May 26, 2022

Flickr doesn’t know how to make money, but as the old saying goes, sex sells. So in In an effort to attract higher paying customers, Flickr changed its content policies to only Permission Flickr Pro users can post “restricted” or “moderate” content, including photos of “full nudity and sexual acts”.

Frankly, this is not a bad move – it could be more effective than asking customers to refer their friends to pay for Flickr.

When SmugMug took over photo hosting in 2018, CEO Don MacAskill hoped to make the service profitable, calling it “the core of the entire Internet.” But it wasn’t just the CEO’s hyperbole — MacAskill was right. Flickr is a historical archive. Firstly, it shows actual historical images, but also describes the visual history of the world since 2004 through the lens of millions of people. It would be sad if it all disappeared.

But Flickr is very expensive to use because it stores a lot of data online. For a while, there was no reason to pay for Flickr, since all users had free terabytes of storage for their photos. But under the control of SmugMug, Flickr limited the number of photos that free users could store, reducing that terabyte of data to 1,000 photos. Flickr has also warned users that their photos may be removed after a certain date. These important changes were made to encourage users to keep their personal archives by upgrading to a paid plan.

So far, Flickr says it hasn’t removed any uploads yet (thank you Flickr, but that also means I wasted an afternoon in 2019 zipping everything I’ve ever posted downloading). But it still doesn’t make any money, hence the NSFW download invite axis.

“Photographers who create and create work that can be somewhat risky will have a safe space to connect with each other, share mutual interests, and take their art out into the world without fear of it being removed or banned from the community altogether. Love,” wrote Flickr CEO Alex Sevilla. Blog postme meBut so far, we have not been in a hurry to choose a location for these photographers.”

As for the less compelling news, Flickr continues to restrict user activity with their free accounts. Today’s announcement also states that free users can now only post 50 private photos.

“Your photos have been sent to us, but we love having them discovered, added to groups, and even more in photo contests,” Sevilla explains. “We will never turn you down if you want a secure place to store your images for life. You only need a Pro membership to do this.”

Flickr says it will notify free users how and when these updates affect their accounts. But the market Flickr is targeting to increase subscription revenue is very specific: people uploading personal photos (up to 1,000) and NSFW photographers. We hope nude photos can save this part of the internet.

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