More on Interesting Economics
I've been mostly offline (more on that later) but there's been some really interesting commentary on my last post, most notably Caterina's lengthy response. I should also note that I was factually incorrect in saying that non-paying users would see ads around my pictures; I'm a Pro (paid) user, so they would not.
I should also be clearer about my position: I don't necessarily think Flickr should be paying anybody a revenue share on photos. Besides being so little money as to be worthless for most people, it's not the goal that most people have in participating in a community. And I certainly don't think people are getting "ripped off" (or whatever other words people have ascribed to me) by Flickr. What I'm more interested in is the interchange between different types of value. Social capital vs. economic capital, I guess.
I've been a big believer in advocating that people pay to support the software and services that power communities on the web, because invested users are more thoughtful, criticial, and valuable contributors much of the time. But I'm pretty flexible in how they pay, so perhaps the question isn't whether anybody should get paid for having interesting photos, but whether a Pro account could be earned through consistent interestingness.