Wherefore Flickr? Ideas for the Beloved Photo Site’s Escape From Yahoo

Flickr in 2004, before the Yahoo acquisition.

Earlier this week we wrote about how Yahoo had laid off at least five employees including the highest level of customer support at Flickr, sad news for fans of the photo sharing service. Flickr pulls in money via $25/year pro subscriptions, advertising and a licensing deal with Getty. Still, one analysis last year put Flickr’s revenue at $50 million a year on pro subscriptions alone. 

But not much has changed at Flickr since Yahoo took it over. The site arguably missed a big opportunity with the mobile phenomenon and could have expanded into video as well; traffic has also dropped over the years. The news of the layoffs was the last straw for some Flickr fans and former employees. One former employee wrote about the wrongheadedness of laying off top tier customer support for a site whose users are getting increasingly removed from the company. Yahoo is likely to outsource its customer service.

So whither Flickr? It’s one of Yahoo’s bright spots, although it’s a shadow of its former potential. Who will save Flickr, we wondered?

Getty. A natural move for the photo distributor, which currently licenses content from Flickr.

Google. Picasa has unlimited storage for photos and has been creeping on Flickr’s turf.

Microsoft. If the software giant couldn’t get Yahoo, maybe it can bite off a few pieces.

Tumblr. There’s already an exceeding amount of Flickr-Tumblr crossposting, and image hosting is one of Tumblr’s biggest costs.

The users. Flickr users were alarmed after rumors of the impending sunsetting of Delicious. Some users came up with the idea of a Kickstarter to raise money to buy Flickr. We’re pretty sure that would be against Kickstarter’s terms of service. But if that new crowdfunding bill passes, who knows?

Private investors. If Yahoo would allow it – and that’s a big if – private investors could buy the company back and turn it into a startup again so it can innovate more quickly and be more responsive to users. It happened with StumbleUpon, which was bought back from eBay in 2009. Wherefore Flickr? Ideas for the Beloved Photo Site’s Escape From Yahoo