November 26, 2005 12:32 PM   Subscribe

23. It's like Flickr, a lot like Flickr--and maybe better. Better at some things. Stories. Upload limits. The layout. Ordering prints. They are doing things from the beginning that Flickr worked a couple years to figure out in the first place. Flickr of course is way ahead of 23 in numbers (people and money). Does it make sense to challenge that lead? (And to do so with an overt knock-off?) If 23 provides a better service, should they lose out for being second to the party? How can they pay their debt of gratitude to Flickr for being the obvious inspiration and an open-book instruction manual, and should they? When does the flattery of imitation become legitimate--or illegitimate--competition? Notice in the terms they claim ownership of the concept and the design. Can 23 apply for any of the street cred Flickr may have given up in favor of being Yahoo!ed? Is it reasonable to expect better work from a scrappy upstart than a happy sell-out? Can two successful photo sharing sites co-exist, or join forces? Is there enough community to support more than one good one?
posted by airguitar (32 comments total)
This is... very much like Flickr... from the layout to the font selection to the use of color, even positioning of links. It feels like Flickr. Don't see a reason to change from Flickr if I already have done the work to put photos up there.
posted by tweak at 12:45 PM on November 26, 2005

There are plenty of del.icio.us clones and that doesn't stop del.icio.us. Pretty much unlimited web mail providers, but only a few on top. Slashdot clones, metafilter clones, etc, etc. Features are a big deal, but they are far from the whole deal.
posted by Leonard at 12:56 PM on November 26, 2005

I would suggest they opt for 'image sharing' over photosharing and maybe pick up what might become a minor flickr exodus:
flickr no longer allowing illustrations in searches
posted by darkpony at 1:24 PM on November 26, 2005

If 23 is like Flickr then it will be acquired by Microsoft as Microsoft/Live/MSN's answer to Yahoo!'s flickr. And Google will build or buy something similar.
posted by birdherder at 1:27 PM on November 26, 2005

I use 23. It's way behind Flickr at the moment. They rip off Flickr in many respects, but besides that I dig their goals and ethics. Flickr is great, but if you decide, for one reason or another, that it isn't for you any more, 23 is worth a look.

No one disses Typepad for being like Blogger, after all.
posted by nthdegx at 1:37 PM on November 26, 2005

It's an obvious play for an acquisition by one of Yahoo's competitors. But it misses the whole point. Flickr is Flickr for the same reason Slashdot is Slashdot -- the people. Flickr has already won because it has the people. Clones can't catch up.
posted by unSane at 1:38 PM on November 26, 2005

The market is bigger than that, unSane. You, and the poster, are talking like there are only two photo sharing/storage apps on the web. There are loads. They won't all make it, but many of them will.
posted by nthdegx at 1:41 PM on November 26, 2005

puffs. it's like kleenex.
posted by quonsar at 1:49 PM on November 26, 2005

There are various automobile manufacturers making very similar products, too. That's how business works.

If you're after free stuff that has usage quotas, using two similar free products at once is one way to get more for free, and if competition makes the competing suppliers offer higher quotas and better features, users of either service (or both) win.
posted by pracowity at 1:52 PM on November 26, 2005

No one disses Typepad for being like Blogger, after all.

Good point. I suppose my only objection is, how will they win converts? (assuming they even need to) If part of their strategy is to appeal to current Flickr users to change services, there are going to be problems. Namely:

1. Difficult transition from Flickr to 23 - do I have to re-upload and re-tag everything? No thanks. It's not obvious how a transition would work if I wanted to change services.

2. What about all my contacts on Flickr that I've made? All my friends are already using Flickr, how do I convince all of them to join?

3. I actually like the slide show feature in Flickr and I think it does a great job telling non-verbal stories.

4. Yahoo! owns Flickr. This has its cons, but the thought that hundreds of photos disappearing after said business goes belly up has occurred to me. I'm certain with Flickr that my photos will be safe for a pretty long time.

5. Automated Creative Commons licensing exists in Flickr, I don't see it on 23. This is important to me.

Granted, there are some nice features that 23 wins at. It's easier to navigate in general and the albums are more coherent in terms of usability, at least for me. The Story feature is a nice touch. I'm glad to see the competition, I hope they can carve out a niche.
posted by tweak at 2:13 PM on November 26, 2005

My wife told me to comment that I have no position on this.
posted by Postroad at 2:13 PM on November 26, 2005

A tag search on 23 links also to external websites using the same tag. If that concept were carried further, Contacts, Groups, Stories, Calendars could all be made visible across cooperating sites. But the business sense of an idea like that... Duplicate accounts can be useful. Just like email.
posted by airguitar at 2:17 PM on November 26, 2005

It's just as slow as flickr, it seems.

In one click, I want to be able to load a photographer's album or photostream to my PC so that once I've downloaded it I can view it without flickr's server delays and timeouts.

