Category Archives: Internet

Is Flickr Guilty of ‘Freemium Extortion’?

Clock
The clock is ticking for non-subscribing users of Flickr…

If you hit the Flickr Help Forum, you’ll currently find a thread of well over 8,000 posts relating to what some are describing as a blackmail scheme. Many of the comments do defend Flickr, although the defensive comments mainly come from a handful of supporters who post intensively. Whether that passes as credible support is open to debate, but there’s no doubt that a drastic policy change, announced by Flickr at the beginning of last November, has upset a lot of people. Have we really witnessed an extortion plot?…

WHAT HAPPENED AT FLICKR?

In May 2013, the then Flickr owners Yahoo scrapped a 300MB per month image upload limit for users with free accounts, and set an astronomical new maximum upload capacity of 1TB. Users with free accounts were told, at this point, that the new storage capacity was free to the photographer, and funded by the advertiser. No buts, no untils; that’s what they were told.

In spring 2018, SmugMug bought Flickr, expressing an intention to continue running the platform without significant change.

In November 2018, SmugMug U-turned on their previous assertion, warning that from January 2019, free Flickr accounts would have their maximum capacity limited to 1,000 photos in total, and threatening to delete all excess images after 5th February 2019.

In summary, users with free Flickr accounts were encouraged to upload a vast quantity of images on the basis that they would not have to pay, and then, after many had made major commitments to Flickr, they were told their work would be deleted if they did not pay. There isn’t even a way to put a positive spin on it. Continue reading Is Flickr Guilty of ‘Freemium Extortion’?

“Private Search Engines” and Their Deals With Oppressive Trackers

Private Search Engines

The “privacy” model has become a default business strategy for new search engines. Why? Because it sells. Given the typically inferior quality of their results, and their often uninspiring user-experience, “private search engines” routinely over-achieve in terms of growth. So unless they have a revolutionary new concept, anyone entering today’s search market is almost compelled to trade on privacy.

They’re all at it. Barely a week goes by without a new “private search” brand coming up in the #privacy tags on Twitter. Some are just a front for affliate marketers to peddle overpriced rubbish. Others, such as Search Encrypt – taken seriously by a lot of people – are listed as malware. Some, despite billing themselves as privacy protectors on Twitter, have no SSL and literally no privacy policy whatsoever. “Private search” has become a joke. It’s that same old bunch of shady chancers using the gimmick of the moment in the hope of becoming billionaires. But what about the few brands that manage to attract continuous applause? Have we not noticed that they’re in bed with the enemy?… Continue reading “Private Search Engines” and Their Deals With Oppressive Trackers

The Truth About “Link Tax” and “Censorship Machines”

Link Tax My Arse

We’re here again. The censorship card is at the top of the deck, as the internet’s freedom to steal content faces one of its stiffest challenges yet. Just from the collection of manipulative voices spouting highly-charged phrases like “link tax” and “censorship machines”, we know there’s a copyright-related bill in motion. That bill, is the revised European Union Copyright Directive, and the reaction it’s whipped up is almost surreal in its level of distortion.

Whilst I’m discussing the new Directive in this post, I really want to send out a general counter-protest against the cyber giants’ relentless playing of a censorship card, every time the internet’s freedom to steal comes under threat. It happened with SOPA, it happened with Net Neutrality. And it’ll keep happening as long as we’re stupid enough to accept that policing Silicon Valley’s behaviour somehow equates to censorship. Continue reading The Truth About “Link Tax” and “Censorship Machines”

How To Opt Out Of WordPress.com’s Internal Analytics Tracking

WordPress internal analytics opt-out

Don’t you just love the way GDPR has forced the data mining giants of cyberspace to begrudgingly provide us with more detailed privacy disclosures and a little “Get Lost Peeping Tom!” button? A handy means for us to reclaim at least some of our privacy and limit the amount of our personal data the companies can collect or preseve?

Of course, most businesses are only telling us as much as the law says they have to tell us, and plenty of information about newer tracking technologies is flying under the radar. But GDPR’s tighter data regulation is a step in the right direction, and the general fuss it’s created has prompted a lot of us to pay more attention to web tracking. We’re better understanding our rights as site users and visitors, as well as our responsibilities as site administrators. Continue reading How To Opt Out Of WordPress.com’s Internal Analytics Tracking