Yahoo will be shutting down Flickr’s commercial licensing and royalty program over the next few months as it rethinks the photographer experience. The company confirmed the closure and cited “consistent feedback” as the basis of its realization that “there is more work to be done.” Those participating in the program were notified by email.
“Over the past year we have received feedback from several of our users regarding the experience around licensing and royalties,” read a statement from a Yahoo spokesperson. “It was our hope to create the right Marketplace for our contributors, but based on consistent feedback, we understand there is more work to be done. As a result, we have decided to close the Flickr Marketplace licensing program. This closure will take place over the next few months.”
Flickr Marketplace was an effort to increase exposure for photographers and help monetize their work. Not only did it promise that photos would be featured across the Yahoo network, including on the homepage, Yahoo News, Yahoo Sports, and Flickr, it made it possible to share images and videos with other members of the media. The closure was first reported by TechCrunch.
While the current incarnation of Flickr Marketplace is being shut down, Yahoo’s statement suggests that an alternative solution could be in the works. However, it’s still unclear what Flickr’s role will be, especially following its parent company’s acquisition by Verizon.
The marketplace opened in 2014 with a curation team that would scour through Flickr’s database to not only find the best images but to provide whatever assistance, outreach, and connectivity was needed so photographers could monetize their work.
“Licensing is a great way to earn money with your photos, and whether you are new to licensing or an experienced pro, we want to make this process transparent and easy. We’ll handle the tedious work and keep you focused on taking great photos!” the company wrote at the launch.
From 2014 to 2015, Flickr had a partnership with Getty Images to handle licensing, but that relationship went sour, and so Yahoo is now looking at other ways to incentivize photographers to stick with the photo-based social network. Years ago, that might not have been such a difficult task, but today Flickr isn’t the only game in town — photographers have plenty of other options, including 500px and EyeEm. The latter services have made ongoing efforts to help photographers, including launching their own marketplaces and unveiling apps that improve the professional’s workflow.
Although the program is essentially finished, Flickr plans to pay out all royalties.