Flickr Dupes Paying Members Again as 'Pro' Content is Strewn With Ads

Popzazzle | Friday, 15 November 2019 |

SmugMug is now apparently so takeover-addled by the mess it's made of Flickr that it can't remember what "NO ADS" means.


Grasshopper Sunset by Bob Leggitt
Image by Bob Leggitt - @PlanetBotch

Just one year after Flickr blackmailed users into paying for 'Pro' memberships with a substantially empty threat of content deletion, the platform has its con-man hat on once again.

And it's those same forgiving, compliant creatives the platform is exploiting. This time, by brazenly breaching a pledge which was clearly and expressly communicated, by Flickr, to paying, 'Pro' members. Namely...

"Your photos will never be shown next to an advertisement, whether you are viewing them or they are being viewed by the community."

"WILL. NEVER." Oh yeah?...

NO ADS - EXCEPT WHEN THERE IZ ADS, OBV


Last week, Flickr 'Pro' members - who pay $50 a year to use the platform without their content being ad-monetised - began to find adverts served against their content regardless, as cash-crazed CEO Don MacAskill continued his quest to rinse the living daylights out of the platform's notoriously submissive community.

He does not see you as a photographer. He sees you as a mark. I'll say that again. As a mark. Full stop, end of, full stop.


In a long thread on the Help Forum, paying users complained they would have to remove their photos from all potentially shared areas of the site (groups, searches, favorites - even free members' follow streams), in order to avoid having their work ad-monetised. They also found that even when multi-user compilations only comprised paying members' photos, Flickr still served ads within those compilations. Other complaints included the presence of voracious trackers' scripts inside the 'Pro' login area, despite 'new' Flickr's assurances that users' data would not be mined.

ENTER CORPORATE SPIN DUDE...


On said Help Forum thread, a Flickr representative offered a deluge of weasel words, and essentially pleaded poverty on behalf of poor little rich boy MacAskill. It was the sort of address that would have been met by a millennial userbase with a simple "OK boomer", and a sharp exit. But it takes a hell of a lot for Flickr's old-skool users to stop serving as apologists for a management that clearly sees them as mugs, and flannels them accordingly.

Shifting the flannel-onslaught into sitcom territory, Flickr's rep blamed Yahoo/Verizon for the presence of the tracker code. I mean, yeah, it's only been eighteen months since Verizon sold the site. I can totally see how tracker access that takes literally 90 seconds to remove, could still be attributed to Verizon. If trackers still have access then Flickr still has deals with trackers. Sigh. Bigger sigh. Biggest sigh ever.

Flickr 'Pro' members - who pay $50 a year to use the platform without their content being ad-monetised - began to find adverts served against their content regardless.


"BUT WE IZ ONLY MONETISIN' BLANK SPACE THO..."


In this latest round of creator-kicking, Flickr has tried to loophole its own no-ads promise by serving the ads in so-called 'interstitial' format. 'Interstitial' ads appear in between the display of two separate 'screen loads' and therefore do not actually accompany a paying user's content on a given screen. However...

  • Immediately after last week's update, Flickr were also caught simultaneously displaying paid members' photos and adverts on the same screen. They had no explanation for this. Their response was to roll back the change, and other than continuing to commit blatant fraud there wasn't a lot else they could do.
  • 'Interstitial' ads are still monetising paying users' content, whether or not they appear on the same screen load. If you require content to display an ad, then you are monetising that content. To claim you're not would be insulting to the intelligence of a child. It makes no difference whatsoever how many separate screen displays are involved. Without that content, those ads do not get shown.

Stop performing mental gymnastics to explain why it's okay for MacAskill to blackmail you, and then scam you.


So dear Flickr users... I say this without any bias. I'm not a Flickr user. I'm not a competitor trying to sell a rival service. I'm just like you. A photographer...

You have value. Your work has value. Flickr needs you more than you need Flickr. And that means Flickr owes you more than you owe Flickr. It's alright to put your own interests first, and you do not constantly have to worry about how much it costs Don MacAskill to host your shit. Instagram influencers do not worry about how much it costs to host their shit. YouTubers do not worry about how much it costs to host their shit. The only thing social media creatives ever worry about is what's in it for them.

So stop performing mental gymnastics to explain why it's okay for MacAskill to blackmail you, and then scam you. Stop giving money-grabbing MacAskill the benefit of the doubt. He does not see you as a photographer. He sees you as a mark. I'll say that again. As a mark. Full stop, end of, full stop.

There's a wider exploration of the internet's treatment of photographers in How the Internet Abuses Photographers & How Photographers Can Fight Back.
Bob Leggitt
Post author Bob Leggitt is a print-published writer and digital image creator, multi-instrumentalist, twice Guitarist of the Year finalist, web page designer and software developer.
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