YAHOO SEEMS DETERMINED to impress its log-in services on Flickr by requiring Old Skool members to take a Yahoo! ID before accessing Flickr services after 15 March 2007. This requirement will result in a drop in activity by older members because there's nothing compelling about a Yahoo! identity for most people. Old Skool Flickr users (that would be me too) have not asked for a Yahoo identity. WHY IS FLICKR TRYING TO PISS OFF LOYAL MEMBERS? Yahoo uses its sign-in process and attaches cookies to its IDs to effectively collect demographic information that it exploits for maximum marketing potential. There is no apparent benefit for old skool members on Flickr who do not avail of Yahoo! services. Some distrust Yahoo! and its brand. Here's one reason why:
If you associated your Flickr account with your Yahoo! ID and you delete your Yahoo! account, you won't be able to sign in to your Flickr account. And all your photos will be deleted.
Flickr stopped being an adventure playground a year after its core team moved from Canada. It lost its alternative air when its developers had to drink the Yahoo! Kool-Aid. Once they did that, they subordinated member interest to a corporate vision.
I actually like Yahoo! but not for photo collections. I like Flickr because of social networking. The professional connections I have as a paid Yahoo! small business subscriber differ from the social networking I enjoy with Flickr.
You get one kind of person through Yahoo! IM and another kind of personality through Flickr Mail. The two would rarely attend the same events in real life together. They are unlikely to benefit from being inside the same log-in system with Yahoo!
I will be interested in what follows in the space of photo-sharing after March 2007 when Flickr closes its doors on Old Skool sign-ins. I'm really interested in what Dave Winer will do if his online photo collection is scrubbed. He will need something other than a token offering from Yahoo!
In fairness, there are some good reasons for a merged Flickr-Yahoo! identity. Settling on one log-in system reduces some coding requirements. This is a big issue when new language versions appear on Flickr later in 2007. Several new projects will require Flickr users to sign in with Y!IDs. This affects me with my mobile phone when using m.flickr.com and the new Yahoo! Go mobile services.
I want to believe Stewart Butterfield when he says that Flickr is impressing the corporate brand on its oldest, most loyal members but then I look at Zoomr's support for more than 17 different languages and its movement to OpenID. Translation on an email log-on page is very simple for a coder who knows the ropes.
Flickr Forums -- "Flickr Old Skool Merger Topic"
Danny Sullivan -- "Yahoo Rapped Over Funding Spyware"
BBC -- "Yahoo Helped Jail Chinese Writer"
CNET -- "Yahoo IM Users Get More Than They Bargained For"
Thomas Hawk -- " There's Some Mighty Pissed Off Flickr Members Right Now"