I’ve been with Flickr for _ever_. Pretty much as soon as they opened the site, I signed up. Back in those days, you didn’t have an option it was _the_ place to host your photo back then – Site Du Jour … and it was the best executed to boot.
When they decided to introduce the Pro level I signed up because I was uploading loads of photos at that point – and I wanted to support Flickr because they’d provided a great service.
Over the years I’ve put loads of photos up – how many exactly I don’t know, because … Flickr has hidden all but my latest 200 photos, so I can’t find out.
My photos have vanished
It turns out that it’s not for no reason that my x thousand shots have vanished. It’s connected to my Pro membership not being renewed.
They’ve sent me reminders I’m sure and when I’ve been on the site and it’s reminded me that I needed to pay by $25 to continue the Pro account and each time, I’ve thought “I’ll do that later.”
Today I needed to recall a photo of mine that I knew was on Flickr, one of people crushed onto a tube train that I knew was there, but my search reported no photos. Very strange, thought I.
OK … I’ll page back to the beginning of my photos, but it reported that I only had 11 pages of photos available, with the earliest being from Jun 2007. What!
Only last 200 photos shown
One ‘feature’ of Flickr that I wasn’t aware of was that if you decided to not keep your account at Pro level and it slipped down to the normal, free account, only the last 200 of your photos were available to be seen on your account.
I know this now, but this wasn’t immediately apparent when you’re thinking “Has someone somehow hacked my account and deleted the photos?”
Flickr/Yahoo doesn’t make any distinction between the photos that you added before you had to pay and the photos that you added while paying them $25, it just make them all unavailable – I found out after searching online for answers.
Sure enough, paying my $25 has free up the archive of my photos again.
It’s of note and to Flickr’s credit that they give you a full year from the day you pay for your account, not from the date you first opened the account – so you don’t pay for the time you didn’t have the Pro features.
Break of trust
I understand that Yahoo/Flickr need to charge for a Pro service and that’s fine, but I’ve been left with the distinct impression that my photos were being held to ransom – If you don’t pay up, you’re not having your photos back.
This is a break of trust, and as we know, trust is the most important thing online.
What can be done?
First things is to grab a copy of your Flickr photos. I can reverse what’s happened to me, but others haven’t been so lucky.
A Java app called FlickrEdit (previously known as FlickrBackup) is available for that very reason. It not only does the photos, but the Title, Description, Tags, and Copyright as well.
And a tip to Flickr – how about placing something at the position that the 201 photos would be in along the lines of “”you might have other pictures available on here, but you can’t see them because you haven’t paid you Pro fees?”