Why I left Flickr for 500px

This is one of the answers to questions no one has asked but I imagine someone would if I had readers.

I’ve been a member of Flickr since 2004 and I have over 6700 photos there. But this year I made the decision to switch photo hosting over to 500px. It wasn’t something I did lightly.

A number of my photos are linked to by other websites (though I haven’t recently checked to see if those links still exist) so by dropping my Flickr Pro membership it’s likely those links will go 404. It’s a chance I’m willing to take. I’m still keeping my Flickr account so the photos aren’t going away totally and I can always convert back to Pro if I want.

So why the change? It’s mostly about presentation. Flickr has been through a lot over the years. It was one of the few photo hosting/sharing sites early on and had a certain cachet as a result. But nothing lasts forever.

When Flickr started it had almost no competition and could do whatever it wanted. But that didn’t last. Making things worse was its acquisition by Yahoo. After an early flurry of activity due to the integration of Yahoo photos and profiles, Flickr was left alone. This stagnation made it easier for the competition to catchup and eventually pass Flickr. Like so many early market leaders it became an als0-ran in a market it essentially created.

Eventually, though, Yahoo woke up and realized they needed to do something about Flickr. What followed was a seemingly never-ending stream of changes. Every time you logged into Flickr the interface was different, features added or removed, and so on. This sort of thing is tolerable in a startup but felt out of place on a mature site like Flickr.

It got me to thinking about what I really wanted to do with my photos. Despite my half-hearted aspirations, I am not nor will I ever be a professional. Nevertheless, I would like to showcase my photos with some style. Flickr couldn’t make up its mind whether it wanted to be a photo site or a social media platform. Both are valid choices, but I was looking more towards the former. I just spewed photos at Flickr, without much thought about quality. That was fine, I guess, but I’m no longer of the opinion that’s what I want to do.

I want better presentation now more than I want quantity. For instance, compare a photo on 500px with a photo on Flickr (Flickr is down right now, which says more than I can about their service). I will never post as many photos on 500px but that’s not the point; the ones I do post will be what I consider my best.

There are many other choices out there, this is mine. It may be for you as well or may not be. Find the one you like, the one that does what you want the best, and have fun.

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