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Fri, 28 Oct 2005
On Flickr and Money

On the first night of Foo Camp this past summer, I was wandering. Julie had decided to go to sleep, since she was talking the next morning. Night owl that I am, I was in no way prepared to go to sleep. So I headed back down to the common areas, looking for, well, I wasn't exactly sure. I ran into a number of people along the way and by the time I got back to the ground floor, it was fairly late.

As I came out of the building I saw a fellow with a big digital SLR taking flash photographs of the boards containing the Foo Camp schedule. Being fascinated, or rather, intimidated by flash photography, I walked a bit closer and asked "Did they come out?". The fellow and I started talking, and it wasn't long before I discovered that I was talking to Stewart Butterfield, one of the founders of Flickr. After I realized this, I waited for an appropriate pause in our conversation. I held up my (still pretty new) Canon Digital Rebel XT and said something like "I don't know whether to thank you or to blame you". Which then took us off onto a different vector of conversation.

One thing I do know is that Flickr truly was instrumental in reigniting my interest in photography to the point where I went from a non-pro account to a pro account, from sharing an economical point and shoot to wanting my own digital SLR, and from taking an occasional picture to hauling that camera just about everywhere. I've become a passionate user. You start spending money. Cameras, lenses, tripods, books, prints, Aperture, Photoshop, etc. Somebody is going to be making a ton of money off the spark that Flickr helped light. Except that Flickr isn't going to see any of that money. Most of it's going to go to Canon, Bogen, Apple, whoever. Maybe Flickr should open a photo equipment store or some kind of affinity program.

Anil Dash and Caterina Fake are having a discussion about whether or not companies like Flickr should be paying the users that put their content up there. It's an interesting discussion, to look at it that way. But it does seem a little strange. I pay (paid) Flickr for a pro account so I could put my content up there (Unfortunately, I'm in no danger of generating enough traffic to get paid for), so it seems a little odd to me to expect that I would then get paid if I generated a certain amount of traffic. But maybe I'm just not thinking straight about all of that. At least for now, I feel that I've gotten quite a bit more than my $29 worth of value out of Flickr, whether I get a reward for traffic or not.

[00:36] | [computers/internet/microcontent] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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