Photo sharing and storage company SmugMug has announced that it has purchased Flickr from Verizon’s Oath for an undisclosed sum. SmugMug is an independent, family-run company. Founded in 2002, the company now has millions of customers who are willing to pay for privacy and storage. The companies declined to disclose the terms of the deal.
The company has not disclosed what its plans are for Flickr’s business. However, SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill said that Flickr will remain a standalone community of photographers. It plans to collect feedback from employees and users before taking action or making changes.
Flickr was founded in 2004 by Stewart Butterfield and his then-wife, Caterina Fake as a way for people to share and comment on photographs. The service has more than 75 million registered photographers and more than 100 million unique users. According to reports, the photo sharing service counted 13.1 million unique visitors in March, an increase of 2.3 million over the same period a year earlier.
Flickr was owned by Yahoo, which was bought by Verizon for $4.5 billion last year. Yahoo was then combined with AOL to create Verizon’s Oath subsidiary. Oath said in a statement, “We’re thrilled for these two brands to come together to grow their photo sharing communities and continue to innovate for their members.” Oath also sold e-commerce company Polyvore, another property acquired in the Yahoo purchase, earlier this month.
The majority of Flickr users have free accounts that run advertising alongside photos. Flickr also offers “Pro” subscriptions for $6 a month or $50 a year. SmugMug offers four levels of subscriptions, geared towards both amateur and professional photographers. There is a possibility that Flickr will move to a similar model. MacAskill says, “We try to listen to our customers and when enough of them ask for something that’s important to them or to the community, we go and build it.”