Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Message to Flickr

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Apr 11, 2007

A message sent to Flickr, in some anonymous web comment form, because they don't answer email any more, on the occasion of the notification that my Pro account is about to expire.

I am still receiving the notifications when people connect to my photos, and the message saying my Pro account will expire soon reached me OK.

I want to be able to log into my Flickr account with my email address and my password.

Why is that so hard?

I don't want a Yahoo account. I don't want a yahoo email address that I will never use and I don't want a username that consists of almost random words and numbers (the spammers have long since taken any useful Yahoo identity names).

I want to use my email address and my password to log into Flickr.

I want to use *my* identity to log into Flickr.

Why was it not possible to take the identity information you did have about me - and you have quite a bit - write a ten-line program that feeds that into Yahoo's system, that generates an ID behind the scenes, and that associates my Flickr identity with whatever Yahoo account you want.

It would be a piece of cake for Flickr to embed a Yahoo-readable cookie into my browser with this identity, should Yahoo ever need to know it.

There is no good reason for me to give up my Flickr identity. I write web software for a living. I know how easily this could have been addressed some other way.

It has nothing to do with technical needs - you know it and I know it.

It has everything to do with branding. You want me to think 'Yahoo' every time I log into Flickr.

And the way you did that is to take away my identity.

You rippped my name out of my hands and said, "You will use our Yahoo (mangled) name.

I do not want to use the Yahoo name. I want to use my name.

I don't see why you don't understand that. But the evidence remains, you don't - and that tells me some very bad things about what the company has become.

It tells me that despite the social networking pretensions Flickr has always had the service will become a closed application, accessible only via proprietary Yahoo technologies.

It tells me that, despite the fine words about this being my content that I'm hosting with you, in your corporate offices you actually believe it is your content, and that you can block access to it on a whim - as you have done to me for the last couple of weeks.

It tells me that the things that matter to me - like my name - are the first to be sacrificed for corporate convenience and corporate branding.

I'll post this post to my Blogger blog - yes, another company that has managed identity very badly. I'll post it because I don't ever expect anything like a proper response to my concerns, much less a change in policy.

I'll post this so that there is a record of the moment I broke my relationship with this company.

It will be like the last time a company took my identity away from me.

It was an email address, just like now.

It was handed over without so much as a by-your-leave to some AOL member who didn't know and didn't care.

Companies that play fast and loose with their customers identities don't last.

The email was ''.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jul 22, 2024 10:12 p.m.

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