The Internet just wants Mayer to fix Flickr

Updated 8:21 PM EDT, Tue July 17, 2012
The Internet, or at least some of its users, has a message for Yahoo's new CEO.
The Internet, or at least some of its users, has a message for Yahoo's new CEO.

Story highlights

Users ask Yahoo's new CEO to make Flickr awesome again

Some feel the photo-sharing site has been neglected by Yahoo

#dearmarissamayer was a trending topic on Tuesday

(CNN) —  

Marissa Mayer’s appointment as Yahoo’s next CEO has inspired a lot of feelings and opinions online. She’s the Band-Aid on a bullet wound, a web giant’s last hope, a difficult manager who’d run out of ways to move up, a feminist icon, a fresh start.

One group that has dusted off its long dormant passion and put her in the “last hope” category is Flickr users, who are flooding Twitter with their rallying cry: “Dear Marissa Mayer, please make Flickr awesome again.”

They’re expressing their opinion via the Internet’s best bullhorns: a single-serving site with the URL and a #dearmarissamayer hashtag. The page is signed “The Internet,” and the hashtag has been taking off on Twitter since this morning.

Flickr, the photo-sharing site, was launched in 2004 by Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake and bought by Yahoo in 2005. At its peak, Flickr was a vibrant and social community of photographers, ranging from the casual to professional, who had genuine affection for the site.

Its boards were filled with positive and helpful comments, there were self-organized groups and avid taggers helping index all that visual content. The community even spilled into the real world with real-life meetings and photo walks.

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But eventually it became mired in Yahoo’s corporate culture and innovation stagnated (for the full story of the site’s fall, check out Mat Honan’s detailed history).

Other sites picked up where it left off, including Facebook and Instagram, the stunning 500px and still young Google+. Each has done something better than Flickr, such as making images truly social or improving the design, but none has replicated all the factors that made users love Flickr.

Mayer has a daunting job ahead of her trying to reinvigorate Yahoo’s many products. But starting with one of the company’s most beloved properties isn’t bad advice. It has something most other Yahoo features are missing – users who are rooting for it to bounce back.

Flickr may never be the most profitable property for Yahoo, but fixing it up it would be a savvy move to counteract the company’s current image problem.

A revived Flickr would show the company is listening to users and still has the potential to make products that they want to use. Then they just have to make everything awesome again.

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