Flickr Commons — No More?

Roy Tennant posted on how Flickr will not be accepting new participants through 2010. How is this possible? I know of several institutions that would like to participate in the commons. Since Flickr is no longer accepting participants, that means that these institutions can no longer do that – and so their images remain hidden.

It’s a great post. So I’ve pasted it here. The original can be found at:http://www.libraryjournal.com/blog/1090000309/post/480052248.html?nid=3565.

For a while now word on the street had been that Flickr was no longer accepting participants in their “Flickr Commons” project, so I wasn’t surprised so much as dismayed when today I received confirmation of that fact. It came in the form of short statement on their page for registering to participate. It reads, in full:

Due to the current backlog of requests, we will not be accepting new registrations or requests to join the Commons through 2010.We apologize for the inconvenience. However, please feel free to begin sharing your photos on Flickr. You don’t need to be an official Commons partner to use our service, as long as you’re abiding by the Yahoo! Terms of Service and the Flickr Community Guidelines.

Thanks for your interest in the Flickr Commons.

Best Regards,

The Flickr Commons team

The Flickr Commons team? Is this a joke? Flickr laid off George Oates over a year ago, who was at the very least the public face of the Flickr Commons. Since no one apparently replaced her in that role, the level of commitment Yahoo has for the project seems obvious.

When Ms. Oates was fired, Tom Scheinfeldt wrote: “…the news about George Oates, someone who was universally well-regarded in our business and in the web business more generally, should give all of us pause. Specifically, it should let us ask again whether the benefits in ease, reach, and community of using commercial services for presenting cultural heritage collections and educational resources really outweigh the costs in storage, systems administration, and content segregation of rolling your own.”

At the time he also said that “My guess is that Flickr Commons will be just fine, and I still believe there is a lot of good in the idea.” Sure, it’s a great idea, but Tom may want to revisit whether he still thinks it will be just fine, or whether the firing of Ms. Oates was simply the first step in a process to decommission what Yahoo may feel is a costly distraction.

Meanwhile, once again we are reminded what it may mean, at times, to run with the big boys. They can choose, at any time, to take their ball and go home and there is nothing we can do about it.

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