Yahoo! is shutting down Yahoo! Photos in a week. It’s tough for a company to paint a pretty picture with that sorta information but I think the way they’ve handled this touchy situation is impressive.
1) They sent an email 2+ months in advance so customers had time to prepare for the closing.
For some time now, we’ve supported two great photo sharing services: Yahoo! Photos and Flickr. But even good things come to an end, and we’ve decided to close Yahoo! Photos to focus all our efforts on Flickr — the award-winning photo sharing community that TIME Magazine has called “completely addictive.”
We will officially close Yahoo! Photos on Thursday, September 20, 2007, at 9 p.m. PDT. Until then, we are offering you the opportunity to move to another photo sharing service (Flickr, KODAK Gallery, Shutterfly, Snapfish, or Photobucket), download your original-resolution photos back to your computer, or buy an archive CD from our featured partner (for users of the New Yahoo! Photos only). All you need to do is tell us what to do with your photos before we close, after which any photos remaining on Yahoo! Photos will be deleted and no longer accessible.
Of course, we hope you’ll join us at Flickr (you can even use your Yahoo! ID), but we also realize that Flickr may not be for everyone. In the end, we want you to find the service that’s right for you, and we hope you take some time to learn more about your options before making this important decision.
2) They provide a list of alternative photo sites: Flickr, KODAK Gallery, Shutterfly, Snapfish, or Photobucket. This way customers know their options and don’t feel left up a creek without a paddle.
3) They offer to do the heavy lifting and move photos to any of these other photo sharing services. No need for customers to go through a downloading and re-uploading hassle. They also do a good job explaining exactly how the transfer works, down to the number of emails to expect and how long it will take.
4) Just want your photos back? You can download hi-res photos individually or buy an archive CD at a reduced price. Too bad there’s no way to download all your photos at once though (they don’t “technically support” this).
5) They offer clear FAQs about the closing and how to move photos elsewhere.
6) They understandably pitch their own related service, Flickr, but also acknolwedge it may not be for everyone. “In the end, we want you to find the service that’s right for you, and we hope you take some time to learn more about your options before making this important decision.”
No one wants to shut down a service. But if you’ve gotta do it, Yahoo!’s approach offers some lessons on how to do it thoughtfully and in a way that minimizes customer frustration.
Seth Aldridgeon 12 Sep 07
This was well handled. I was surprised they even mentioned other services…some of which they don’t profit from. It’s nice to see a big company actually trying to help its customers.
Anonymous Cowardon 12 Sep 07
Interesting that they didn’t mention Picasa
Anonymous Cowardon 12 Sep 07
They didn’t mention Picasa due to technical issues on Google side. I read this 2 months back. However, Google has fixed the bug and has a write on how to transfer Yahoo! Photos over.
Nathan Bowerson 12 Sep 07
That’s nice. The Yahoo Photo migration team should talk to the “I want to delete my Yahoo account” team. I tried to delete my Yahoo account a while ago and it just wasn’t possible even though Yahoo has a form to do so.
joeyon 12 Sep 07
WORD! Good for Yahoo.
Jon Maddoxon 12 Sep 07
thats a hell of a lot better than what google did to GrandCentral customers.
Isaacon 12 Sep 07
I admire any company that shows the thought and care to look after its customers like this. It only requires you ask one question: “What would make this experience great if I was the customer?”
pwbon 12 Sep 07
I’m still completely amazed that Yahoo decided to do this. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a company of Yahoo’s size “competing” with itself. In fact, I’m not even sure Flickr and Yahoo Photos were similar enough to term it “competition”. Yahoo will not save a single penny due to supposedly consolidating operations. Now we are left with crappy alternatives from photo production companies and the higher-end, social Flickr.
Dumb. No wonder Yahoo stock is going nowhere.
Ole Begemannon 12 Sep 07
I agree that Yahoo handled this well and I commend them for giving their users options to transfer to other services than Flickr.
However, judging from the gazillion posts by disappointed ex-Yahoo Photos users on the Flickr help forum, they forgot to add the most important question to the FAQ: what, exactly, are the differences between Yahoo Photos and Flickr?
The Flickr approach is totally different from YPhotos and I suspect that many users did not anticipate such a radical change. Sure, they should have informed themselves better but in the end Flickr is stuck with lots of dissatisfied users who cannot disable the blog-like photostream on their page and realize they have to pay in a few months if they want to share more than their 200 most recent pictures.
Martin Ringleinon 12 Sep 07
I don’t know much about the situation as I am a flickr user from the begining—but does this mean there is no auto import from Yahoo Photos to Flickr? I’d be pissed about that!
I could understand if you can’t organize, title and even bring over comments/raitings etc. —but are you telling me the brain power at Yahoo can’t automagically downland high resolution photos and re-upload them to flickr. Even that task alone would save people tremendous time and headache.
Eh, not my problem—but I’d say closing one service for another service with no mechanism to migrate existing/loyal customers is a bad move all around.
Ole Begemannon 12 Sep 07
No, absolutely not. As far as I see it, nobody claimed that. Yahoo will transfer all photos including titles, descriptions and album configuration to Flickr or any of the other services.
Tomahawkon 12 Sep 07
can you elaborate some more on your post? Did Google shut down the GrandCentral service to its customers (I hope not I really want this service)? If they did, how would shutdown the service without making people mad?
Daniel Souzaon 13 Sep 07
i´m one of the former Y! photos customers. The transfer process between Y! photos – flickr was perfect. “Auto import” – simple, quick and clear, even for my grandpa. Titles, descriptions and everything worked fine. I was impressed, really. And i dont understand why people should bother about the differences between the two services: flickr UI is easy to learn and has more features. And of course, they gave me a Pro account for 90 days, free. So the upload limit didnt was important for me.
Elson 13 Sep 07
Are there more versions of Yahoo! Photos? Yesterday I received a notification from Yahoo quite similar to the one you wrote about, except that no other transfer option is mentioned than Flickr, and the shut down date is Thursday October 18, 9pm PDT.
I guess they are shutting down piece by piece or something?
Paul Kellyon 13 Sep 07
Shame they didn’t send the same message to UK Yahoo! users:
Laura Melsonon 13 Sep 07
Considering my father even figured it out, I’d say it was pretty simple and well explained! I like how they offered to export photos for you- I think photo sharing sites should start having features like this to mesh together better- Pixamo has an importer that brings photos over from most of the other photo sharing sites (www.pixamo.com)
Tim Aon 13 Sep 07
As a member of the Y! Photos team, I just wanted to say thanks for the recognition from 37Signals. It’s appreciated!
I also wanted to respond to a few questions/issues in the comments. - October 18th is the date in which we’ll close Yahoo! Photos in our international markets, thus if you’re a registered Yahoo! user in one of those markets you’ll see a different closing date. - Our international users don’t have all the same migration options because those options don’t share the same popularity or usage as they do here in the US – and none offer the international coverage that Yahoo! Photos offered (we supported 18 countries). Now that Flickr has localized versions, thankfully we have that full coverage and then some.
Ednaon 18 Sep 07
Machineon 18 Sep 07
Closing down Yahoo Photos has been horrible for long-time Flickr users… there’s been a large influx of former Yahoo Photos users that have slowed the service to a crawl… there are plenty of bugs that need to be fixed and long-desired features that need to be implemented… but the Flickr staff is swamped with requests by bewildered Yahoo Photos users who don’t understand the way the site works or are having technical problems migrating their photos.
It’s disappointing that Flickr is increasingly catering their service to the snapshot and family friendly crowd. It used to be a hip and interesting place to hang out socialize with artists, but now it’s just another Yahoo company.
This discussion is closed.