|Type of site||Photo/Video hosting service|
|Available language(s)||Chinese (traditional)
|Launched||February 10, 20041|
|Alexa rank||82 (March 2014[update])2|
Flickr (stylized as flickr and pronounced "flicker") is an image hosting and video hosting website, and web services suite that was created by Ludicorp in 2004 and acquired by Yahoo in 2005. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, and effectively an online community, the service is widely used by photo researchers and by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media.3
The Verge reported in March 2013 that Flickr had a total of 87 million registered members and more than 3.5 million new images uploaded daily.4 In August 2011 the site reported that it was hosting more than 6 billion images and this number continues to grow steadily according to reporting sources.5 Photos and videos can be accessed from Flickr without the need to register an account but an account must be made in order to upload content onto the website. Registering an account also allows users to create a profile page containing photos and videos that the user has uploaded and also grants the ability to add another Flickr user as a contact. For mobile users, Flickr has official mobile apps for iOS,6 Android,7 PlayStation Vita,8 and Windows Phone9 operating systems.
Flickr was launched in February 2004 by Ludicorp, a Vancouver-based company founded by Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake. The service emerged from tools originally created for Ludicorp's Game Neverending, a web-based massively multiplayer online game. Flickr proved a more feasible project, and ultimately Game Neverending was shelved;10 Butterfield later launched a similar online game, Glitch, which closed down in November 2012.1112
Early versions of Flickr focused on a chat room called FlickrLive with real-time photo exchange capabilities.13 The successive evolutions focused more on the uploading and filing backend for individual users and the chat room was buried in the site map. It was eventually dropped as Flickr's backend systems evolved away from Game Neverending's codebase.14 Key features of Flickr not initially present are tags, marking photos as favorites, group photo pools, and interestingness, for which a patent is pending.15
Yahoo acquired Ludicorp and Flickr in March 2005. The acquisition reportedly cost $35 million.16 During the week of 26 June – 2 July 2005, all content was migrated from servers in Canada to servers in the United States, and all resulting data become subject to United States federal law.17 In May 2007, Yahoo announced that Yahoo Photos would close down on 20 September 2007, after which all photos would be deleted; users were encouraged to migrate to Flickr.18 In January 2007, Flickr announced that "Old Skool" members—those who had joined before the Yahoo acquisition—would be required to associate their account with a Yahoo ID by 15 March to continue using the service.19 This move was criticized by some users.20
Flickr upgraded its services from beta to "gamma" in May 2006; the changes attracted positive attention from Lifehacker.21 In December 2006, upload limits on free accounts were increased to 100 MB a month (from 20 MB) and were removed from Flickr Pro accounts, which originally had a 2 GB per month limit.22 On 9 April 2008, Flickr began allowing paid subscribers to upload videos, limited to 90 seconds in length and 150 MB in size. On 2 March 2009, Flickr added the facility to upload and view HD videos, and began allowing free users to upload normal-resolution video. At the same time, the set limit for free accounts was lifted.23 In 2009, Flickr announced a partnership with Getty Images in which selected users could submit photographs for stock photography usage and receive payment. In 2010, this was changed so that users could label images as suitable for stock use themselves.24
On 20 May 2013, Flickr unveiled a redesigned layout and additional features, including one terabyte of free storage for all users, seamless photostream, cover photo and updated Android App.2526 The redesigned layout fills the page with dynamically re-sized photos and, on the home page, displays recent comments on photos. Tech Radar described the new style Flickr as representing a "sea change" in its purpose.27 Many users criticised the changes, and the site's help forum received thousands of negative comments.28
In June 2008, Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield announced his resignation, which followed his wife and co-founder Caterina Fake, who left the company on 13 June 2008.29 Butterfield, known for bizarre letters, wrote a humorous resignation letter to Brad Garlinghouse.30
On 11 December 2008, The Guardian reported that three employees had been laid off as Yahoo continued to reduce its workforce,31 and on 30 November 2010, CNET reported Yahoo was on the verge of a major layoff affecting 10–20% of its workforce. Flickr was specifically named as a target for these layoffs.32
Flickr offers three types of accounts: Free, Ad Free and Doublr. The free option includes one terabyte of storage limited to 200 MB per photo and 1 GB per video. The Ad Free option allows subscribers to avoid advertisements for an annual fee. As the name suggests, the Doublr account includes two terabytes of storage.33 In May 2011, Flickr added an option to easily reverse an account termination. This action was motivated by a very public accidental deletion of a Flickr user's account, and its protracted restoration.34 Flickr may delete accounts without giving any reason or warning to the account's owner.35
