Flickrest? It’d be nice…

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Flickrest-equationLast Wednesday evening I joined a lot of folks in downloading the new Android apps for Pinterest.

I’m a fan of the service. Before the app launch, it was easier to be a fan when I had an inkling to sit in front of my laptop and pin or re-pin interesting items. Now I can satisfy the urge to share whenever and wherever I have my phone or my HP Touchpad and access to the Internet.

It’s less for sharing and more for personal curation – a habit I’m also guilty of over on Delicious. (For the geeks reading this – no, I never even considered deleting my account). I started considering who used to own Delicious in addition to an online plea made earlier this summer and suddenly had a crazy notion: What if Marissa Mayer uses some of that $4.2 billion she’s wanting to hold back from investors (& getting grief about) to make a play for Pinterest? It sounds convoluted, but it could be a cool weapon in Yahoo!’s re-invention.

It’s not like they aren’t trying to work with each other already.  Pinterest agreed to display Flickr images with full attribution back in May while Flickr added a Pinterest button to its list of sharing options. Based on the number of Flickr images already used on Pinterest, they do sort of need each other. What better way to foster than relationship than by formalizing it.

Most folks look to Pinterest as a marketing tool, enabling retailers to share “hot” items and news organizations, consultants, and even colleges to spread their infographics. Another part of Pinterest’s current usefulness is its functionality as a bookmarking service – arguably relying more on a strong image than what’s actually being said. That’s nice, but at some point you want to start thinking about how the service will survive long term. The Internet seems to like constantly changing what it thinks will guide eyeballs to cash registers so Pinterest won’t stay the media darling for too long.

Sharing photos online is something that looks like it’ll never go away. Positioning Yahoo! to once again be the standard-bearer of that effort just makes sense. Facebook’s purchase of Instagram removes what would have been a more logical option, though this fantasy technological marriage would provide some similar benefits:

  • Adopts a much more widely accepted mobile app
  • Introduces a new way for Pinterest users to share images (& vice versa). There’s a reason Instagram added maps to their service recently…
  • Expands possibilities for use of images from both services

A key to a Pinterest purchase would be enabling original images to be uploaded to a linked Flickr account. The ability to share original photography allows it to become more of a publishing platform – one with a better chance of adoption than the new effort by the guys behind Twitter, Medium. Flickr is already set up to be such a platform, but many folks have forgotten about that. How much you plan to share depends on where you want the image to live – and if a merged platform would spell the end of the character limit on Pinterest.

Even if they stayed separate services, some of Pinterest’s features would make it easier to share photos in this mobile age. It stops relying on whether someone stumbles upon a link or if an image is used in a blog post or a website design – making Flickr more social and engaging. The ability to provide a searchable desktop experience would have been something more beneficial to Instagram (something they appear to be working towards fixing), but as suggested above, the map becomes extremely useful for those original images submitted by Pinterest users.

It’s nothing but a bit of wishful thinking at this point. At the very least, it may be what some are thinking would be a nice response to an earlier plea to fix Flickr – though the answer received was pretty cool too. Considering the service’s ability to generate traffic right now for certain fields, it may not be a bad move for the profit and loss statement either…

I’ve probably missed a few other reasons about why this would be a good acquisition. I may have also ignored some reasons why it may never work at all. If you’ve got some thoughts on this, let me know down below in the comments.

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