While it pales in popularity compared to the big social networks, photo-sharing site Flickr is still around. Founded in 2004 and purchased by Yahoo in 2005 for over $20 million, Flickr grew to roughly 75 million accounts, but has long been overtaken by social media giants like Facebook and Instagram. But now Flickr has a new owner, the professional photo hosting service SmugMug, and it promises to do what’s best for the site and its users.
The price of the acquisition wasn’t revealed, but SmugMug says that the two services joining together will create “the world’s most influential photographer-centric community.” SmugMug’s CEO Don MacAskill added “Flickr has survived through thick-and-thin and is core to the entire fabric of the Internet.”
SmugMug has promised that it will devote more attention and resources to Flickr than it received while under Yahoo, along with the latter’s subsequent owner Verizon, and that the site will continue to operate separately as it does now. MacAskill admitted to USA Today that he has no specific plans in place for Flickr, “I don’t know what the future holds. This is a new model for me,” adding “It sounds silly for the CEO not to totally know what he’s going to do… We try to listen to our customers and when enough of them ask for something that’s important to them or to the community, we go and build it.”
There will be some changes over time, notably Flickr moving away from the Yahoo login system, but free and Flickr Pro accounts will continue to work the same way they do now. SmugMug noted that eventually Flickr will be moved to their technology infrastructure along with users’ photos and accounts, but everything will remain accessible on Flickr.
“If we make any changes, we’re going to make sure the changes are for the better,” SmugMug’s FAQ page says. “We’ll make sure to involve our loyal customers in the process as we grow both SmugMug and Flickr.” It seems that Flickr’s new owner is at least a much better match than Yahoo or Verizon ever was, and at least has the service’s best interests in mind.