Two Screenshots that Prove Marissa Mayer is Fulfilling Her Promise to Make Flickr Awesome Again


Over the weekend, photographer and big Flickr advocate Thomas Hawk posted two revealing screenshots on his blog. The first was taken a couple of months pre-Marissa Mayer and shows the Flickr staff page in April of 2012. The second was shows that same page yesterday.

His point needed little elaborating beyond that because the pictures speak for themselves. The before-and-after shows how the bare-bones staff of 39 people working on Flickr in 2012 has grown to 109, about 80% of which is completely new.



“After years of layoffs, CEO neglect, and lackluster product development, Flickr is back in a big way, firing on all cylinders,” writes Hawk. “Under solid new leadership by former Googler Bernardo Hernandez, Flickr is getting strong and competitive again in photo sharing.”

Of course, Hawk has always been a big advocate of the photo sharing site, but it hasn’t stopped him from calling the site out when they’ve made mistakes and alienated their user base.

That fact, combined with the un-subtle message the screenshots send, lends some credence to his words when he advises photographers to “check back in” with Flickr and see where the photo sharing site is headed.

The New and Improved Flickr [Thomas Hawk]

Image credits: Photographs by Thomas Hawk and used in accordance with Creative Commons license

  • dpanch_89

    How about you make a gaddamn official window phone app, considering the Lumia range have the best cameras in the smartphone market!

  • Bill Palmer

    Quantity and quality are not the same thing. Ipernity, Smugmug and a few others manage to deliver a vastly superior user experience with a fraction of the staff.

    There is no going back for (or to) Flickr – Meyer pressed the destruct button and no amount of window-dressing will change the fact that under her “guidance” it is no longer a resource for photographers; today it is a pool in which advertisers fish. I left because I did not want my images to be used to advertise by Yahoo. My view has not changed.

  • Boris Badenov

    Or you could buy a real camera

  • meaghdalena

    What he said.

  • docholliday666

    Mmmm. Marissa Mayer.

  • Stan B.

    And all them STILL can’t figure out how not to crop the right hand edge of the screen!!!

  • Ian Kirk

    Flickr seems to be all about numbers now. Quality, Commenting and Social have been shoved aside. Its become THE dumping ground for mobile tat.

  • C. G.

    Those screen shots prove nothing. flickr actually becoming “awesome” again would be proof of Mayer fulfilling her promise.

  • Stacy Young

    I really like the newest changes Flickr has made.

  • Todd Klassy

    Ipernity and Smugmug…you must be joking. Had you said maybe 500px or National Geographic Your Shot I might agree with you that Flickr is just now on par with them (with a lot of hard work in front of them), but Ipernity and Smugmug are nowhere in the same league with Flickr. Sorry.

  • Todd Klassy

    I think you need to refresh your memory a little. Thomas Hawk has not always “been a big advocate of the photo sharing site.” He was part of a failed effort to compete against Flickr early on. Also, I he was a huge fan boy with Flickr’s last update while everyone else it seemed hated it. Luckily for the rest of us Flickr updated its photo page one more time and that has been warmly received.

    As for Flickr itself, they are making improvements. But details regarding its new stock sale agreement are becoming clear and it will need a lot of polish. It is a poor facsimile of what 500px already offers.

  • Les Dishman

    I do know that I’m getting lots more likes and followers now than I used to. My presence is paltry compared to most … but it has spiked up recently.

  • Thomas Hawk

    ipernity is awful — more significantly though there is *nobody* on that site. It’s empty. A ghost town. Total crickets. I do have an account on there and I’m lucky to get 20 views on a photo, where I get thousands on photos on other networks. That is not a very good user experience at all.

    I agree with you that SmugMug is great. I think it’s one of the best places to post photos if you want to sell prints. I sell my own prints on SmugMug. They really are an awesome place — but here again, SmugMug is the high end market. Everybody there has to pay. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a different animal. By requiring everyone to pay, it makes for a good strong business model for a photography business site, but is not really the best vehicle for mass market distribution of your work.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “advertisers fish.” I see no advertisements on the site as I’ve got a pro account. Marketers do find many of my images on Flickr though and license them as stock, which if that’s what you mean, I’m ok with that as I get paid.

  • Thomas Hawk

    Stan, per your comment on my blog. I’m just not seeing this at all. Here is what my photostream looks like. There is no cropping of the right hand edge of the screen for me. Maybe it’s something wonky going on with your browser or you have enlargement turned way up or something. Maybe take a screenshot of what you are seeing where things are cropped wrong and share it in the flickr help forum and someone might be able to help you troubleshoot that. I think that problem is unique to you though.

  • Thomas Hawk

    Ian, I disagree. The quality of the photos on Flickr is far higher than the quality of photos on Instagram. I look at both every single day. In my opinion Flickr suffers at social because in order to retain the strongest social accounts you need to give them the best social playground. Flickr lacks a basic blocking tool which will allow anonymous trolls and bullies to drive many of the best social accounts. Also conversations in groups have lost emphasis and priority. I think getting social right is about the most important thing that Flickr should be working on though.

  • Bill Palmer

    “…and I’m lucky to get 20 views on a photo, where I get thousands on photos on other networks. That is not a very good user experience at all.”

    Thomas, that is not “user experience”, it is ego-affirmation. There is more to life than views.

    User experience encompasses all aspects of how you interact with, and gain value from the site, including ease of navigation and the UI. It also encompasses how the owners of the site view and treat you.

    “…I’m not sure what you mean by “advertisers fish.” I see no advertisements on the site as I’ve got a pro account.”

