Cheapskate Tuesday 18: Flickr: a tera-bad idea, or a good backup option?

rat snake

The first image I uploaded to flickr: June 16 2005, a crop of a shot of a yellow rat snake I had taken the day before with my trusty HP Photosmart 735. I found it behind the Florida Medical Entomology Lab, where I did my Masters.

Last week, on the 20th of May, flickr announced and rolled out extensive changes to their layout and business model. These have caused a massive uproar in the flickr community; at least among those who have been long-term paying members, of which I am one. I came of photographic age on flickr, and I feel that the new model is hostile to the community that fostered my photographic education.

It appears that the new business model is set to sacrifice their dedicated core photo enthusiast user community (which includes such notable efforts as sourcing images for Encyclopedia of Life and the Neotropical Birds website, among others) to focus on drawing in everyone with everything related to digital storage of media. The aim seems to be shifting from a user-pays service model for their core finance, and into ad-supported massive online hosting of media. How this will play out in terms of obtrusiveness of ads and crappiness of product placement I cannot say.  I am personally not a fan of their new layout and formula for making money, and even my decent little laptop has major issues trying to load their massively over-filled and endlessly-scrolling pages.


The new layout could be described as overwhelming…

All that grumbling aside, there is a positive spin that we might make use of for Cheapskate Tuesday! As part of their plan, flickr now offers any member, paying or not, 1 terabyte of FREE storage. The implications of this for remote backup and access are obvious, as 1 TB of jpegs is a hell of a lot of pics. I already use flickr as a backup of sorts, and in fact in my early days, I had very poor data management skills, so my only copies of some shots are on flickr.  With 1 TB of storage, I could upload my entire collection of jpegs, and in fact I may do so some time.

If you are uncomfortable with ads, and want to beat Yahoo at their own game, you could backup your entire collection and set the default viewing to private, so that they won’t be out slanging Creation Museum tours or butt hair remover on your hard work. The new model will probably attract a ton of crap photos from casual phone snappers; let them do the dirty work for Yahoo while you take advantage of your free terabyte!

Anyway, this is only a good plan as far as Yahoo sticks to its end of the bargain, and with the massive changes sprung without warning last week, I am not so sure that is a safe bet.

cellar spider

The most recent image I have uploaded to flickr: a Cellar Spider brooding eggs (yes, that one! We are so excited!)