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Yahoo faces Flickr backlash

Hundreds of members of the photo-sharing network bemoan Yahoo's plan to "migrate" them to its own network.

Hundreds of members of photo-sharing network Flickr have a nasty message for its new corporate parent Yahoo.

Flick off.

In the tradition of acquisitive Internet companies, Yahoo has quietly given notice to users of Flickr, which it bought in March, that it will merge the operations. In a clause in Flickr's FAQ, Yahoo said it will "migrate" all independent account holders to its own network, requiring them to create a Yahoo ID.

In response, a portion of the tight-knit photo community is protesting the forced move by threatening to abandon their accounts a day before the imposed deadline in 2006. Under the group name, "Flick off," more than 640 photo site members are bemoaning the change and discussing a migration of their own.

"I'm definitely leaving Flickr when it becomes a Yahoo service," wrote one member by the name of Matt. "I'm sure that Google will launch an all-out photo service sooner or later. Hopefully before Xmas."

Yahoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In its notice, Yahoo did not disclose the exact date when it will transition Flickr members to the Yahoo network.

The merging of networks isn't out of the ordinary, nor is the outcry from a grassroots Web community that prided itself on independence from mainstream portals. But the opposition--and presumed defections--could prove to be a thorn in Yahoo's side as it seeks to grow its photo and social-networking community in the face of fierce competition.

Flickr, which transitioned from headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, to Yahoo's Sunnyvale, Calif., offices, lets users upload digital photos from computers and camera phones, put together photo albums and post photos to blogs, among other services. It's known for a novel approach to photo collection and management, allowing members to "tag" pictures any way they choose so that random associations might arise between images. The tagging also improves image search.

Yahoo bought Flickr shortly after it launched Yahoo 360, a social network that combines a blogging tool, instant messaging, photo storage and sharing, and Internet radio.