What cloud services can learn from Flickr's errors

I am about as big a fan of Flickr as there is, but the way they handle account termination is atrocious. Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection talks about a recent banned Flickr patron who found her photos and associated comments completely wiped out after Flickr terminated her, allegedly, without warning. Flickr claimed the person had posted photos not taken by the her and therefore violated the Terms of Service. Now, it is well within Flickr's rights to can/ban a user for violating the ToS and anyone who uses the service should have copies of their precious photos elsewhere as backup. Troubled Yahoo could (not saying they will) shutter Flickr to save money and all of us loyal users would be out in the cold. The problem on the Flickr side is they nuke your account completely without any undo button. Pictures, comments, contacts... everything gone. This seems very excessive, particularly if the account is a paid "Pro" account ($25/yr). Wouldn't it make sense for them to put a hold of some sort on the account until the owner can be contacted and the violation explained or defended? Seems a little harsh to just blow the account away without any chance for a customer rebuttal. As we migrate from desktop centric systems to more of the cloud services, we and they have to become more aware of what happens when an account goes bad. There could be ramifications beyond losing a few photos. Accounts should be backed up, particularly paid accounts. If payment is stopped, there should be X number of days the account info is stored before being completely dumped. Customers should be given the option to export and download data to keep a local backup. Most of this seems like common sense, but Flickr seems to be lacking it when it comes to account services. Hopefully other services are more customer savvy. [Via the DataPortability Blog]

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