Flickr vs. Webshots

by Mathew on November 27, 2005 · 11 comments

Thomas Hawk, a Flickr fan who writes a technology blog at thomashawk.com, recently linked to an interesting post by Norwegian engineer and blogger Eirik Solheim, who compared Flickr — the former Vancouver-based photo site that is now part of the Yahoo empire — with Webshots, a photo site that is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

A chart mapping the traffic patterns from both sites (courtesy of Alexa.com) is quite instructive, in that Webshots has been going steadily downward in terms of “daily reach” while Flickr has been going steadily upwards. Flickr is about to pass Webshots, and the site hasn’t even been in existence for two years.

As both Thomas and Eirik note, this is likely because Flickr is a much better example of a “Web 2.0″ service. In other words, it does a better job of taking advantage of the interactive Web. It is easy to use, it has a simple interface with not a lot of cluttered advertising, and it emphasizes community through the use of tags, groups, comments, contacts and so on — not to mention RSS feeds for everything and an open API. A lesson to be learned, and not just for photo sites.

Update:

Narendra Rocherolle, one of the founders of Webshots, has taken issue with the Web 2.0-style comparison between that company and Flickr for a number of reasons, including the fact that he says Photobucket is also growing just as quickly as Flickr and is not a Web 2.0 company. Leaving aside the “what is Web 2.0″ question, I would argue that Photobucket is growing because it also encourages sharing (or distributing), just in a different way than Flickr — and both do so in ways that Webshots doesn’t. That is the important point, I think.

Update 2:

A story from Associated Press makes a similar point about Mapquest, although you have to read between the lines. Mapquest is the most popular map site, but is facing increasing competition from Google — in part because of features such as satellite images (which Mapquest used to have, but got rid of because it didn’t think they were useful) but also because it doesn’t have an open API. That means if you want to do “mash-ups” like beerhunter.ca you have to use Google, and I would argue that is a crucial difference — not just in useability, but in the way the two companies are structured — and that in turn ultimately affects how attractive the service is.

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  • Flores

    I am a free Webshots user. I Love Webshots more than all the rest. Webshots is my idol. Why do I keep using Webshots and love it? Webshots allows me (with free account)to upload more than 5.000 (five thousands)pictures. I have a free Flickr account and flickr allows me to upload unlimited but only allows me to view/see 200 pictures. What a hell is that? It is sucked. I also have a free account in Photobucket, but again they just allow me to upload maximum 1 GB, which means less than 300 pictures. Another reason I love Webshots is that, Webshots has Blog, that those professionals will give us some tricks and tips on photography. Do you consider also Dot Photo? I have a free account there. DotPhoto allows free members to upload unlimited numbers of photos. Unfortunately, there is no comments or the like among members. Ciao

  • Giuseppe Napolitano

    nice article! nice site. you're in my rss feed now ;-)
    keep it up

  • http://xtremax.com Web Design

    I would support flicker, as it is commonly in use and has many plug in that can be integrated into other CMS as modules and or widgets. So, its always easy to move with a community popular services.

  • http://wisestartupblog.com Wise Startup Blog

    It should be noted now that Facebook is one of the top destinations, if not the #1 destination for photos, and it definitely isn't considered a photo site.

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    It´s great for me when I can learn from the net thaks for sharing this :-)

  • Betsy W

    I've been using webshots for 7 years now and have a few thousand photos uploaded on my site. Several of my web design clients use flickr for their album hosting but personally my experience with it hasn't really made me want to switch over from webshots.

    I would agree that the Flickr quality is quite good (much better than Picasa), it's very user friendly, and has a lot more volume of traffic flow. Webshots tends to have more longstanding professional use instead of albums full of teeny bopper slumber parties and has a more professional aesthetic appeal. I suppose it all depends on why you're using online albums in the first place. Also check out what is offered at the free level vs. the premium on both sites (I believe webshots is $5 cheaper).

    Note to “Wise Start-up Blog”: Yes, facebook does have a lot of photos. But take a look at the quality…

  • Betsy W

    I've been using webshots for 7 years now and have a few thousand photos uploaded on my site. Several of my web design clients use flickr for their album hosting but personally my experience with it hasn't really made me want to switch over from webshots.

    I would agree that the Flickr quality is quite good (much better than Picasa), it's very user friendly, and has a lot more volume of traffic flow. Webshots tends to have more longstanding professional use instead of albums full of teeny bopper slumber parties and has a more professional aesthetic appeal. I suppose it all depends on why you're using online albums in the first place. Also check out what is offered at the free level vs. the premium on both sites (I believe webshots is $5 cheaper).

    Note to “Wise Start-up Blog”: Yes, facebook does have a lot of photos. But take a look at the quality…

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