I wonder when one of these services will make browsing the way I want it.
posted by surplus at 2:35 PM on November 26, 2005

"A tag search on 23 links also to external websites using the same tag"

This is one aspect I really like. Viewing 23 as part of the internet, not a whole in itself. Blogs interconnect in ways independent of their host/cms; it'd be nice if photo apps and the web at large could do the same.
posted by nthdegx at 2:37 PM on November 26, 2005

I've always wanted to like Flickr but never have. It has great features but the flow between them on the website itself sucks enourously. Bow-wow-woof. They did nail community on the 1st shot. I'll give them that. And their penetration with the crowd here is probably the best reason why I'll use them. If I can ever bring myself to, that is...
posted by scarabic at 3:09 PM on November 26, 2005

I checked out 23, and it does seem very similar to flickr.
That said, the only reason they might tempt me to switch is if they were to embrace "image sharing" as darkpony mentions (I happen to be one of the "700hoboes" artists struck by flickr's rigid nothing-but-photos stance).
Also, not sure if it's worth anything, but I've found that Fotolog is a pretty popular service of this sort. Most users seem to be outside of the US for some reason.
Anyhow, thanks airguitar for the heads-up.
posted by numlok at 3:27 PM on November 26, 2005

"by no means a cripled down" -- couldn't find a way to contact them about the typo, so perhaps they'll see it here and fix it.
posted by shoepal at 4:59 PM on November 26, 2005

Why the hell would Flickr not want people to post illustrations? They aren't as different from photos as song files are, for fuck's sake. What a stupid move.
posted by interrobang at 5:20 PM on November 26, 2005

More on the flickr position on illustrations can be found here (also has a link to the flickr forum discussion on the subject. I don't see why they can't just adjust themselves to be an image rather than just photo sharing service myself, it would certainly save them some grief if they loosened up the guidelines a bit.
posted by drill_here_fore_seismics at 5:47 PM on November 26, 2005

call me again when they figure out how to check the 'transparency' box in photoshop when exporting their rounded corners.

sorry, this looks like every shitty 'gallery' site that ever existed before flickr.
posted by dvdgee at 6:18 PM on November 26, 2005

Wow. I guess brand-loyalty is some kind of pre-programmed, innate human characteristic. That is to say, WHO CARES?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:49 PM on November 26, 2005

Flickr, 23, whatever. These sites really need to get out there and start marketing themselves to non-geeks. The next time one of my friends sends me a 'Kodak Gallery' or an 'MSN Crippled Photo' thing I'm going to scream into my pillow.
posted by chrismear at 7:09 PM on November 26, 2005

Seriously, why the fuck should Flickr care whether you're posting drawings or photography? This really makes no sense to me at all.

I read the Flickr thread about it, but I still don't get it. All the staff member said was that Flickr was a photo-sharing site, and yet I constantly come across drawings on Flickr. Why would they care?
posted by interrobang at 7:51 PM on November 26, 2005

Finally, a photo-sharing site that speaks to me!
posted by neckro23 at 8:51 PM on November 26, 2005

It's an interesting dilemma to discern between art and images of art (the latter being legal on flickr) when posting illustrations...the recommended fix for wanting to share a drawing is to take a photo of it? The 700Hoboes situation is a sticking point because so many illustrators signed up to the service to share hoboes, and nothing else (yet). It's a bit frustrating when the public search yields less than a hundred hoboes, when there are several hundred (or more) on the server. Maybe Flickr wasn't the right place for it to happen, but I can't think of any service that could do it better.
posted by indigoskynet at 9:53 PM on November 26, 2005

Regarding Flickr and drawings, look up the 'photoshop' and 'drawing' tags. Each has about 30,000 images. Flickr's being stupid about a few specific users, but they haven't instituted any broad kill of non-photos.

That being said, and I hope Flickr read this: I'm happy to switch away from Flickr to whatever other better service comes along. 'Better' includes not making me feel dirty by using them, which this drawing stupidity does.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:54 PM on November 26, 2005

At least Flickr spellchecks thier web copy before it goes live.
posted by fenriq at 10:33 PM on November 26, 2005

At least Flickr spellchecks thier web copy before it goes live.

They have the advantage of generally being people with English as a first language.
posted by nthdegx at 12:18 AM on November 27, 2005

At least Flickr spellchecks thier web copy before it goes live.

posted by Kickstart70 at 3:52 PM on November 27, 2005

The next time one of my friends sends me a 'Kodak Gallery' or an 'MSN Crippled Photo' thing I'm going to scream into my pillow.

That's the truth. Even worse is something like Sony ImageStation, which makes you create an account and log in just to view photos.
posted by smackfu at 7:10 AM on November 28, 2005

OMG, someone linked to a thread I started on another web community. I don't know if I feel famous or like a con-man.

Maybe both.
posted by illovich at 1:16 PM on November 28, 2005

One of the reasons I'm trying out 23 is their silliness over 'non-photos'. I'm reluctant because teh interface and site design is pretty near perfect for my needs. However I moved from fotolog because of the appalling delays and customer service so moving again has no fears for me - I don't use flickr as an archive anyway.

I like the story feature on 23 but so far find the navigation a bit odd. It has potential though, and even though it is still small it appears to have a number of people from flickr already there.
posted by ibanda at 9:38 AM on December 9, 2005

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