Video Backlash: The Flickr Users Are Revolting

Flickr has added the ability to upload 90 second video clips! Cool, right? Apparently not. A group called “We Say NO to Videos On Flickr” has more than 25,000 members and appears to be going strong. These disgruntled users fear that video will cause the site to slow down and attract the dreaded “YouTube crowd.”

Flickr, however, is standing firm. The videos will stay.

Here’s our response to what we see as frequent feedback here in the forum (I’ve paraphrased the feedback in some instances):

“I don’t want video on Flickr.”
We’re sorry, but video is here to stay. We’d love for everyone to give it a shot. If it’s not to your taste, then you should change the default on autoplay. You can distinguish between video and photos by the white arrow bottom left.

“I think video should have it’s own separate site.”
Just as with our international launch last year and building language on top of our global community, we wanted to avoid siloing what is after all, just another format.

“…did none of the staff see this coming?”
Given our experience with the outrage in moving sets from the left-hand side of the page to the right a few years ago (and various adventures since then), we’re very familiar with the passionate response of our members. We can’t be afraid of that. We need to continue to improve, release new features and iterate.

Feedback and iteration are very much part of our process. We very much value the feedback that we receive after features launch. It gives us a chance to take something good and give it that extra polish.

This response doesn’t seem to have calmed the outraged users. They’re still tagging all of their photos “no video,” threatening to move to another photosharing site (there’s another one?), and signing petitions aplenty.

We suppose the real question is: Are they willing to put their memberships where thier mouths are and cancel their accounts in protest?

(Pssst, the headline is a joke. We love you, Flickr.)

We Say No To Videos On Flickr [Flickr]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Angryrider says:

    90 secs is pretty short. Who’d bother to post anyway?

  2. javi0084 says:

    I doubt it would attract the youtube crowd.

  3. friendlynerd says:

    Damn right, they stink on ice!

  4. Smitherd says:

    WTF? I have no idea why you would want rid of video. I could understand not using it, but wanting it gone?

  5. harshmellow says:

    Aww, c’mon guys, lighten up–the world needs another place to post wacky home videos and movie clips! Honestly, if Yahoo/Flickr wants to have its YouTube, it should be a separate site.

  6. headhot says:

    Doesn’t matter to me, once Microsoft or AOL get their hands on flikr via yahoo, I’m out of there.

    I just need to figure out where I’ll go.

    Do you find it odd that Yahoo is trying to build a video property as they are being courted?

  7. Bladefist says:

    wow, bunch of girly men. waaaaaa

  8. stephenjames716 says:


  9. xboxishuge says:

    Why is everyone on flickr such a whiny self-entitled bitch these days?

    They had their “keep your Microsoft off of my Yahoo” shit-fit, and now this. Flickr users care so much about the purity of flickr that I want to punch them all the in face.

  10. Tallanvor says:

    The reaction is pointless.

    Although, admittedly, I’m considering building my own alternative using Amazon S3 if Microsoft gets their grubby hands on Yahoo.* I moved to Flickr from Photobucket after Fox bought them.

    *Build something for myself, that is, not some clone, since I don’t need all of their features anyway.

  11. What? As a flickr user of a couple of years, this sucks. Why?

    #1 video attracts sophomoric cell phone uploads of pointless footage, grade-school commenting, etc. Try reading the comments on any YouTube video.

    #2 Video takes a ton of server space, which equals a slower website. It’s already fairly slow in various functions. Bottom line, you are paying the same amount for less, because there is also bound to be ‘technical difficulties’ which also reduces your time and increases your frustration level when trying to upload, etc.

    Bottom line is, there are already a million video sites. It’s like a slap in the face. Flickr is owned by Yahoo, which has a huge main site they could have a video section on, or even it’s own site.

  12. maciejb says:

    Often when I go on a trip I’ll end up with 300 photos and a few video clips to go along with them. Never really had a place to put the video clips from my camera before.. I think this is perfect to be able to have a video from the same set as a photo in the same album. Google does that on their photo site, even though they run their seperate video services…

  13. (to me) It would be like the Consumerist, in the same area as the regular articles, having articles about celebrity news. Every one of you would be pissed. Why? They are both ‘news’ right? Wait, but that isn’t what the site is for. Exactly.

  14. jwarner132 says:

    I have to agree that youtube commenters are generally pretty dumb, but while youtube exists, why would flickr draw that crowd away with its seemingly inferior 90-second max video capability? I think the new video capability is a good way for people to share small video clips that they have taken on their digital cameras along with their photos.

  15. Erwos says:

    @wiretapstudios: You’re only guessing that #2 will be true. It’s entirely possible to build a video website that’s fast – hell, YouTube has basically done it. This is a classic case of people inventing objections because they’re emotionally attached to something.

