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Yahoo Photos to Flickr Out

By Fred J. Aun
May 4, 2007 11:00 AM PT

Yahoo Photos' days were numbered once Yahoo purchased Web-based digital photo storage site Flickr in 2005. Now, Yahoo Photos' number has come up.

Yahoo Photos to Flickr Out

Yahoo has decided to close the increasingly unpopular Yahoo Photos this summer, and it is urging users to transfer their pictures to Flickr. Yahoo is making the task as simple as possible during the three-month transitional period, the company stated.

"Our increased focus on Flickr aligns with Yahoo's mission to connect people to their passions, their communities and the world's knowledge, while focusing on delivering value to consumers and advertisers," said Yahoo Network Division Executive Vice President Jeff Weiner.

Yahoo is also shuttering its United States and Canada auction sites. The moves are part of an overall consolidation of Yahoo properties so the company can "focus on core strategic priorities," Yahoo representative Devon Corvasce told TechNewsWorld.

Making It Easy

While Yahoo is understandably suggesting people transfer their Yahoo Photos images to Flickr, the company said it will offer easy ways for users to move the files to other online photo sites including Flickr, Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, Snapfish and Photobucket. As a means of prompting them to choose Flickr, Yahoo is giving away three-month subscriptions to Flickr Pro.

Flickr currently has almost 8 million registered users who have "uploaded and shared around 485 million photos," according to Yahoo. The company said Flickr is a more modern site than Yahoo Photos and more aligned with Web 2.0's social networking attributes.

"People are changing the way they use photography, and we have decided to shift our focus accordingly," noted Corvasce. "Now that digital photography is both prevalent and easy, it is quickly evolving from its original purpose as a means to preserve memories into a social activity that allows people to communicate and connect.

Gaining Popularity

Flickr, which Yahoo said enables people to "communicate through photos," enjoyed a 138 percent increase in U.S. audience during the past year, according to comScore WorldMetrix.

Through Flickr, both casual and more advanced digital photographers can post their pictures for sharing and order prints that can be shipped to their homes or to local Target stores. Flickr recently increased upload and storage limits so that free members can now upload up to 100 MB per month. "Pro" members, for US$25 a year, get unlimited storage, unlimited upload, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited photo sets and permanent archiving of high-resolution images, noted Yahoo.

Flickr also allows "geo tagging," wherein members can "find photos from around the globe they may not have otherwise discovered," Yahoo said.

Where's the Money?

The move makes sense, said David Etchells, founder of Imaging Resources, a Web site focused on digital photography. "It's kind of an obvious move if both services were under a single umbrella," Etchells told TechNewsWorld. "Yahoo Photos didn't have anything like the brand awareness Flickr does. Flickr is not just a photo storage site, it really keys into the whole social networking thing, the heart of Web 2.0."

However, while Flickr is in harmony with the Web 2.0 blueprint, "about giving people on the Web an ability and tools for social networking," Etchells wonders if any company has figured out a good way to make money from online photo storage and sharing.

"Web 2.0 seems to be a lot about getting huge numbers of users involved in social networking," he said. "But we really haven't seen the monetization of Web 2.0 either. I think all this Web 2.0 stuff is pretty weakly monetized."


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