Lusus

Alternatives to Flickr

http://www.koinup.com

Since Smugmug took over Flickr and the subsequent change in its Terms of Service, there has been some discussion about how this affects not only Second Life residents but Flickr users in general. Many people with free accounts are especially anxious about the limit of 1000 photos and videos, as well as the limitations on the number of groups that can be joined. Among Second Life residents there is the added  concern that their content will no longer be welcome on what is essentially a real world photography platform.

To put these concerns into some perspective, 1000 images is still considerable, and Second Lifers can rest assured that their accounts are safe under the new Terms of Service. However, those still feeling uncertain about the changes coming to Flickr may want to look for alternatives, so here is a rundown of some of the top challengers to the Flickr platform.

Koinup

http://www.koinup.com/

Pros: For users of virtual worlds looking for a platform with some of the appealing features of Flickr, Koinup is an excellent option. One of the important aspects of Flickr for many is the ability to connect with and follow other members, allowing images to be shared and appreciated with a large audience, and this is a major feature of Koinup. Also, since Koinup is specifically orientated towards virtual photography and machinima,  there is no worry about losing membership due to having a 'false' account.

Subscriptions: Koinup is free to use.

Cons: A number of downsides to Koinup include, pages can sometimes load slowly, there is a storage limit of 3GB and there is a file size upload limit of 5120 Kb. This means digital photographers may not be able to add their highest quality images here, although it does not undermine Koinup as a good platform to share work and engage with other members.

Asners

https://asners.com/

Pros: Asners is a content sharing platform focused on virtual worlds, and as well as sharing images it is also possible to share links to blog pages and landmarks. There is also a social network element to Asners as members can 'follow' each other, 'like' each other's uploads and leave comments. All very useful for connecting and building an audience.

Subscription: Asners offers free membership although it does ask for voluntary subscriptions on Patreon to help cover the running costs from as little as $4.00 per month.

Cons: Although Asners is an image sharing platform a comparison with Flickr is a little unfair as its intentions are different. For instance there are no personal photostreams, albums, image galleries or groups for users. Whilst there is a profile page for its members, shared personal information is limited and the rest of the page is a list of uploads with thumbnails, with the look and feel of a well presented feed.

500px

https://about.500px.com/

Pros: One of the best alternatives to Flickr has to be 500px, with its clean layout and attractive gallery structure. As to be expected there is a strong social element with the possiblity to follow other members, voting on favourite photos and leaving comments. There is also the possibility of monetizing content through royalties.

Subscription: There is a free account option plus upgrades known as 'awesome' ($4.99), 'Pro' ($9.99) and 'Pro and Adobe' ($24.00). The prices shown are monthly, but billed annually.

Cons: Although there is a presence on 500px of Second Life residents it is primarily a platform for real world photographers. For free memberships there is a weekly upload limit of 20 images.

imgur

https://web.500px.com/

Pros: Imgur allows members to upload just about anything and as much as they like, as a brief look at the front page will show. Images can be voted up or down and commented on, and for members theres an expansive profile page where all of their content can be seen in one place.

Subcription:  Free to everyone.

Cons: Imgur may not appeal to serious photographers as their work could easily be swamped by more meme based posts.

Photobucket

http://photobucket.com/

Pros: Photobucket is one of the most popular photo storage platforms around, and provides a nice landing page for your account, with good sized thumbnails of uploads. It also offers a multitude of tools ranging from simple image editing to print, wall art and photo books among others. There are also options for sharing images to social media as well as embedding into a webpage.
  
Subscriptions: The free option allows up to 2GB storage. Other options include, Beginner for $4.48 per month with 25GB storage, Intermediate for $6.48 per month with 250GB of storage, and Expert for $11.48 per month with 1TB of storage.

Cons:  Photobucket pages seem very slow to load although this might improve for paid subscriptions. There is little or no social element for members which means its not really a platform to connect to other photographers.

Pinterest

https://www.pinterest.com

Pros: Pinterest's uniqueness lies in its ability to let users 'pin' images from across the internet and to collate them into 'boards'.  This keeps member's profile pages neatly organised and allows both pins and boards to be easily shared. Users' content can be either public or private, and other people's pins can be saved to your own boards. It is also possible to follow other users and to message them.

Subscription: Pinterest is free to use.

Cons: Although Pinterest does not display large images formats, each pin can be clicked so it takes the viewer to the original. Also, images on Pinterest cannot be embedded on blogs and websites, but a Pinterest widget can be added instead. Pinterest may not be an ideal substitute for Flickr but it is the kind of platform to be used along side it.

Tinypics

http://tinypic.com

Pros: Tinypic is an excellent image and video hosting platform and as the name suggests, it automatically shrinks the url of the image location to make it easier to use in website and blog layouts. Other users' content can be added to your favourites tab if there are pictures that appeal to you.

Subscription: Tinypic is a free service.

Cons: Tinypic may not appeal to serious photographers as their work may be mixed with all kinds of content. The social element to the platform is completely lacking except for the ability to add other people's images to your favourite list. Also, an images' direct link code is visible to everyone, so personal content may find its way onto random websites. Finally, the adverts on Tinypics can be very intrusive at times and get in the way when uploading or trying to grab the direct link code.

Google Photos

https://photos.google.com/

Pros: Google Photos offers unlimited image and video storage, and arranges content in an eyecatching and uncluttered format. Content can easily be organised into albums which can then be shared with friends. There is also a simple built in photo editor. On top of this there are also options to create photo books, animations and collages from your images.

Subscription: Google play is free to use, although the free option will compress large images. To overcome this however there is a monthly subscription option for $1.99 per month.

Cons: As an alternative to Flickr, Google Photos doesn't compare as its more of a hosting service with a few bells and whistles added on. This is good if thats what you're looking for but if connecting with other virtual or real world photographers is important to you, Google Photos doesn't offer this.

Deviant Art

https://www.deviantart.com/

Pros: In some ways Deviant Art could offer an ideal platform for Second Life virtual photographers and artists as it is designed specifically for their kind of work. In fact deviant Art is much more than this because it caters for all kinds of artists, from photographers, videographers, and of course digital artists. Members can set up a profile and galleries for their work, and sell it through the Deviant Art store. There is also a strong social structure.

Subscription: Basic membership is free although for unlimited storage and features such as group chat and setting up a portfolio there is a premium option for $4.95 per month.

Cons: Most of the best features are reserved for premium members and for basic membership storage is limited to 2GB.

This list briefly covers what are the main contenders for those looking for a Flickr alternative. One fact that stands out is that nearly all of the most ideal photo storage platforms have both free and paid options, with many of the free options offering limited features. On the other hand, paid memberships to these websites can be more expensive than a premium Flickr account.

In conclusion, if you're still thinking of moving content away from Flickr its going to be tricky to find somewhere that offers everything Flickr does. If however there are bloggers still intent on at least loosening their ties with the platform one step they could take is make their own blogs more social by supporting other bloggers.