  16. Wreckoner says:

    Hm. You should see the irate people on livejournal. Taking away the “basic” service (free registration with no advertisements) and leaving only the “plus” service (free registration, but with one small advertisement on your page) and “paid” service (O NOES A WEBSITE WANTS TO MAKE MONEY)…essentially livejournal exploded, and 13 yearolds led failed boycotts. It was quite humorous.

    People will always find something to nitpick about on their favorite websites. Such is the nature of the beast.

  17. consumersaur says:

    wiretapstudios: #1 video attracts sophomoric cell phone uploads of pointless footage, grade-school commenting, etc.

    Dude… have you ever been to Flickr? It’s the same thing… just with photos.

  18. @consumersaur:

    Not really. Some lame people do that for god knows why, but most people I know have a paid account and at least a few hundred (if not a few thousand) dollars in camera equipment. Dude.

  19. xboxishuge says:

    A lot of the photos on flickr are crap, too.

    I’m pretty sure flickr has a grip on the scalability problem. Nothing they’ve done in the past would lead me to believe that this wasn’t a carefully-planned move, that they have the infrastructure to support.

  20. @Erwos: I’m basing that ‘guess’ on every other company that does something like this. Yahoo is about to get bought out and Flickr is one of the only things they have going for it. They obviously put the video on to help with the sale.

  21. Are there any other Flickr users commenting on here, or just people that don’t understand why this is annoying…

  22. The fans are the fans, and if they pay for their membership (as I do), then their voice has a right to be heard. Maybe not listened to, but heard.

    I’m fearing the exact same thing, now that video is on Flickr. But if you’re going to have it, I like the 90-second limit. Be creative in 90 seconds, or don’t post a video. I don’t want more pets falling asleep, or teenagers lip-syncing to Backstreet Boys – I want creative people sharing creative things, and building a community around that. Not around junk.

    Flickr users aren’t whining; they’re voicing their informed opinion. And they’re right to do it. I do think that if they feel strongly enough, they’ll cancel their account – and thereby shrink the number of video-posting possibilities. Boycotts will get attention, but they have to have the heart to do it.

    I’ll be interested to see what happens. I love Flickr, but I’m nervous about what this video thing will do.

  23. @davelawrence8: Exactly.

  24. @davelawrence8: Precisely.

  25. xboxishuge says:

    @wiretapstudios: I’ve had a pro account for a couple of years. Difference is that I see flickr as a service where I put my (admittedly horrible) photos, not some “scene” that I need to rant about. If you don’t like video, don’t post any, or watch anyone else’s. It’s not like flickr is suddenly going to become worse because it’s adding more features.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s a good idea to be adding video to the site either, but the fanboy reactions and the protest groups make it really hard to empathize.

  26. I use Flickr for hosting for my images primarily. I’m a pro member. I want the comments and community built around my personal site and not just driving traffic on their site. So in that sense I’m probably a bit different than most other Flickr users.

    For the most part my content is just to share with my friends and family (although I do have a few photos that the Consumerist has used).

    I also use YouTube for hosting of video clips on occasion. I’ll admit, they are usually dumb clips that would only interest my friends and family. But i see the Flickr video service as far superior. No ad in the bottom corner of my content, no sending people off to similar clips, and the quality seems better.

    I wouldn’t care if it was part of Flickr or if they made up another word that’s missing some vowels for a website. I hope they can keep their promise to delete content that is not from the uploader.

  27. Orv says:

    @Ryan McFarland: I’m with you. I don’t see why I should care one way or the other what other members of Flickr do. I just use it to share photos with my friends.

  28. Peeved Guy says:


    @friendlynerd: Thank you. I would have very disappointed otherwise.

  29. firesign says:

    @davelawrence8: so how is this any worse than 80 jillion pictures of people’s cats or crappy cellphone pictures that get uploaded every 5 seconds to flickr? answer is, it’s not. it’s an anthill that people are turning into mt. everest. these are short minute and a half clips that will have little impact on flickr’s performance. flickr’s software can handle it, and i’m sure yahoo has plenty of bandwidth. i’m also a paying flickr subscriber. was long before the yahoo buyout. people went insane over that too, and frankly flickr has only gotten better since.

  30. freshyill says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is. There’s only so much you can do in a 90 second clip. Think of it as Twitter for videos. It’s not the place to post your manifesto. It’s a place for those little videos you take with your digicam. The YouTards will stay where their crap is tolerated.

    If you don’t believe that a video-sharing site can sort out the crap, check out Viddler. They have a fantastic community, very much akin to Flickr’s. They don’t tolerate most of the crap that ends up on YouTube, and it’s pretty clear that Flickr’s not going to either.

