Like other account deletions, Stigliano wasn’t given any sort of warning or notice before his account was permanently deleted. The explanation was given in the email from Flickr staff:
Flickr account "rerockstar-sanantonio" was deleted by Flickr staff for violating our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines: *Don't use Flickr for commercial purposes. Flickr is for personal use only. If we find you selling products, services, or yourself through your photostream, we will terminate your account.
What are commercial purposes? Who knows. I have a link to my commercial photography site in my profile. I’ve sold work that people have found via Flickr. Stigliano had some photos on Flickr that he was using to show some of the homes he’s selling. I’m guessing you’d be hard pressed to find a sampling of 20 serious Flickr users that have never done anything commercial with the site. I suppose all of our accounts should be deleted as well.
I talked with Dale Chumbley, another realtor who is active in the social media scene, for his thoughts on his future with Flickr. He says:
Since I cannot get any clear definition, I’m going through and deleting all photos of houses in my account. Some of these aren’t even listings of mine; just houses I thought were cool. I hate doing this but do not want to risk being deleted with no warning. I’ve been a paying customer for a few years and have a ton of hours into uploading, editing, titling, describing, tagging and am not willing to lose my account. I can’t even begin to count how many PRO accounts I’ve gotten added to the Flickr world through my social networking and teaching. I will not be so quick to sing the praises of Flickr any longer… I’m quite frustrated that I have to go in and delete a bunch of my stuff that may not need to be. Since they won’t be clear with their guidelines, I’m left no choice.
Without any warning, Stigliano had no chance to remove particular photos or to segregate his real estate photos from those that were clearly non-commercial such as family photos, vacations, local attractions, or his cats. He further inquired if he could open a new account and use his previous username, and was told no, that username will never be available again.
What does this mean for photographers? As I noted earlier, if we have a presence on Flickr, we’re probably not hiding the fact that we’re (pro) photographers. Personally I’m rethinking my Flickr use and starting to use my SmugMug account a bit more.
Will Flickr’s recent publicized account deletions change your usage of the service?
Photo by Tambako the Jaguar, used under Creative Commons licensing