    Pro accounts no longer exist, remember? Ms. Mayer in her infinite wisdom killed them off with the immortal words “There’s no such thing as Flickr Pro today because [with so many people taking photographs] there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore.”

    It doesn’t matter what you see, Thomas. It is what visitors to your photostream will see. The whole point of Flickr now is to provide a platform for advertisers; that was why Yahoo moved the monetisation model from a subscription-based revenue stream to an advertising based one. Your hard work is the bait. Sponsors can now embed advertising into your – and everybody elses’ stream for the “benefit” of those browsing it. You don’t get a penny for that – not one red cent. If you are okay with that, you carry on…

  • Bill Palmer

    And thus you see how tastes differ. I tried 500px but I don’t enjoy endless macros and shots of sunsets, underage, underfed Russian girls and eyeball-searing, teeth-grating shortbread-tin-lid HDR. If I couldn’t sleep I would visit NG Your Shot. …to each their own.

  • Deirdre Ryan Photography

    I miss the old Flickr, while I still use it to backup my pictures from my iPhone 5, I just haven’t been as into the site as I used to be.

  • dpanch_89

    I do. I’d use it to show others my photos on my phone, as the OLED screen on it shows my monochrome work very well.

  • Thomas Hawk

    Bill, while part of an artist having their work viewed may be ego=affirmation, there are also very practical reasons for having your work as visible as possible as well. Having made thousands of dollars off of photo sales from having my work viewed I understand that.

    The reason why most people host their photos on a public social network is so that they can be viewed. Would I rather have my photo viewed by the public in a busy, trafficked location than hanging in my garage where nobody can see it? Sure. That’s why Flickr is vastly superior than iPernity for exposure of your work.

    As far as Flickr’s ease of navigation and UI, I find it much better than Ipernity’s navigation and UI. Much of this view is personal preference though. The owners of the site view and treat me and all the users just fine I think. There seems to be a renewed focus on the user at Flickr which I think is just great.

    Pro accounts are great. I’m sure as heck glad I kept mine. I encouraged everyone else to keep theirs as well. Pro accounts used to promise ad free for the photographer and ad free for those browsing their stream. I think this is still the case actually, as when I view my own photos logged out in incognito mode I see no ads. So I’m ok with this for me.

    Even though Pro accounts are no longer available you can still buy an ad free version of flickr for yourself. But even if people did see ads on my photos I’d be ok with that. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t put my photos up at Facebook which is wayyyyy more ad intensive for both the photographer and viewer. Facebook though, like Flickr, offers a very large global promotional platform for an artist. This is why most serious photographers I know have a presence on Facebook, even though Facebook may benefit from ads without sharing that revenue with them. The promotional value of a Facebook platform exceeds the value one might share in advertising revenue. I don’t know if you use Facebook or not, maybe not, but most people in the world do.

    I am ok with all of this.

    We are all unique and different though and Flickr may not be for everyone. Ipernity may be better for you and that is fine too. Different strokes for different folks as they say. :)

  • Richard

    I agree. Memories are short (what else is new).

  • Richard

    Me too. I’ve been using it since 2004 and while I think Yahoo messed things up for years, it’s obvious they’re putting some more time and energy into it now.

  • Bill Palmer

    Thomas, thank you for taking the time to respond.

    I see no benefit in the “whore’s dilemma” (providing a service BEFORE asking for payment…) nor do I see any value to me at all in having my imagery associated with advertising over which I have zero control – quite the contrary.

    Similarly, I do not “do” facebook. But then I don’t make my living from photography, but by advising large companies upon their digital customer engagement strategies and online brand presence; I don’t need a “very large global promotional platform”. Those images which I have made money from were not sold through Flickr but through targeted marketing.

    Trust me, Thomas, “most people in the world” do not use Facebook. It is “mom and pop”, Generation X, ante-social technology, largely ignored by the Millennials that comprise the next buying wave. It’s the same effect as when your dad starts wearing combat pants – they cease being “cool”.

    Where Flickr (and Yahoo) have lost the plot is that they are still trying to appeal to the Gen X market – in a very clumsy manner – when the buying power is moving inexorably elsewhere. I liken Yahoo with Flickr to a clumsy toddler with a butterfly – they have crushed it’s wings and now expect it to fly…

    But, as you say, to each their own. ipernity operates on a different Go-To-Market philosophy to Flickr – it is “private first, public second” and all the better for it. There is a vocal group within the customer base that does not want it turned into Flickr-lite and they have a point – why copy a broken model?

    Different strokes, indeed…

  • Jason Dunn

    I still love the Marissa Mayer quote of, “there’s no such thing as Flickr Pro, because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there is no such thing really as professional photographers.”

  • Syuaip

    Flickr was about groups and knowledge sharing.

    No more.

  • Al Borrelli

    Flickr was about photo displaying and sharing.. groups grew out of that.

  • Al Borrelli

    Completely disagree. All of the things you complain about are User related. The tools are still there for all of the “Commenting and Social” as it was in the past. What’s changed are the users. Yes, I think it’s been diluted with crap users/spam/creeps etc.. but the tools that made it good then are still there, it’s you and everyone else that’s changed.

  • C. G.

    Interesting. Would it be fair to say that the majority of Millenials that were using flickr began abandoning their accounts in droves three, four years ago?

  • Syuaip

    I hope they put groups back as part of Flickr apps functionalities.

  • C. G.

    The apps function as intended.

  • shivabeach

    I guess I still ask myself, why would anyone waste their time on Flikr? I had an account but I guess I never figured out why I was there.

  • agesinger

    I wonder if each of them will leave and cost yahoo $100mil