Photo haring service Flickr, now owned by SmugSmug, caused a commotion when it recently announced that its 1TB accounts will be downgraded to up to a thousand photos and videos. The free 1TB tier used to support unlimited downloads, but not anymore as SmugSmug looks to monetize its Flickr acquisition by introducing new perks for Pro accounts.

SmugSmug CEO Don MacAskill tells CNET:

I’m sure we’ll lose some of those people. Fine. They’ll use Google Photos or they’ll pay us. Either is fine. They can’t continue to chew up huge amounts of storage with photos that don’t contribute to the community. We are no longer focused on everybody. We are focused on photographers and people who care about photography.

The 1TB tier is now $50 a year and includes unlimited uploads in the full resolution and lots of other perks. It makes sense for SmugSmug to build a community around sharing photos and mobile photography rather than attempt to, in Don’s own words, focus on everybody. By the way, they’re offering a 30 percent discount this month for Pro accounts.

On monetizing Flickr and its future:

The reason we’re doing it is to invest in Flickr’s future. If we want to keep tens of billions of photos, to preserve them for decades or centuries, it has to be a sustainable, healthy business.

I can promise you we aren’t going to phone this in year after year. We are going to continue to make Flickr more valuable. If you don’t like it, you have the option to take your stuff and go somewhere else. At Flickr, we provide a one-click button to download your photos, metadata, comments, tags—all that stuff. You can create a personal archive and take it to Google Photos or some other paid service.

We have more than 100 million accounts and tens of billions of photos. The scale is pretty staggering. We have billions of page-views per month.

Flickr had a lot going for it after they gave everyone one terabyte of free cloud storage for their photos and videos, but that advantage was nullified by rivals like Google, which has been doing some impressive things with artificial intelligence and machine learning in terms of bringing advanced computer vision features to its free Photos service.

In the meantime, disgruntled Flickr users are taking their photos to Facebook or to Google Photos. What do you make of this situation? Have you upgraded your free Flickr account to a Pro tier to retain all your photos, comments and likes?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.