The appearance at the start of last week of a Yahoo toolbar at the top of all Flickr webpages has, at the time of writing, generated no less than 23 pages of comments, the vast majority from users unhappy with the change.
The new toolbar, which comes a couple of months after the site received a major redesign, features links to Yahoo products such as Mail, News, Sports, Finance, and so on. The same toolbar appears at the top of other Yahoo pages, with its appearance on Flickr an attempt to fully integrate the site into the Yahoo network.
User Swifty kicked off the forum, complaining that the bar “takes up valuable real estate when I’m trying to view my Flickr account and photos.”
Yahoo’s Thea Lamkin was quick to respond, explaining, “The idea is to make it easier to access other places in the Yahoo network and make visiting Yahoo pages a more seamless experience. This also lets your photos benefit from a wider audience.”
But this didn’t wash with many site members, especially Pro users who were promised an ad-free experience for their money.
Mimbrava, a user since 2005 – the year, incidentally, that Yahoo acquired Flickr – wrote, “I am a Pro member, and I’m not supposed to be getting advertising, which is what the Yahoo toolbar is, or at least it’s promotion, which amounts to the same thing,” she said. “Why the heck do you not give us options to turn offensive or undesirable things off?”
‘A design disaster’
Another user, marc von martial, called the toolbar “a design disaster”, adding, “Yahoo has learned nothing in the last decade as it seems. Dropping pro account now. Sorry guys, this is just too much.”
Others called it “distracting”, “intrusive”, “worthless” and “atrocious”. One particularly disgruntled user described it as “fugly”.
A note on Pro users – Yahoo ended the Pro membership option in May with the rollout of the new design, incorporating many of the Pro perks into the free model. Payment options now include a Doublr account for $500 a year offering 2 terabytes of space, double that of a free account, and an Ad Free account for $50 a year, promising “no ads in your browsing experience”. Whether Yahoo relents and offers existing Pro users and new Ad Free users the option to do away with the toolbar remains to be seen, but it looks like free users will have to get used to it.
As Cnet points out in its report, perhaps Tumblr users will start to wonder if their site will be getting the same treatment in the near future. When Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo in May, CEO David Karp reassured users that the microblogging site will remain the same. “We’re not turning purple,” he said. Flickr has just turned a bit purple, and many in its community are not happy about it.