Yahoo’s new management has done a fantastic job ruining the experience of millions of users of their formerly popular photo service called Flickr. Looking at the feedback, the site relaunch of 20/05/2013 was not welcome by the majority of members posting there. Main points of critique were the “endless scrolling” that loads new images as soon as a viewer approaches the end of the screen, the “justified view” that turns any series of photos into a wall of photos with almost zero whitespace, and the general lack of customization options for individual photographs and photo streams. Add to this the general slowness when loading photos (caused by the larger previews and the endless scrolling), and one could understand why many users were up in arms against the changes.
The consequence: 29,743 posts in the first official feedback thread, which was closed after about a week, and 11,270 posts in the second official feedback thread which has been closed last night, four weeks after the relaunch. So the management has decided that they had enough of “feedback”. No wonder, as the majority of those 41,000+ posts was in the “don’t like” camp, while the usual suspects (staff, and a tiny group of eloquent “volunteers”) were defending the changes to the last bit. They have been claiming that the critics were just a vocal minority not fond of changes, and that the new “awesome” site has been attracting much more visitors anyway, using the service happily, and silently.
Well, this seems to be not true.
Let’s take a closer look at the stats reported by Internet web analytics giant Alexa:
Estimated percentage of global internet users who visit flickr.com, December 2012-June 2013, Source: alexa.com
Yes, there is a noticable spike following the relaunch of the site 20/05, probably caused by the media reporting around the new interface and people trying the new service. But the spike was just that – a spike, a short Blitz, the 5 days of Internet fame if you want. Traffic fell to levels even below previous levels, probably caused by senior members (like me) leaving the site, and deleting their photo streams on their way out. And thousands of other puzzled people who just don’t know how to actually use the site. Also, considering that Flickr had a reach of about 2.5% two years ago, it’s a loong way back to former success. In my opinion, the relaunch can only be called an utter failure. Or, to use Flickr language: Buggr!
Conclusion – Flickr is still a wreck after the 20/05 relaunch and back on the old path. The relaunch did not change the downward trend which is likely to accelerate over the coming months. The management has made unmistakenly clear that the “old” Flickr won’t come back. It’s history. Yahoo has decided to make Flickr a dump for smartphone kiddies, and they failed at that so far.
Flickr – R.I.P.