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5/4/2007
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Yahoo To Shutter Yahoo Photos

The site will phase out this fall in favor of Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing service or another online photo service such as Photobucket.

Yahoo plans to close its Yahoo Photos service this fall, the company said Friday.

During a three-month period, users will be given the option to migrate their photos to Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing service or to another online photo service such as Photobucket.

Back in March 2005, when Yahoo's acquisition of Flickr was announced, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake predicted that Yahoo Photos would be "Flickrized" but would remain distinct.

"Yahoo Photos will get a lot of Flickr features, and there are a lot of other areas around Yahoo that will also be Flickrized where Flickrization would be good," Fake said in a blog post about the acquisition. "Yahoo Photos and Flickr have different kinds of users with different needs, and will remain separate for the foreseeable future."

That future proved kinder to Flickr than it did to Yahoo Photos. Photo sites designed for social sharing like Flickr and Photobucket have prospered. Over the past year, Flickr's visitor traffic has been growing while Yahoo Photos has seen its visitor traffic decline, according to Internet metrics firm Hitwise. Based on statistics from March and current trends, Flickr's share of U.S. visits to photography sites (4.57%) looks like it will soon surpass that of Yahoo Photos (5.79%).

Having seen the picture of the writing on the wall, Yahoo has decided to focus on a single photo site.

"We are making great strides in our ongoing efforts to align Yahoo's resources and focus on core strategic priorities," said Jeff Weiner, executive VP, Yahoo Network Division, in a statement. "Part of this progress is today's decision to close Yahoo Photos to better serve our valued customers through Flickr. We're excited to build on the phenomenal success of Flickr by focusing on this important service."

At the Web 2.0 Expo last month, Weiner said his new role running Yahoo's network division "is to facilitate the connection of the dots," which is to say Yahoo's collection of online services. "We want to connect our consumers to what they value the most," he said.

Sometimes, to bring people together, you must close a few roads.

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