Remember when ‘freemium’ was a new concept and endless conference talks and blog posts evangelised it as the ultimate Web 2.0 business model? Flickr was very much the poster child of that age, offering a solid free product and a good reason to pay – unlimited storage and no ads. The newly relaunched Flickr has done away with that, offering instead what can only be described as ‘faux freemium’.
Seriously, there is no real need to upgrade from the free option – Flickr is now all about ad revenue. Sign out and go to the homepage – even finding details of the new plans is a challenge (hint: they’re buried in the FAQ).
Sure, there’s still a nod to its old model there. You can pay if you want to, but the paid tiers look more designed to milk money from those (few) people who really want to give money to Yahoo than any attempt at an alternative business model to ads.
$49 per year only to remove ads? I’m willing to bet that more people who paid for the old $25 Pro tier did so to get access to the unlimited storage and access to all their photos than for the removal of ads. As for the $200 per year double storage option? As our own Josh Ong noted, you could just get two free accounts and spread your photos across them.
According to a source that spoke to TechCrunch, the Pro tier never really did that well, so perhaps its time to die had come and the thousands complaining on Flickr’s support forum will just have to grin and bear it or go elsewhere. Google+, 500px and even Facebook are all solid alternatives for those feeling slighted by Yahoo today.
Still, as Flickr moves from freemium to faux-freemium, a little bit of the optimism of Web 2.0′s brave new world of a decade ago fades away in favor of good old-fashioned ads. RIP.