Flickr and Zooomr debtors to us all

I have to give the folks at Flickr credit for their competitor API position. I have been in heated discussions dealing with the openness of systems. In my experience there exists a group of people that fear losing something (Take your pick: money, customers, advantage, IP etc..) because of being open. My response to that group of people is that which you fear losing was never yours to lose.

In Flickr’s case, the images, tags, relationships, and comments are simply on loan from their customers. Flickr’s willingness to respect the customers ownership over those attention artifacts is only going to strengthen their position.

Additionally, I think the quid pro quo approach by Flickr is reasonable but not necessary. I subscribe to the belief that attention is symmetrical. Flickr by paying attention to their customers needs will only receive more attention from their customers, resulting in less attention for their competitors.


Flickr Central RSS Feed
Stewart Butterfield’s statement on FlickrCentral

TechCrunch RSS Feed
TechCrunch article on the Flickr Zoomer flap.

5 thoughts on “Flickr and Zooomr debtors to us all”

  1. So are you saying that you would actually pay more attention to someone that pays attention in the right ways to you? That you would even PAY THEM MONEY for services??

    Could it be that what we’ve been saying is true for all these years? "That revenue is the by product of doing the right thing for your customers"?

    Yeah, right. Like I believe that.

    I think your thoughts are right on. I like the distinction of a quid pro quo with customers and the fact that all of their attention is on loan. I think companies would do well to follow this model, because its more valueable to address losing attention than it is revenue.

    Just my $0.02

  2. I agree with you about silos. The sites that make themselves more open will destroy the competitors that do not. We’ve talked about that a lot and I’ve thought a lot about an application that could make all those different sources look like one source. Of course, creating such a beast is easier when you don’t need to screen scrape.

    That said, all of this reminds me of proprietary formats like Word’s doc. I think it’s the same problem really. The solution to that was to have an independent format and to export. If the silos continue to insist on staying closed maybe we need to think in those terms.

  3. I agree if the silos won’t cooperate then we will have to engineer around them. Its been done before and may be the only way to assert our rights over our attention.

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