Yahoo Shuttering Photos

    May 4, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

One of Brad Garlinghouse’s ‘Peanut Butter Manifesto’ consolidation wishes is coming true, in a way, as Yahoo will be closing down its Photos service in favor of Flickr.

Yahoo Shuttering Photos
Yahoo Shuttering Photos
Yahoo Shuttering Photos

Change comes slowly to big companies, even in the Internet industry, where nimbleness is the watchword and being slow to adapt could mean losing one’s valuable visitors to another site.

Garlinghouse accused Yahoo of suffering from inertia when his now-infamous Peanut Butter Manifesto reached the Internet. The conditions that prompted his memo could be changing at the company.

Rafe Needleman and Michael Arrington both reported on their blogs the news from Garlinghouse about Yahoo Photos. Starting today, Yahoo would begin taking steps to shut down the service and migrate users to other places.

While most in the tech world will assume it’s just a matter of switching from Yahoo Photos to Flickr, Needleman said it isn’t quite that easy:

But Garlinghouse admits that Flickr isn’t the right sharing site for many users of Yahoo Photos, so users will be given the option to instead move pictures to Shutterfly or the Kodak Gallery. This is an interesting move for Yahoo, a company geared towards serving the mass audience of online users. Flickr is a great service, but it’s the black sheep of popular photo sites — it’s got a different organizational system from most sites, it’s more open, and it attracts a more tech-adept user base.

Arrington also commented on TechCrunch about the change, as he heard about it from Garlinghouse and Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield; the latter talked about the migration options for Yahoo Photos users, whether it is to Flickr or other services:

Most of these services have built special tools to transition users, Butterfield said. Users will also be able to download full sized original photos, or order CDs and prints at a discount to the normal price. “We have no interest in forcing anyone to switch to Flickr” Butterfield said. “We want happy users.” Yahoo Photos is currently the largest photo sharing site on the Internet, with around 2 billion stored photos.

Flickr, by comparison, has around 500 million photos. But Flickr is also growing much faster than Yahoo photos and coincidentally has just exceeded Yahoo! Photos in traffic, according to Comscore.

This could signal Yahoo is continuing a consolidation strategy that would merge or eliminate some of their duplicate services, and allow them to focus on the star performers in the company. They recently integrated Upcoming with Yahoo Local’s platform.

Perhaps Delicious and Yahoo My Web are prime candidates for the next move. Both Flickr and Upcoming were Yahoo acquisitions, just like Delicious. Duplicate bookmarking services can’t be an efficient use of engineering talent.