How Yahoo Flubbed Flickr

Making a bad week worse for Yahoo, Gizmodo just published a 5,000-plus-word “exclusive” on how the Web giant managed to muck up its most promising property. “Until three years ago, of course Flickr was the best photo sharing service in the world,” Gizmodo reminds us. Fast forward to today, however, and “the photo service that was once poised to take on the the [sic] world has now become an afterthought.”

What went wrong? In broad terms, what usually happens when a nimble, innovative startup is gobbled up by a behemoth, which doesn't share its values. "Yahoo was a good fit initially," Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake -- who left the company in 2008 -- tells Gizmodo. "We had offers from various companies, including Google, and I honestly think that Yahoo was a great steward.” Then came what Gizmodo calls a new appendage, which was grafted onto Flickr by Yahoo's corporate development department.

“When a new startup comes into an established company, the first wall it typically hits is CorpDev,” it notes. “And because payment schedules are based on achieving those CorpDev terms, it means both companies have a vested (pun intended) interest in putting those milestones ahead of new features. They are a sledgehammer applied with great force to the feet of nimble development. Worse, they often completely ignore what made the smaller target valuable in the first place.”

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