr has a good opportunity here to win back users it lost due to its slow adoption of the mobile scene. The new app is a good start, but what do you think?

Also, if you have a Flickr account, check your front page. There should be a message from Flickr with an offer of three months of Flickr Pro. I assume this is their way of trying to retain users and show them the value they get when actually pay for a product. Even if you don't like paying for web services, it's still worth a look.

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3 replies

I'm thinking about it. For me it's not about the quality of the snapshots I post to Instagram, it's that they're *my* snapshots. As some random Internet commentator said on one of the countless threads about this, I'm not really keen on a friend's silly mug (or mine) being used for a herpes ad. I read their retraction and their whole "no no no, we'd never do that, you totally misunderstood us" approach feels really smarmy. There was nothing confusing about the language they used in the changed TOS and their response to the uproar just seemed like a whole lot of back-pedaling.

I like Instagram's API and community. Flickr also has a great API and a huge community, but in order to go back to them, I have to get over their fuddy-duddiness. And their Yahoo!-ness.
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Nope - haven't migrated back to Flickr. I think this is all a kneejerk reaction. I've played with the Flickr app and, while it's pretty nice, I still prefer Instagram. Ultimately I think the TOS changes were blown completely out of proportion. I personally don't care if they want to sell my crappy photos - I'm not a photographer, and I'm not paying to use their service. I just wouldn't post photos on there that I would want to retain all ownership over. But that's not how I use Instagram - I use it for quick photos of the now, essentially Twitter via images.

The only thing that worries me is that my social network will remain off of Instagram. If that happens, I'd probably just stop using social photo sharing apps all together. Since I don't take great photos, and I generally don't want to show them off, I don't see a need to spend money on Flickr Pro. I'd rather just keep everybody on Instagram where I can just quickly browse these image status updates and move on.
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Even though the uprage was based on confusion, I'll be glad if all the more serious photographers move back to Flickr so we can stop seeing 250x250px filtered garbage of what one is about to digest.
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