For many, photo album and sharing service Flickr represents a missed opportunity. Having been one of the earliest social websites, and a place where you could easily archive and back up your images without needing to pay for online storage, the company soon gained a large number of subscribers which built into a full-fledged community. It also gained the attention of Yahoo, eventually being acquired by the company in 2005.
But the matchup wasn't all it initially seemed. An article by Gizmodo's Mat Honan looks at how, following the buyout, Flickr's developers met with Yahoo's corporate development team and were forced to defend all of the decisions they had made governing Flickr's development. It became clear that Yahoo only saw value in the images and tags, rather than the users who had uploaded them, and that "integration, not innovation" was the focus of the product. Later, its lax attitude to apps further showed how unaware it was of the evolving tech consumer.
Flickr remains one of the big names in online social media, though those social elements have been overshadowed by the likes of Instagram and Facebook. Whether the ongoing improvements it has been making — a new justified view, integration with the popular sharing site Pinterest to improve its relevance, and larger high-resolution images — will help regain the cachet it used to hold remains to be seen. But is Yahoo's ownership holding back Flickr's success — a glass ceiling that it might not be able to break through?