27 April 2018

USA Today: “Exclusive: Flickr bought by SmugMug, which vows to revitalize the photo service”

SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill told USA TODAY he’s committed to breathing new life into the faded social networking pioneer, which hosted photos and lively interactions long before it became trendy.

SmugMug, an independent, family-run company, will maintain Flickr as a standalone community of amateur and professional photographers and give the long neglected service the focus and resources it deserves, MacAskill said in an exclusive interview.

MacAskill says he does not yet know what his plans are for Flickr’s business.

I don’t know what the future holds. This is a new model for me, he said. We certainly think we need to operate it with an eye to our cash flow and our profitability. We are going to have to take a detailed look at the business and make sure it’s growing and healthy.

Jessica Guynn

I’m relieved that Flickr has finally escaped from the languishing management of Yahoo, but I’m rather skeptical that this new owner will be able to turn things around. I know little about SmugMug, but it doesn’t feel like they have the resources to run and update two separate photo services, considering that they are competing with Facebook-owned Instagram and Google Photos. And from the comments quoted above, it sounds like the CEO doesn’t have any long-term strategy yet; it was probably an impulse acquisition, at a discounted price.

We feel strongly that the open API is one of the strengths of the platform. We will not only support, but invest there, SmugMug tweeted.

But Friedl, who uses APIs from both Flickr and SmugMug, added a note of caution. For example, SmugMug released a new API in beta four years ago and still hasn't labeled it production-ready even though it retired the earlier official API.

Stephen Shankland

Oh well, time to look for alternatives I guess… I have until November before my Pro subscription is up for renewal, so let’s see what kind of developments the next months will bring.

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