  31. Dustin says:

    You know, I like flickr and I don’t want it to change much, but these people are embarrassing. It happens on any website of any size–a tiny percentage (1%? 5%?) feel like they have a right to demand a site never changes because it’s not how it was when they first started. flickr is a business and those 5% aren’t spending nearly enough money to justify stunting the growth of the service.

  32. @freshyill: That’s good to hear. Maybe I needed an example of a classy video site. Oh, but wait…this is the Internet.

    Hope springs eternal.

  33. lemur says:

    @Dustin: I see what you’re saying but at the same time current customers who don’t like the change should voice their disapproval. After all, that’s the only way to tell a company that they are doing something wrong. I mean, okay, they could cancel their accounts without saying anything but then Flickr would not know what went wrong and would have no chance to adjust.

    The problem is when the tone of the protest becomes unreasonable. If people start saying that they have some sort of god-given right to demand that Flickr stay the way it is, that is nonsense. In this specific case I’m not terribly fond of the insinuation that Flickr is some sort of creative haven whereas YouTube is a cesspool. I’ve seen all kinds of things on YouTube: things that were very creative and utter crap. Same thing with Flickr.

  34. Aph says:

    any idiot can figure out youtube if you say it to them
    flickr took out the E
    -20% less idiocy

  35. chrisjames says:

    OOOOH! My favorite thing is when people say it won’t happen to them. “Flickr is too classy for the YouTube syndrome.” Too bad my bookie won’t take bets on that.

    Bah. Let it happen. Let Flickr get sucked into the commercialization maw at the bottom of the internet barrel.

    Something else will come along if it happens, and Flickr/Yahoo will learn the same thing all the other internet biggies learn when they do this. The only business model that works long-term is customer satisfaction (okay, acquisition works too, but that hammer has already hit Flickr square on the head).

  36. nox says:

    Only 25,134? out of how many Flickr users? Sounds like its just the elitist crowd.

  37. aka Cat says:

    I have a paid flickr account. I don’t care if videos are allowed on the site — unless it has a noticeable negative effect on the site’s speed.

    If it does and they don’t fix it within a few days, then I’ll get grouchy.

  38. justinleon says:


    Thank god I left LJ

    Their whining is so embarassing.

  39. SuperJdynamite says:

    @wiretapstudios: “but most people I know have a paid account and at least a few hundred (if not a few thousand) dollars in camera equipment.”

    Ah, the old “the quality of work is directly proportional to the price of the equipment” argument.

  40. DrGirlfriend says:

    Flickr users are notoriously cranky. If Flickr had a lawn, they’d be yelling at you to get off of it.

    Before Flickr partnered with Yahoo, users of Flickr saw the site not just as a place to dump your pictures, but as a place for people who enjoy photography to put up “quality” stuff. When Yahoo Photos got merged into Flickr, people made this exact argument, that it was going to make Flickr into a simple photo-dump, that the level of discourge would go down, etc etc etc. When Flick changed how it placed sets on the page, people got upset too. Basically, any changes to Flickr get people really riled up. I can totally see why the administrators would basically say, “You know what? if we listened to your bitching every time we’d still be on Flickr 1.0”

    I would only be bothered by this if it slowed down the site. I am not thinking that a max of 90 seconds on video is going to be attracting the YouTube crowd.

  41. typetive says:

    @wiretapstudios: I see the point about why it’s annoying, if only because the new feature seems to have choked the regular photo delivery.

    I think the quality is superior to youtube (where I have a few of my whale watching clips) which is why I may use it from time to time. I hope they get the issues worked out.

    It would be pretty simple to solve it in the profiles to simply have the option to not see videos in streams. (The group admin already lets them keep videos out … or become video only groups.)

  42. shannonk says:

    It’s true that there is a small and vocal contingent of pearl-clutchers on Flickr, but there are also those who mock that contingent:


  43. DrGirlfriend says:

    Also, I am a Flickr user, and I don’t appreciate being describes as revolting. :p

  44. AskCars says:

    Perhaps you can suggest Adobe hunt these people down and provide them with their new flickr fighter, Adobe Express


    If I was an Adobe employee I’d be messaging all 25,000 with a link

  45. AskCars says:

    Maybe this will be Adobe’s first group of early adopters for its flickr fighter Express Live?

    If I worked at Adobe I’d be inviting all 25K of those folks.

  46. ppiddyp says:

    It’s _really_ hard to make a good video. Photography is great, because being a decent photographer is possible with a reasonable time commitment, while editing video well is not something most people can do and hold down a real job at the same time. I know a lot of talented photographers in my home town, but I don’t know more than one or two people who could put together a video better than “look at my puppy rolling around!”