Before May 2013, Flickr offered two types of accounts, Free and Pro. Free accounts were limited in data storage, accessibility, and interaction. Pro accounts received unlimited bandwidth and storage, and allowed users to upload an unlimited number of images and videos every month. New Pro accounts are no longer offered, but old ones remain active; there are no plans to retire Pro accounts.36
Flickr asks photo submitters to organize images using tags (a form of metadata), which enable searchers to find images related to particular topics, such as place names or subject matter. Flickr was also an early website to implement tag clouds, which provide access to images tagged with the most popular keywords. Because of its support for tags, Flickr has been cited as a prime example of effective use of folksonomy, although Thomas Vander Wal suggested that Flickr is not the best example.37
Flickr also enables users to organize their photos into "sets", or collections of photos that fall under the same heading. Sets can be displayed as a slideshow and shared by embedding them in websites. However, sets are more flexible than the traditional folder-based method of organizing files, as one photo can belong to one set, many sets, or none at all. Flickr's "sets" represent a form of categorical metadata rather than a physical hierarchy. Geotagging can be applied to photos in set.38 Any sets with geotagging can be related to a map using imapflicker. The resulting map can be embedded in a website.39 Sets may be grouped into "collections", and collections further grouped into higher-order collections.
Organizr is a web application for organizing photos within a Flickr account that can be accessed through the Flickr interface. It allows users to modify tags, descriptions, and set groupings, and to place photos on a world map (a feature provided in conjunction with Yahoo Maps). It uses Ajax to emulate the look, feel, and quick functionality of desktop-based photo-management applications, such as Google's Picasa and F-Spot. Users can select and apply changes to multiple photos at a time, making it a better tool for batch editing than the standard Flickr interface.
Flickr provides both private and public image storage. A user uploading an image can set privacy controls that determine who can view the image. A photo can be flagged as either public or private.40 Private images are visible by default only to the uploader, but they can also be marked as viewable by friends and/or family. Privacy settings also can be decided by adding photographs from a user's photostream to a "group pool". If a group is private all the members of that group can see the photo. If a group is public the photo becomes public as well. Flickr also provides a "contact list" which can be used to control image access for a specific set of users in a way similar to that of LiveJournal. In November 2006, Flickr created a "guest pass" system that allows private photos to be shared with non-Flickr members. This setting allows sets or all photos under a certain privacy category (friends or family) to be shared.41 Many members allow their photos to be viewed by anyone, forming a large collaborative database of categorized photos. By default, other members can leave comments about any image they have permission to view and, in many cases, can add to the list of tags associated with an image.
The core functionality of the site relies on standard HTML and HTTP features, allowing for wide compatibility among platforms and browsers; Flickr's functionality includes RSS and Atom feeds and an API that enables independent programmers to expand its services. This includes a large number of third-party Greasemonkey scripts that enhance and extend the functionality of Flickr. In 2006, Flickr was the second most extended site on userscripts.org.42 Organizr and most of Flickr's other text-editing and tagging interfaces use Ajax, with which most modern browsers are compliant. Images can be posted to the user's photostream via email attachments, which enables direct uploads from many cameraphones and applications. Flickr uses the Geo microformat on over 3 million geotagged images.43
According to the company, as of August 2009[update] Flickr is hosted on 62 databases across 124 servers, with about 800,000 user accounts per pair of servers.44 Based on information compiled by highscalability.com, as of November 2007[update] the MySQL databases are hosted on servers that are Linux-based (from Red Hat), with a software platform that includes Apache, PHP (with PEAR and Smarty), shards, Memcached, Squid, Perl, ImageMagick, and Java; the system administration tools include Ganglia, SystemImager, Subcon, and CVSup.45
Groups are used as a way to communicate with fellow members of Flickr around common photography interests. Groups can be started by any member of Flickr. The creator of the Flickr group has the ability to monitor and set restrictions for the group. By choosing to follow groups, recent uploads of the group will sometimes appear on a user's homepage when they log on.
