On Friday, SmugMug, the photo-sharing website and image hosting service, announced it had acquired Flickr, the global photo-sharing community with over 90 million members.
“Together,” a press release read, they “represent the world’s most
influential community of photographers.”
The two sites come from very different beginnings. While SmugMug started in a basement, the product of a father-son pairing working without the help of venture capital, Flickr was founded by Ludicorp, a Canadian company, and sold to Yahoo a year later.
Yet each has managed gained a foothold in the photographic community by catering to its users, gaining reputations for truly caring about the craft.
“These are people [SmugMug] who are passionate about photography, not advertising,” wrote PetaPixel.
Building a Home
Unlike Flickr, SmugMug has never offered a free service. But there’s no indication they will be eliminating Flickr’s free option.
In fact, things appear to be staying largely the same, with the two continuing to “operate as separate entities” with a “shared goal.”
Instead, PetaPixel describes the move as a way for SmugMug to expand its community of photographers, allowing them to “do even more” with meetups, photowalks, and other gatherings. As the site notes, there is “not [currently] a good place for a larger group of photographers.”
With this acquisition, SmugMug is hoping to build that place.
In response to the news, Flickr hosted an extended Q&A on their blog. Here are the key takeaways:
Nothing is changing, yet. “You will have the same Flickr experience you are used to,” they affirm, noting that if anything does change, they’ll “give you as much notice as [they] can.”
Your photos are safe. And can be found at “the same flickr.com URL as always”
Users will have until May 25 to accept SmugMug’s Terms of Service. Accounts that do nothing will simply be transitioned on their own.
Your login will remain the same. Eventually, however, “Flickr’s sign-in will be separated from Yahoo’s,” and users will be given the ability to “choose how you log in.”
Flickr Pro subscriptions will remain valid. They’ve also “just started offering a 45-day free trial for new Pros who sign up for a yearly subscription.”
We’ll update when changes to either site are announced, but for now the purchase appears largely symbolic, a spiritual merging of like-minded communities.
“The future is bright,” SmugMug wrote on its site, “but we’ll only get there together.”