Flickr has updated its service. I knew it was coming and I had a few hopes for it:
- Better multiple account management
- Personal service, by human beings using their real voices
- Ability to make changes (e.g. of permissions or licensing) for thousands of shots in one move
- Finer distinctions than friends/family/private
The updates, from what I can tell, offer none of that. What I got, as a Pro customer, appeared in the form of index page copy that began,
Dear Doc, as a Pro member continue to enjoy the benefits of unlimited space, an ad free experience and stats.
For non-paying users, there was this, from the index page as it appeared on a browser that didn’t know I’m a Pro member:
Everyone gets a free terabyte.
Biggr. That’s right, a terabyte.
Spectaculr. Share in full resolution.
Wherevr. Available anywhere you go.
Then there was this, from an email from Flickr to one of my several selves who have a Flickr Pro account:
As a Pro Member, your subscription remains the same. You’ll enjoy unlimited space for your photos and videos, detailed stats and an ad-free experience. However, you can switch to a Free account before August 20, 2013.
Why offer an opportunity to switch? I wondered.
So I clicked on a “learn more” link that went to this:
Next question: Why a down-sell to Free rather than an up-sell to Pro?
I guess they’d rather have me looking at ads than paying for a service — to be a consumer rather than a customer.
Yet Flickr is still relatively free of the load-slowing spyware typical of most commercial websites. (There’s just ScoreCard Research Beacon and Yahoo Analytics. I have the former turned off, but I leave the latter on. Seems harmless enough.)
Anyway, I’m not sure what’s up with Pro accounts. Nothing, I guess.
But the problems remain. From The Intention Economy:
A similar problem comes up when you have multiple accounts with one site or service, and therefore multiple namespaces, each with its own login and password. For example, I use four different Flickr accounts, each with its own photo directory:
The first is mine alone. The second I share with other people at Linux Journal. The third I share with other people at the Berkman Center. The fourth I share with other people who also write for the same blog.
Flickr in each case calls me by the second person singular “you,” and does not federate the four. To them I am four different individuals: one cow, four calves. (Never mind that three of those sites have many people uploading pictures, each pretending to be the same calf.) My only choice for dealing with this absurdity is deciding which kind of four-headed calf I wish to be. Either I use one browser with four different logins and passwords, or I use four different browsers, each with its own jar of cookies. Both choices are awful, but I have to choose one. So I take the second option, and use one browser per account—on just one laptop. When I use other laptops, or my iPhone, my Android, or the family Nokia N900, iPod Touch or iPad, I’m usually the first kind of calf, using one browser to login and logout every time I post pictures to a different account. Which I mostly don’t do at all, because it’s one big pain in my many asses.
As it happens I’m having a problem with the Infrastructure account: I’ve lost the login and password. At this point the account is mine alone: I’m the only one paying for it, and the only one using it. But I haven’t been able to raise a human being, so far, at Flickr. I could share my email exchange with the automated process there, but there’s no point. I’d rather just have the problem fixed.
So here’s a request, if anybody from Flickr is reading this: please contact me, and let’s fix this thing. Thanks.