Flickr is continuing to nudge users toward paid accounts under SmugMug’s ownership. The photo host has told users they’ll soon need Pro accounts to share “restricted and moderate” content. The company claimed the move would help Flickr provide “safer spaces for everyone” (including not-safe-for-work creators) and free up “resources” to improve Pro communities.
The service also wants to steer its more introverted users toward subscriptions. Flickr plans to restrict free users to 50 non-public shots (limited to private, friends or family). Any photos beyond that cap are “at risk of deletion,” Flickr said. The firm characterized this as a way to encourage sharing and socialization, but was quick to suggest Pro memberships to anyone affected.
Flickr said it would share timelines and other details as the relevant terms of service rolled out. The company also noted that deletions aren’t guaranteed. It hasn’t deleted a single over-the-limit image since it instituted the 1,000-photo cap for free users in 2018.
The paywall might have its advantages by discouraging spammers and others who might dump racy content on Flickr without caring about quality. However, it also raises barriers for newcomers looking to post risqué photography — they’ll have to shell out for Pro (ranging from $8.25 per month to $133 for two years) just to make their content available. This is, effectively, a bet that the increased number of paying customers will make up for anyone who leaves for alternative platforms.