    Flickr admins can do whatever they want. It’s their site. MY opinion, though, is that they should have started a parallel video site, run by the same team, with a degree of integration into flickr, without just mashing them together into a kind of awkward heap.

  47. Dustin says:

    @lemur: I definitely agree with you. Sadly I think most of these flickr protests have turned toward the “god-given right” stage pretty quickly.

  48. dantsea says:

    This is standard behavior for any online community these days. You should have seen the hilarity a few weeks ago when LiveJournal got rid of non-ad-supported unpaid accounts FOR NEW USER SIGNUPS ONLY. There was some sort of We Are Going To Hold Our Breath And Scream At The Same Time event they called a “content strike” which resulted in all sorts of drama in the days leading up to and following the event.

    Flickr is right to stand their ground, let these folks get it out of their system. There’ll be some new trifle to be outraged over next week, anyway. There always is.

  49. The point isn’t quality, I’m sure it will be fine. I love how people think that just because a company makes a change, people don’t have anything to say about it. I pay to use it, it’s not like it’s free. We’ll see what happens.

    And you can say whatever you want about how small of a percentage it is, 25k people is a fuckload of upset people in any situation. Would it have been that hard to have a sister site for videos?

  50. @SuperJdynamite:

    Ah, the old “the quality of work is directly proportional to the price of the equipment” argument.

    Yeah…my digital SLR takes better photos than a cell phone. It costs more for the quality, regardless of the composition, it’s pretty true.

    But that’s not really what I meant, I was saying that there are a ton of professionals on there.

  51. Mr. Gunn says:

    “Why is everyone on flickr such a whiny self-entitled bitch these days?”

    These days? There’s a certain contingent that’s been that way ever since I’ve known them, and I’ve been Pro for several years now. Whining about Yahoo, Microsoft, Wired, and everything else. Damn prima-donna attention whore wanna-bes….they always threaten to leave but they never do.

  52. toddkravos says:

    I’m curious to know of the ~25k members, how many really don’t like the video add-on.

    Because, you know, you can join a group and ‘lurk’

    I’ve gotten 3 invites from the group since the elevate and I don’t care really. I am thankful for the stop auto-play function.

  53. JuliusErving says:

    I’d just like to point out that flickr won’t attract this so-called youtube crowd because only PRO USERS can post videos. I sincerely hope i’m not the first one to say this. Also, it would mkae more sense that the “youtube crowd” would stay on youtube :-!

  54. JuliusErving says:


    1) As i said above, since video can only be uploaded by PRO users, they’re not going to be posting these “sophmoric videos” you suggest. It’s almost as if you’re attacking your fellow users (i’m assuming you have a pro account)

    2) As others have said, youtube got it right, and with flickr now being a yahoo company, i’m sure they’ll have no problem with bandwith requirements

    Also, the analgoy you made with the consumerist and celebrity news was a horrible one. It’s fairly obvious that audio and video are a function of each other. Consumer culture and celebrity gossip are not.

  55. JuliusErving says:



    1) As i said above, since video can only be uploaded by PRO users, they’re not going to be posting these “sophmoric videos” you suggest. It’s almost as if you’re attacking your fellow users (i’m assuming you have a pro account)

    2) As others have said, youtube got it right, and with flickr now being a yahoo company, i’m sure they’ll have no problem with bandwith requirements

    Also, the analgoy you made with the consumerist and celebrity news was a horrible one. It’s fairly obvious that audio and video are a function of each other. Consumer culture and celebrity gossip are not.

  56. JuliusErving says:

    “It’s fairly obvious that audio and video are a function of each other.”

    Awesome how you can’t delete or edit comments on this site. Meant to say photo and video.

  57. wesrubix says:

    It’s 90 seconds of video, a function that is not required. So why are users protesting? The feature does not encroach on their existing storage accounts, nor does it reduce storage quotas for new users. Complain about something that matters.

  58. LUV2CattleCall says:

    Maybe it’s just me…but this is giving me motivation to go camera phone such high quality material as hamster on a paper airplane and Rabbi getting nut-shotted with a dradle and post not just the video clips, but 24 screenshots/second on Flickr.

  59. Alan Thomas says:

    90 seconds is perfect for short family videos (e.g., baby’s first steps, short announcements, etc.). That keeps them out of real direct competition with YouTube, for now.

  60. ELC says:

    @javi0084: No, it won’t attract that crowd b/c of the 90sec rule. If people would read why they chose 90 sec it would make sense as to how it fits in with flickr’s format. We just had a baby (3 weeks ago) and this happened at the perfect time. We’ve had a Pro account since we got married to keep friends and family up to date. The short clips of our little boy that we take with our Canon digital cam are the kind of things that fit on flickr. Works great – except for the upload tool on the computer. That doesn’t seem to work right yet.