The CEO of SmugMug and Flickr has emailed users of the latter site, requesting they sign up for Pro accounts as a means of saving the platform. In the unusually candid message, he refers to Flickr as a “money-losing business” and admits some years, the loss was as great as “tens of millions of dollars.”
As many know, SmugMug acquired Flickr some two years back. Recalling the acquisition in the email, CEO Don MacAskill wrote:
We’ve spent 17 years lovingly building our company into a thriving, family-owned and -operated business that cares deeply about photographers. SmugMug has always been the place for photographers to showcase their photography, and we’ve long admired how Flickr has been the community where they connect with each other. We couldn’t stand by and watch Flickr vanish.
One of the most significant changes to the platform after SmugMug became involved was the decision to end the one terabyte of free storage Flickr had allowed its users since 2013. Their aim had been to sign people up for the Pro account and use the platform for storage instead of the likes of Google and Dropbox.
We didn’t buy Flickr because we thought it was a cash cow. Unlike platforms like Facebook, we also didn’t buy it to invade your privacy and sell your data. We bought it because we love photographers, we love photography, and we believe Flickr deserves not only to live on but thrive. We think the world agrees; and we think the Flickr community does, too. But we cannot continue to operate it at a loss as we’ve been doing.
SmugMug is now offering a holiday promotion for Flickr Pro, with 25% off: “If you value Flickr finally being independent, built for photographers and by photographers, we ask you to join us, and to share this offer with those who share your love of photography and community,” MacAskill adds.