Probably the best story about what went wrong with Flickr is this one at Gizmodo, but I’m not sure the Yahoo purchase is related to my own situation. I don’t know what Flickr’s customer service was like before Yahoo stepped in.
Here’s what happened to me: about six months ago a rather disturbed – or, to put it more accurately, complete bonkers – Flickr user decided that I was using one of his images without giving him proper credit. As it happened, I had not used any image of his in any way whatsoever, a point he later acknowledged to be true, but in the meantime he bombarded my Flickr mail with accusations and threats, and, in addition, encouraged everyone he knew to do the same. So I got a load of abusive and threatening messages on Flickr mail, at one of my email addresses, and as comments on blogs I write for. Both his accusations and his incitement to others were obvious violations of Flickr’s terms of service, but when I complained to Flickr they didn’t even acknowledge my emails, much less take appropriate action. That would be negligent in any case, but I was a Pro (i.e., paying) user: surely you’d think that they’d want to keep paying users happy, or at least provide some kind of response to them. But no.
So, with renewal of my Pro account coming up, I decided to delete the whole thing. Interestingly, when you decide to delete your account Flickr not only doesn’t ask you to explain your reasons, they don’t even give you a venue for doing so. Apparently they’re quite pleased to lose customers.
P.S. You want to know why I say the guy is bonkers? When he was finally forced to admit that he had accused me falsely, he insisted that I deserved all the abuse from him and his online posse because I had failed to be sufficiently sympathetic to the pain he felt at having one of his images used without his permission.