|Stable release||3.2.1 / 11 June 2009|
|Operating system||Mac OS X, Windows 7, Vista & XP|
Users of Windows Photo Gallery, Apple's iPhoto (version 8), Adobe's Lightroom 3.2, Apple's Aperture (version 3.0), and darktable have the ability to upload their photos directly to Flickr. They can also automatically update their status on other Social networking service when they upload their images to Flickr.46 Flickr provides a desktop client for Mac OS X and Windows that allows users to upload photos without using the web interface. Uploadr allows drag-and-drop batch uploading of photos, the setting of tags and descriptions for each batch, and the editing of privacy settings.47
Flickr has entered into partnerships with many third parties. Flickr had a partnership with the Picnik online photo-editing application that included a reduced-feature version of Picnik built into Flickr as a default photo editor.48 On 5 April 2012, Flickr replaced Picnik with Aviary as its default photo editor.49 In addition to using commercial mapping data, Flickr now uses OpenStreetMap mapping for various cities; this began with Beijing during the run-up to the 2008 Olympic games. As of October 2008[update], this is used for Baghdad, Beijing, Kabul, Sydney, and Tokyo.5051 OpenStreetMap data is collected by volunteers and is available under the Open Database License. Flickr offers printing of various forms of merchandise, including business cards, photo books, stationery, personalized credit cards, and large-size prints from companies such as Moo, Blurb, Tiny Prints, Capital One, Imagekind, and QOOP. In addition, Flickr has partnered with Getty Images to sell stock photos from users.52
In March 2007, Flickr added new content filtering controls that let members specify by default what types of images they generally upload (photo, art/illustration, or screenshot) and how "safe" (i.e., unlikely to offend others) their images are, as well as specify that information for specific images individually.53 Individual images are assigned to one of three categories: "safe", "moderate", and "restricted".54 Users can specify the same criteria when searching for images. There are some restrictions on searches for certain types of users: non-members must always use SafeSearch, which omits images noted as potentially offensive, while members whose Yahoo accounts indicate that they are underage may use SafeSearch or moderate SafeSearch, but cannot turn SafeSearch off completely. The system achieves a fairly good separation of family-friendly photos and adult content; generic image searches normally produce no pornographic results, with the visibility of adult content restricted to users and dedicated Flickr communities who have opted into viewing it.54
Flickr has used this filtering system to change the level of accessibility to "unsafe" content for entire nations, including South Korea, Hong Kong, and Germany. In summer 2007, German users staged a "revolt" over being assigned to the user rights of a minor. See Censorship below.
