Flickr Users Should Buy Flickr

In the wake of the sort-of confirmed rumor that Delicious was on shaky ground at Yahoo, Flickr users are understandably concerned about the future of their beloved service.

Thomas Hawk’s (@thomashawk) speculation about Flickr’s value to Yahoo sparked a round of conversation, even if his methodology wasn’t terribly accurate. The obvious fear among heavy Flickr users is that Yahoo will be forced to address its bottom line issues by forcing Flickr into profitability, or if it’s already there, into higher margins.

Neither of these prospects bodes well for the service’s continued operation as usual.

Anyway, from my experience with Flickr’s hardocore users is that they are hugely passionate about the service, as well as highly opinionated on how it should run.

So, why not start a self-funded collection to buy Flickr from Yahoo?

Don Park (@donpdonp) suggests a Kickstarter (@kickstarter) project. Why not? Sounds like a plan.

Flickr’s users are very passionate, which could translate into something great. I can see a user-owned Flickr doing some real good, both for its users and for the burgeoning user-generated content producers out there. This version of Flickr could reform Creative Commons and facilitate its enforcement. This Flickr could foster digital photography as art and pave the way for a new generation of content production. This Flickr could be a haven for people fleeing Facebook and Google.

Of course, this Flickr could just as easily die in a blaze of glory as high-minded idealists bickered over minutia and failed to make any money.

Still, it would be an interesting experiment.




  1. I think that flickr is trying to create an atmosphere that is more acceptable to advertisers so no material that is the least bit controversial will be tolerated…

  2. Not really sure how that’s relevant to this post, but sure, I suppose. Yahoo did freak out a bit a couple times over content on Flickr.

  3. Sorry, Disqus trapped this as spam, probably due to the links.

    It was a semi-serious suggestion. Flickr recently nuked a Pro user’s entire photo library accidentally. There is no undo switch. I’m reminded of Monty Python, “how could it be any worse?”

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