As Verizon starts to break up Yahoo – or should I say, “what is left of it” – Flickr has been bought by SmugMug, an independent family-run photo sharing website and image hosting service.
Yahoo has certainly seen its glory days and is now being sold off – one piece at a time. It’s sad to see one the world’s first internet tech companies falling apart like that – but that’s life in Silicon Valley. Flickr, which had been acquired by Yahoo back in 2005, wasn’t doing that great – and when Yahoo was bought by Verizon a few years back, we thought this would be a good chance for Flickr to get the attention it deserved. That didn’t happen. The photo-sharing service limped on; its users propping it up as time went by. Now that Flickr is being bought once again, this time by a family-run company there is some hope that it will regain its former glory.
The good news today is that its new owners have promised to bring it back to life.
Part of that effort is leaving some things just they way they were – plans and rates will remain the same. As Don MacAskill, SmugMug’s CEO explains in an exclusive interview with USA Today: “Flickr’s free accounts are foundational to its community of influential and engaged photographers.” So, yes, its 75 million users can expect their billions of photos to be safe and sound.
SmugMug is not a typical Silicon Valley firm. Founded back in 2002 by father and son Chris and Don MacAskill, it is a family business holding out against the mega-tech companies. Don MacAskill now says that he and his team are “committed to breathing new life into the faded social networking pioneer, which hosted photos and lively interactions long before it became trendy.”
A “longtime fan” of the service, MacAskill promises “take a detailed look at the business and make sure it’s growing and healthy.”
What the future holds exactly for Flickr still remains to be seen, but it seems like its new owners will treat the company, its services, and its users with respect. If anything, the MacAskills also plan to reward users for their loyalty. “We try to listen to our customers and when enough of them ask for something that’s important to them or to the community, we go and build it,” concludes its CEO.
Fingers crossed – Flickr may live to see another day.
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