Well, actually, they don’t. But the company will charge you $1 a day to use it. And they don’t plan to stop there.
“By the end of the year we’ll be making it free for everyone,” CEO Dave Morin told me. “For everyone.”
The company started by offering to let people take pictures on its servers for free, and then charging them to use them on social networks. As Morin explains, that’s a huge incentive for people to stay signed up, so they keep using Flickr. After years of being the default image-sharing site on the Web, he thinks Flickr will never let go of the idea.
“I like the fact that we’re now providing a paid service,” he said. “It’s a great business model. You’re providing an alternative service at the same cost to everyone.”
Flickr doesn’t currently own any photos, and, presumably, there’s a good reason behind this. But Morin wouldn’t get into specifics. “We don’t have anything we need to own,” he said. “But I’d like to someday talk about selling some of those assets that we’re generating.”
He does however understand why it might be valuable if someone wanted to share a picture on one of those services. Morin said he was just doing an update on the company’s revenue numbers, and they’re about in line with the estimates from earlier this year. In a few years, Flickr might get into some big contracts with companies like Google, which provide much-needed photo storage.
For now, Flickr says it expects to earn $1.16 a day from all the photos it’s taken this year. But if it can charge for those photos in a way that makes sense, the company could be on to something.
“Flickr wants to make money for the company, but also because we like the community.” –Dave Morin
“I like the community,” Morin said. “I like the work a lot. And I like the way the community is working together so it is very exciting.”
And perhaps this might be the tipping point that finally inspires Facebook, Twitter, and Google to get on board. With Instagram currently charging $1 a day for photo upload, that kind of price-fixing is bound to happen sooner or later. After all, when you make people pay money for using something, it tends to get popular in a hurry.
“People will start using it the
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