Last week I upgraded my free flickr account to a pro account for around 24 $ ( 17 € ) a year. Why did I do that ? I usually don’t pay for anything in the internet.
Well, I must admit, those flickr guys are real smart. I have been aware of this one bandwidth limit in flickr allowing you to upload only 100 MB worth of photos each month. This has been a limit I easily could life with, thus no need to upgrade and spent some money, I thought.
Well, there is another limit with a free account which to my mind is not clearly mentioned anywhere, at least as long as you don’t reach it. You bump into this limit as soon as you upload your 200th photo. At that time you get informed that you can upload more and more photos but flickr will always retrieve the latest 200 photos only whenever you retrieve a stream of photos. I checked that out and found that even if you retrieve photos only for a particular tag for instance or for a particular location on your map only photos from the most rescent 200 photos would show up; all the other older photos would be hidden. They are still available on flickr and even show up when you directly have referenced them e.g. in a blog entry, but you can not get to them anymore in any photo stream produced by flickr.
What bother me a little bit is that this is not mentioned clearly in their FAQ about free accounts. This FAQ entry I am talking about clearly mentions the bandwidth limit, then says “This is a bandwidth limit, and not an amount of space that you have on Flickr servers.”
This is a clever statement and I would claim: kind of a marketing trick. The statement itself is absolutely true, so we can not really blame flickr for lying. Even with a free account you can store an unlimited amount of photos, but … you can not retrieve those photos whenever you produce a stream of photos.
I am sure they have a reason not to mention this explicitly. They like you to become real used to flickr before they let you hit that limit.
Usually in such a situation when I realize someone is playing such marketing tricks with me I am the type of person who turns around right away and moves away. In this case I didn’t do that. I am so convinced about their offerings (geotagging as the last great example I have been blogging about) and delighted by their service that I kind of forgive them playing this trick on me. The price is low for what I get – thus I upgraded. The benefits and service is definitely worth the money. And I actually kind of salute how they have caught me as a customer. Clever move, I must say. There is nothing wrong in trying to make money in the internet, so much for sure. Being innovative and profitable is what every company wants to be.
Here is my message to all other web service provider out there: don’t try to play those marketing tricks on me ! Unless you really have something to offer which makes me more happy than my anger about your sticky tricks to get my money.