Flickr offers users the ability to either release their images under certain common usage licenses or label them as "all rights reserved". The licensing options primarily include the Creative Commons 2.0 attribution-based and minor content-control licenses – although jurisdiction and version-specific licenses cannot be selected. As with "tags", the site allows easy searching of only those images that fall under a specific license.55
Several museums and archives post images released under a "no known restrictions" license, which was first made available on 16 January 2008. According to Flickr, the goal of the license is to "firstly show you hidden treasures in the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer." Participants include The National Museum of Denmark, Powerhouse Museum, George Eastman House, Library of Congress, Brooklyn Museum, Nationaal Archief, National Archives and Records Administration, National Library of Scotland, State Library of New South Wales, and Smithsonian Institution.5657
In May 2009, White House official photographer Pete Souza began using Flickr as a conduit for releasing White House photos. The photos were initially posted with a Creative Commons Attribution license requiring that the original photographers be credited. Flickr later created a new license which identified them as "United States Government Work", which does not carry any copyright restrictions.58
On 12 June 2007, in the wake of the rollout of localized language versions of the site, Flickr implemented a user-side rating system for filtering out potentially controversial photos. Simultaneously, users with accounts registered with Yahoo subsidiaries in Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea were prevented from viewing photos rated "moderate" or "restricted" on the three-part scale used. Many Flickr users, particularly in Germany, protested against the new restrictions, claiming unwanted censorship from Flickr and Yahoo.59
Flickr management, unwilling to go into legal details, implied that the reason for the stringent filtering was some unusually strict age-verification laws in Germany. The issue received attention in the German national media, especially in online publications. Initial reports indicated that Flickr's action was a sensible, if unattractive, precaution against prosecution,60 although later coverage implied that Flickr's action may have been unnecessarily strict.61 On 20 June 2007, Flickr reacted by granting German users access to "moderate" (but not "restricted") images, and hinted at a future solution for Germany, involving advanced age-verification procedures.
In 2007, Virgin Mobile Australia launched a bus stop advertising campaign which promoted its cellphone text messaging service using the work of amateur photographers who uploaded their work to Flickr using a Creative Commons by Attribution license. Users licensing their images this way freed their work for use by any other entity, as long as the original creator was attributed credit, without any other compensation being required. Virgin upheld this single restriction by printing a URL, leading to the photographer's Flickr page, on each of their ads. However, one picture depicted 15-year-old Alison Chang posing for a photo at her church's fund-raising carwash, with the superimposed, mocking slogan "Dump Your Pen Friend".6364 Chang sued Virgin Mobile and Creative Commons. The photo was taken by Alison's church youth counsellor, Justin Ho-Wee Wong, who uploaded the image to Flickr under the Creative Commons license.64
The case hinges on privacy, the right of people not to have their likeness used in an ad without permission. So, while Mr. Wong may have given away his rights as a photographer, he did not, and could not, give away Alison's rights. In the lawsuit, which Mr. Wong is also a party to, there is an argument that Virgin did not honor all the terms of the nonrestrictive license.64
On 27 November 2007, Chang filed for a voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit against Creative Commons, focusing their lawsuit against Virgin Mobile.65 The case was thrown out of court due to lack of jurisdiction and subsequently Virgin Mobile did not incur any damages towards the defendant.66
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch67 and the Electronic Frontier Foundation68 have criticised Flickr for its heavy-handed implementation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Under the DMCA, a service provider such as Flickr is obliged to delete or disable access to content as soon as they receive an official notice of infringement, in order to maintain protection from liability.69 After having one of his own pictures taken down following an incorrect DMCA claim, comedian Dave Gorman researched the issue and concluded that if the Flickr user were not based in America – or they were but the person filing the notice of infringement were not – Flickr deleted the disputed content immediately. Even if the user could successfully demonstrate that the content did not infringe upon any copyright, Flickr did not, according to Gorman, replace the deleted content. He argued that this was contrary to their obligations in responding to a DMCA counter-notice.70 Shortly afterward, Flickr changed their policy.71
- Image hosting service
- List of photo sharing websites
- List of social networking websites
- Photo sharing
- User-generated content
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- "Flickr.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
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- Graham, Jefferson (2007-05-04). "Yahoo Photos Going Dark as Flickr Shines On". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-05-30.
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- Tibken, Shara (2013-05-20). "Yahoo Wants to Make Flickr 'Awesome Again'". CNET. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
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- Shaw, Gillian (2013-05-17). "Yahoo Acquires Tumblr, Announces Flickr Overhaul". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- Arrington, Michael (2008-06-17). "Flickr Co-founders Join Mass Exodus From Yahoo". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- Fitzsimmons, Caitlin (2008-06-19). "'I don't need no fancy parties' says Flickr Founder in Resignation Letter". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- Johnson, Bobbie (2008-12-11). "Now Flickr Is Hit by Yahoo Layoffs". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- McCarthy, Caroline (2010-11-30). "Yahoo Said to Be Rolling Out Layoffs". CNET. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
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- Shankland, Stephen (2011-05-27). "Flickr Adds Account-Undelete Option". CNET. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
- Jeffries, Adrianne (2011-02-03). "On Flickr Deleting User Accounts". New York Observer. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
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- Vander Wal, Thomas (2006-01-17). "Folksonomy Research Needs Cleaning Up". Retrieved 2006-09-04.
