I’ve seen a lot of weird, very belated, hand-wringing about Flickr requiring early adopter users to sign in with their Yahoo accounts. This is prompted, I understand, by those users having gotten an email letting them know about the required change.
Now, I was a very early Flickr user, and as soon as they got acquired by Yahoo and we were all told we’d have to migrate, I did so. I am pretty sure that at least 99% of early Flickr users already have a Yahoo login somewhere. So clearly, an unwillingness to have a Yahoo account is probably not the cause of any recalcitrance.
I have seen one well-articulated objection: There are few user benefits that result from the migration. But, now that Flickr Mobile works with Yahoo logins, there aren’t any features lost when making the transition. One could argue the message about the transition could have been written differently, but that’s surely splitting hairs, isn’t it?
It’s been more than a year since this change was announced, with a firm timetable set and well-communicated. It’s a tiny (though admittedly vocal and valuable) minority of users who are affected. And this is not, to quote some of the inaccurate adjectives being thrown around “sudden” or a “surprise”. Any information that users are afraid of Yahoo having is clearly already available to the company, since the servers are all hosted in the same place and connected together — this is just a formality. Frankly, I watch online communities a lot and am only rarely baffled by the vagaries of mob justice. But this one has me stumped.
One other note, I have generally positive feelings about all the various photo sharing sites out there — the ability to build community online through shared experiences is a powerful thing. But I can not and will not ever concede that using these sorts of opportunities to promote a competing business is cool. And I take some consolation in the fact that, as upset as people get, almost all of the threats to take one’s
ball photos and go home end up being mostly empty threats, designed to express some weird emotional desire that I really wish I could understand.