Happy Birthday, Flickr: Web 2.0 Pioneer Turns Three

On March 3rd, Flickr turns three. Flickr is in many ways the company that helped define “Web 2.0″ and was its poster child for quite some time. And Yahoo’s acquisition of Flickr, in March, 2005, after only a year in existence and, even then, a longish courtship was one of the best consumer moves Yahoo’s made in the past couple years.

Flickr and the community mindset it brought along, not to mention tagging, have been widely integrated across numerous Yahoo properties. Here’s the Business 2.0 article, “The Flickrization of Yahoo” that appeared in late 2005.

Indeed, Flickr has had a “cultural” impact on Yahoo and helped define its competitive strategy vs. Google, part of which is based on community and social media. In this realm, Yahoo was way ahead of Google, which only recently “got Web 2.0 religion.”

However perhaps the biggest story, in retrospect, is how inexpensive Flickr was for Yahoo given all the benefits the company has received. Reportedly the sale was in the $20 to $30 million range. Flickr was considering taking VC money at the time but instead felt the company would have a better home at Yahoo.

Here’s co-founder Caterina Fake’s blog posting announcing the acquisition in March, 2005. And here’s another, related post from her justifying the acquisition:

The best thing is we no longer have to worry about finance, HR, legal, or things at which we are completely incompetent and were taking our time away from building Flickr. Hot damn.

Now Fake is one of the movers and shakers behind Yahoo’s quasi-incubator and employee retention vehicle “Brickhouse.”

In a post responding to community fears about the impact of the Yahoo takeover on the day the acquisition was announced, Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield wrote:

And we prefer to think of it as Flickr taking over Yahoo rather than the other way around.

In a way he appears to have been right.

Happy Birthday, Flickr.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Search Engines: Photo & Image Search | Search Features: Tagging | Stats: History | Yahoo: Flickr

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://www.topranksearch.com David

    I’ve used Flickr more or less since it’s inception – it keeps getting better

    Only wish is that I could get adSense to work with it :( ok YPN then

    I do adsense with SmugMug and it’s kind to me!

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