This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
UPDATE: This blog has been retired as of August 2011. See this post for more information or connect with me on Twitter.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Flickr upsets early adopters
Lots of people are throwing a fit over the changes being made over at Flickr. The changes include requiring everyone to merge their old Flickr account with a Yahoo! account, not allowing you to have more than 3,000 contacts and not allowing a photo to have more than 75 tags.

While I don't like having to merge my account (because I'm not a Yahoo! fan and I don't use any of their services except YIM at work), it wasn't a big deal for me. And the other two changes won't affect me much either.

However, after reading the angry posts on Flickr, two things hit me:

1. Why didn't Flickr try a little harder?
While this change affects a relatively small number of people, these are the people who helped Flickr grow into the type of service that Yahoo! wanted to acquire. The way they communicated it could have been a bit better. Sure, it isn't a big deal to most people; however, it is clearly a big deal to some of the early adopters. Why not craft a more thoughtful message/approach to the changes?

One thing I've learned about early adopters is that they will be extremely loyal... until you piss them off. Then, they will often ditch your service just on principle. I'm not going to do that in this case; however, I have definitely done that in the past with services like Sirius who I felt treated me poorly.

2. Why aren't these early adopters more upset about the total lack of innovation at Flickr over the past couple of years?

I've been a paying member since September 2004 (I think) and very little has changed in terms of features.

My biggest gripe is how the site really downplays its community-based content (i.e. try to easily see all of the stuff from your Groups in a single place). I would consume so much more Flickr content if I just had a good way to browse to the stuff I've already said I care about (like stuff in my Groups).

And how 'bout better tools for creating sets, like Zooomr's Smart Sets? If I tag a bunch of things as "smorty71," the system should go ahead and create a set with those photos... or at least ask me if I want to make one once I upload a certain number.

And don't get me started on the home page. Are you deliberately trying to show as little interesting content as possible (while making plenty of room for co-brands that most people won't ever use)?

I'm going to stick with Flickr for a couple of reasons:

1. I'm paid up through the end of the year
2. While it lacks innovation, it still meets my basic photo needs. Sure, I would love for them to do something more interesting; however, I can still do most of things I want with it.

I know neither of those things are like the glowing endorsements I used to do back in 2004; however, they could have done a lot more with the money and resources that the Yahoo! acquisition gave them and they didn't.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.