Some time in January there was a buzz going around Flickr. But it wasn’t a good buzz. One of the messages read “its a good day to visit your contacts, one by one”. It wasn’t a plea to be friendly, giving your contacts clicks or much appreciated comments, it was because flickr’s contact database was being “deep massaged” (mended) and when contacts uploaded a new photo no one knew about it.
Despite reassurances from the staff, things haven’t completely recovered since then and in the last few hours the contacts database has ground to a halt. At least now there is some communication, with a message on everyone’s photo page warning them that contacts photos have been ‘temporarily’ disabled.
Those working in the IT arena will know about scalability, they’ll know the difference between testing and production servers, and that actually that you can test as much as you like, but in the live environment things don’t always go to plan. Flickr claim that sudden exponential growth has caused these issues, but that happened around a year ago when Yahoo closed down their photo service and moved everyone across.
So why don’t they roll back their changes and work on fixing the issue in the background? Wouldn’t that make everyone happy?
Flickr encourages rivalry with their patented ‘interestingness’ algorithm, but how can a photo be interesting if no one can see it?
It makes me wonder what’s the point of a photo sharing site without the sharing bit.