SmugMug acquired Flickr two years ago, and since then, Flickr has gone through a series of tumultuous changes. Now, The Verge reports that SmugMug is pleading with Flickr users to upgrade to the “Pro” subscription to help “keep the Flickr dream alive.”
In a letter sent to Flickr users today, Smug CEO Don MacAskill acknowledged some of the struggles Flickr has faced, calling it “the world’s most-beloved, money losing business.” To help combat that, MacAskill says that users can upgrade to the Flickr Pro subscription.
The letter opens with a bit of self-deprecation, in which MacAskill calls Flickr “the world’s most-beloved, money-losing business.” But his plea for help is a serious one, and MacAskill says he’s not fishing for donations. He adds that every Flickr Pro subscription “goes directly to keeping Flickr alive and creating great new experiences for photographers like you.”
MacAskill also pointed out that SmugMug’s acquisition of Flickr wasn’t driven by a desire to collect and sell user data. Instead, SmugMug completed the acquisition because “Flickr deserves not only to live on but to thrive.”
With all of that being said, MacAskill admits that Flickr “can’t continue to operate at a loss” as it has been doing. And to help increase adoption of the “Pro” subscription, SmugMug is planning a promotion. Normaly, Flickr Pro costs $49.99 per year – but a discount available starting December 26th cuts that to $3 per month.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to optimize Flickr for cost savings wherever possible, but the increasing cost of operating this enormous community and continuing to invest in its future will require a small price increase early in the new year, so this is truly the very best time to upgrade your membership to Pro,” MacAskill says. “If you value Flickr finally being independent, built for photographers and by photographers, we ask you to join us, and to share this offer with those who share your love of photography and community.”
Last year, Flickr was forced to end its 1TB free plan, reducing the free storage account to 1,000 photos of any size. Seemingly, that switch hasn’t fully solved Flickr’s problems, with the company again doubling down on its “Pro” subscription as it looks to become profitable.
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