Apple’s iPhoto in Mac OS X 10.1 was the reason I had finally bought a digital still camera back in 2001. Since then I’ve taken quite a few gigabytes‘ worth of pictures filled with fond memories. While the built-in integration between iPhoto and .Mac, as well as iPhoto’s ability to “export” photo web sites to directories were decent alternatives to share pictures, those methods however lacked cost-effectiveness and convenience.
In 2004, Flickr.com opened its doors to the world as yet another photo sharing web service. “Yet another?”, you may ask. Well, not quite. Flickr offered a radically new approach to photo sharing, for the first time delivering on the concepts of “photo stream” and “tags“.
As a subscriber to this service, I get the constant feeling that Flickr craves more pictures. They’ve understood that a web browser isn’t always the most convenient channel to upload pictures to a web site. They’ve quickly developed convenient interfaces to their service, enabling them and 3rd-parties to build desktop software for both Mac OS X and Windows XP. They’ve also made it easy to upload pictures via e-mail, including e-mail-enabled handheld devices. While the resolution on my Sony Ericsson t610 phone is rather weak, the T-Mobile “T-Zones Pro” option gives me unmetered IP traffic, so I’m constantly taking silly pictures and e-mailing them to Flickr.
The Mac Community quickly became a vibrant viral adoption force. One Flickr member, “fspeirs“, developed and continues to improve an iPhoto plug-in for Flickr! It’s come a long way since its early days, thanks to Fraser’s dedication and input from the enthusiastic Flickr Mac Community.
Flickr offers a free, “basic” service and a paid, “Pro” service, which is what many of us are using. Likely due to the fact that they’re still officially in beta and refining their business model, their pricing doesn’t appear to be ostensibly advertised on their site, but I’ve managed to dig out this handy summary of Flickr prices. As of this writing, it states $24.95/year for a Pro account allowing you to upload 2GB worth of pictures per month. To give you an idea, about 6 months ago, I paid roughly $80 for a 2-years subscription, and even then, I thought it was already a steal considering I would be allowed to upload 1GB worth of pictures per month. My entire iPhoto library is already in there, and I’m finding myself hard-pressed to come close to filling my quota each month. It would appear they’ve aggressively lowered their pricing while increasing their quotas since their acquisition by Yahoo!. Which would explain this very nice e-mail I got from them a few days ago:
You may have heard on the grapevine that we planned to
reward our dear Flickr members who bought a Pro Account in
the early days. Well, it’s true! And since you’re one of
those lovely people, here’s a little something to say YOU
1. Double what you paid for!
Your original 2 year pro account has been doubled to
4 years, and your new expiry date is Nov 14, 2008.
2. More capacity!
Now you can upload 2 GB per month.
3. 2 free Pro Accounts to give away to your friends!
This won’t be activated for a day or two, but when it
is, you’ll see a note on your home page telling you
what to do.
Thank you so much for putting your money where your mouth
is and supporting us, even while we’re in beta. Your
generosity and cold, hard cash helped us get where we are
Needless to say, I’m a big fan of Flickr, and truly appreciate the clever, innovative hard work they’ve put into building an insanely usable service. Hint to the Yahoo Mother Ship: Yahoo 360 isn’t useful to me until it offers at least some level of integration with Flickr.