It won’t have escaped your notice that over the past number of years I have been addicted to the photo-sharing website flickr. To say that it has changed my life would probably be true as I have met many friends on-line and in real time through my association with this website.

Nearly two weeks ago flickr rolled out a complete new makeover which has upset many thousands of people. At first I was just bemused by the drastic change and watched as the situation developed and more and more were expressing dismay at the new site, and as I attempted to become accustomed to the new layout the more I also disliked it. A few friends and contacts abandoned ship and moved over to other sites where there is more control over the appearance and layout of your photographs and I must confess to be considering doing the same.

SmugMug screen shotOne of my contacts moved to SmugMug, a site, like flickr, where you pay a small annual fee to host your photographs. A free trial for a 14 day period is offered for this site so decided to have a look. At first glance everything is really lovely, control over what you see on your home page, choice of colours and themes for your backgrounds, the ability to migrate your photographs over from flickr at the click of a button, it all seemed too good and simple, and it was. I’m pleased with how it looks to my visitors and also happy with how I’m able to configure the layout as shown here. All is not well with the site though and there are a number of issues with which I’m not satisfied.

One of my main interests in flickr is the interaction with other users, with SmugMug this is not nearly as easy. Comments left on your photographs are lost and you have to go looking for them, granted, a few clicks of the mouse and you’re there, but they can be easily missed. During my short trial period I was not able to find groups of similar minded photographers as on flickr, those that I did locate hadn’t been active for well over a year, so SmugMug is a loser on this score.

Statistics on SmugMugAs you are aware, I like to tell stories with my photos and on very many there is a large amount of text. None of this text transferred from flickr, only the title of the photo, leaving me with a huge amount of work for many of my pictures to make any sense to the viewer. There is also no provision to provide hyperlinks within any text which is also not very useful to me. The statistics are telling me that I’ve had a large number of visitors during my trial period, more than my daily rate on flickr, but as I’m not sure how they work I’ll have to reserve judgement on that.

So, the trial period is soon to come to an end and a decision has to be made. Well, it’s a no-brainer really, for interactivity with other like-minded friends and photographers I have to remain with flickr. Much as I like the look of SmugMug I don’t feel the annual fee is justified just for me to have an ego trip over the looks of my photographs. I shall sulk a little longer but will eventually pull myself together and get back to posting on flickr. Besides, if I moved to SmugMug I’d have to rename my cat!

My cat Flickr

Flickr, blissfully unaware of my dilemma!