When you consider that the online photo sharing world nowadays is full of hipster filters and Instagram, it’s easier to forget that Flickr for a long time was – and arguably still is – the best photo sharing tool on the internet. Not only does Flickr have many useful features, but it also has a 50 million strong user base consisting of professional and amateur photographers.
However in recent times Flickr has struggled to keep up with the competition and the original founder Stewart Butterfield seems to think that Flickr has been dying a slow death since the day that it was acquired by Yahoo in 2005.
After initially fighting with Yahoo for resources, Yahoo then preceded to drag their feet with the release of a Flickr mobile app which was eventually launched in 2009. However it was very buggy and could not compete with the likes of Instagram which was released the following year.
Nevertheless, Flickr has still grown to a community of over 50 million people, who have uploaded a total of 12.6 billion photos, so it’s not something that is going to be forgotten about any time soon.
Last year, Verizon Communications – one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world – purchased Yahoo for £3.7 billion. This has left a large question mark as to the future of Flickr, as no information about what will happen to it has been forthcoming.
It is quite possible that Flickr has reached its peak user base, and if nothing is done by Verizon to improve Flickr so that it compete with the likes of Instagram, then it could start to see a decline as users begin to remove their photos and take them elsewhere.
There are fears that Flickr will just become a form of Verizon ‘bloatware’ which will see many of its loyal users going elsewhere to store and share their photos.
It may even be the case that Verizon decide to sell Flickr for a cash injection, in which case it might be bought by a company who has the passion to restore it to its original former glory. This would keep the majority of the loyal fan base happy, although it may mean that Flickr has next to no chance of competing with the likes of Instagram.