- "Creating Flickr Sets Video". Goss Interactive. 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- "Mapping Flickr Sets Video". Goss Interactive. 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
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- Partington, Brian (2006-08-19). "Ink Interview: Steeev". Utata Daily Ink. Archived from the original on 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
- "Flickr supports "Geo" Microformat". TechCrunch. 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2013-07-26.
- Kevin Collins (2009-08-16). "Bad case of Hiccups!". The Help Forum. Retrieved 2009-08-18. "For some of the details, we have 62 DBs across 124 servers- accounts are spread across 2 servers each. There are around 800k accounts per pair, give or take some thousand. On one of the pairs, there is a greater number of "active" members who populate it; stats recalculations have been taking some time longer to execute, and the database has not been happy."
- Hoff, Todd (2007-11-14). "Flickr Architecture". Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "Flickr + Facebook!". Flickr. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
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- van Grove, Jennifer (2009-03-11). "Flickr Photos Become Stock Photography at Getty Images". Mashable. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
- Flickr.com / Help / FAQ / Content filters
- Russell, Terrence (2007-11-07). "How Porn and Family-Friendly Photos Coexist on Flickr". Wired. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "Flickr: Help: Photos: How can I copyright my photos?". Flickr. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
- "The Commons: Participating Institutions". Flickr. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Cohen, Noam (2009-01-18). "Historical Photos in Web Archives Gain Vivid New Lives". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-02. "In a similar move to harness the public's knowledge about old photographs, the Library of Congress a year ago began adding photographs with no known restrictions to a Flickr service called the Commons. The Library of Congress started with 3,500 photos and adds 50 a week."
- Singel, Ryan (2009-05-11). "Flickr Creates New License for White House Photos". Wired. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- Morris, Craig (2007-06-14). "Flickr Filter Raises Eyebrows". C't. Archived from the original on 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- Lischka, Konrad (2007-06-14). "Zwangsfilter: Flickr verbietet Deutschen Nacktfotos". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- Lischka, Konrad (2007-06-21). "Foto-Portal: Jugendschützer: Flickr-Filter nach deutschem Recht nicht nötig". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- Branigan, Tania (2009-06-02). "China Blocks Twitter, Flickr and Hotmail Ahead of Tiananmen Anniversary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "Lawsuit over Virgin Mobile's use of Flickr girl blames Creative Commons". Out-law.com. 2007-09-25. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- Cohen, Noam (2007-10-01). "Use My Photo? Not Without Permission". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-24. "One moment, Alison Chang, a 15-year-old student from Dallas, is cheerfully goofing around at a local church-sponsored car wash, posing with a friend for a photo. Weeks later, that photo is posted online and catches the eye of an ad agency in Australia, and the altered image of Alison appears on a billboard in Adelaide as part of a Virgin Mobile advertising campaign."
- Gross, Grant (2007-12-01). "Lawsuit Against Creative Commons Dropped". PC World. Retrieved 2008-05-25.
- LaVine, Lindsay (2012-12-20). "Use Photos in Advertisements? Take These Steps to Avoid a Lawsuit". NBC News. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- Arrington, Michael (2009-08-21). "Flickr v. Free Speech. Where Is Their Courage?". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- von Lohmann, Fred (2009-09-07). "Improving DMCA Takedowns at Blogger, Flickr". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "U.S. Copyright Office - Copyright Law: Chapter 5". Copyright.gov. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- Schofield, Jack (2012-03-16). "How Dave Gorman Fought Flickr over a Deleted Photo". zdnet. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- Schofield, Schofield (2012-06-13). "Dave Gorman Wins: Flickr Changes Deletion Policy". zdnet. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
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