Early last month, we noted how changes to Flickr’s free accounts have the potential to significantly harm the historical record of the LEGO hobbyist (AFOL) community. Historically, Flickr provided unlimited storage to its Free account users, but the number of photos that can be hosted on a Free account will be limited to 1,000 starting January 1st, 2019. As a result, many LEGO creations hosted in Free accounts are now at risk of disappearing forever. This is particularly heartbreaking for photos from LEGO builders who have passed away or are no longer participating in the hobbyist community. But we have good news to share, so please read on!
Change is inevitable within any community, and the online LEGO fan community has certainly weathered its share of major disruptions over the past 20 years.
Ever since the future of LEGO photo sharing website Brickshelf.com became unclear in July 2007, the majority of the LEGO building community has made its home on Flickr. But with Yahoo! failing to keep up with the times, the venerable web company has begun shedding its online properties, leading to the acquisition of Flickr by SmugMug earlier this year. Unlike the hysteria back in 2007, the reaction to the SmugMug acquisition among LEGO builders has been fairly muted, and generally positive given the sense that Yahoo! had effectively abandoned Flickr several years ago. This changed recently when SmugMug announced changes it would be making to Flickr’s Pro and free accounts at the beginning of 2019.