February 2, 2011, Posted by Kevin Mullett in marketing tools, photography, social

what if flickr DELETED THOUSANDS of your pictures

Flickr deleted my photography? Imagine for a moment if it happened to you. For the roughly 21 million unique users who might regularly share our photography on flickr.com this is a scary thought. For people with thousands of carefully curated photos, like myself, it is unthinkable. Yet that is exactly what happed to Mirco Wilhelm, a pro account holder who recently had his flickr account deleted. Of course no sane photographer would rely on an outside service as the sole storage place or backup of their photography. No, it’s about the time to rebuild, relink, and reorganize, albeit without the ability to exactly duplicate.

Some may think this is no big deal and is a simple matter of just re-uploading images to the site. I submit those folks are blissfully unaware of what goes into the posting process.

my photography folderThe selection process alone would be daunting. Depending on how you store and curate your photography locally, you would be reviewing tens of thousands of photos to decide which ones to republish. Since there is unlikely to be a master listing of what was previously published, discrepancies would exist.

Re-uploading 4000 pictures would be a lengthy process, regardless of the size, but this is the least of our concerns.

Lets talk about the titles and descriptions which would be basically impossible to exactly duplicate and would present a data entry nightmare. Would you recall people and event names, links you had in the descriptions, and that funny story about the photo. Take Robert Scoble’s account which features photography from conferences and interviews around the world. Think of the time it would take to correctly title and fill in those descriptions.

How about reentering all these fields and options?:

  • Tags
  • Privacy
  • Sharing
  • Commenting (oh you lost all comments by the way)
  • GeoLocation

Now think of curating all these photos back into groups, sets, and collections. As you can see, this isn’t simply a re-upload and be done scenario.

Oh wait. What about all the potential broken back links pointing to the previous pictures from parts unknown across the internet. What about search engines who display these photos in not only there main results, but in image search results as well.

Whew, are you starting to see the bigger picture? Heh, see what I did there? Flickr could allow me to download a simple file with all my data or offer a backup, that is separate from account deletion, but as it stands they don’t.

If you know of a third party backup solution drop it in the comments below and check out my photography on Flickr before they delete my account.

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