Archive for July, 2016

Captain Rick: Having loved photography my entire life, an awarded Webshots photographer in the early 2000s, I became a Flickr PRO member shortly after its acquisition by Yahoo in 2005.

Flickr grew to become the one of the largest and best quality photo sites on the internet with over 12 billion photos and 100 million dedicated users.

The telecommunications giant Verizon announced that it will spend $4.8 billion to acquire Yahoo’s operating business, including popular online content such as Yahoo, Flickr and Tumblr.

FlickrVerizon

Verizon hopes that by pairing Yahoo with AOL, which Verizon bought in May 2015 for $4.4 billion, that the result will be a digital media unit that could compete with Google and Facebook. Having followed so many of these wild internet company purchases during the past decade or so, I have serious doubts that Verizon will be able to make that happen.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, a former Google exec, was hired in 2012 to turn things around at financially struggling Yahoo. Flickr’s core users were hopeful that it might get the attention it deserved. She allowed Yahoo to loose focus on Flickr, allowing the top site for photographers to slip in quality and innovation. Yahoo was desperately trying to appeal to the Instagram generation, and in doing so started to alienate Flickr’s core users, many of whom were professional photographers. As a Flickr Pro member, I often gave feedback … but it felt like no one was listening. Things would break and it would take eight to 10 months before someone would respond. We were members paying money for a service that wasn’t working. It was insulting to me and other photographers who had been using Flickr so actively for so many years. We were clearly not the target audience any more.

Marissa Mayer generated controversy in 2013 for saying “there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore,” when explaining why Flickr was phasing out its Pro membership at the time. As a Flickr Pro member for a decade, I protested loudly as did millions of other Pro members. She quickly apologized for the statement. Us Flickr Pro members saw it as extreme ignorance on her part. Flickr drew more flack the following year by putting 50 million Creative Commons licensed photos by users up for sale through its new Wall Art service. Although it was within its rights to do based on the licensing, the move left a bad taste in photographers’ mouths, and Flickr pulled the plug on the arrangement the next month.

Amid dwindling share of only 1.3% of a growing $187 billion global digital market, the best she was able to do is put Yahoo up for sale. Mayer will help in the transition, but it is not known if she will remain as a Verizon employee. I think that in view of her high salary and lack-luster performance of Yahoo and neglect of Flickr, it would be in Verizon’s best interest to let her go.

Yahoo, Flickr and Tumblr are set to officially become Verizon properties when the deal closes in early 2017, assuming anticipated government approvals occur.

My fear is that Verizon, being a giant in the mobile phone market, cares little about quality photography and photographers. I think Verizon will sell Flickr or perhaps just let it die as an expense it can write off. As a Flickr Pro member who has invested many hundreds of hours into building and supporting my Flickr Photostream and several high quality photo groups, I am deeply saddened by that thought. On the other hand, it is my hope that Verizon will realize the great photographic jewel that it will possess in Flickr and find a way to breathe new life back into it. If executed with excellence, Flickr will remain the top site for quality among serious photographers … like me.

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Captain Rick: Donald Trump emerged from what the news media called a ‘joke’ a year ago, beating out 16 primary opponents to head the 2016 Republican Party ticket for President of the United States.

Trump’s drive was historic. He received a record high Republican delegate count and primary voter turnout. He is the first person to win a major party nomination without having previously held public office since Dwight Eisenhower. Trump created a movement in American politics, transforming a ‘nearly dead’ GOP into a party with new vibrancy that appeals to many more voters, including many independents and even democrats.

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Photo: Donald J. Trump accepts nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland Ohio on July 21, 2016.

Ivanka Trump (Executive VP of the Trump Organization) introduced her father, softening his image, saying that he is color-blind and gender-neutral.

Donald Trump said he ‘humbly and gratefully’ accepts the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. "We will lead our country back to safety, prosperity and peace."

He pledged to be a voice for working Americans who have been let down by government and that the elites who have run it. "So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I’m with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you."

He said he will restore law and order in America the day he takes office on January 2017. "Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life," he said. "Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country."

He said the American political system is “rigged”. "Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it," Trump said. 

Trump’s address was the most crucial moment yet in his transformation, from a brash tycoon and reality star to a presidential nominee with an expansive vision of disruptive change. The speech clocked in at 1 hour 15 minutes, surpassing Bill Clinton’s 1992 marathon and longest since 1972.