He’s a great photographer, I love a lot of his work. But from what I’m seeing he’s not a very good business man. Thomas Hawk seems to spend a fair bit of his time taking pot-shots at Flickr whenever he can.
In this instance Thomas Hawk is attacking Flickr because he doesn’t believe that Flickr should be censoring images. The photos in question this time around are images of obviously under aged children smoking. While children smoking is not illegal it is deplorable and Flickr obviously feels it is doing a community service by removing images that it feels may be encouraging such practices.
“It’s censorship” they cry.
They all agree that Kiddie Porn should not be there because that’s abuse, but let us have the kids smoking! I kind of feel that the act of a child smoking is also tantamount to abuse. Whether the child is doing it for themselves or is being supplied the product that will cause them harm it is still abusive behaviour so I’m not really sure what satisfaction others get out of seeing it.
Thomas Hawk also weighed in rather heavily earlier on when another great photographer _rebekka had one of her photos removed due to copyright violation, it turned out that someone had actually violated her copyright, not the other way around (see details of this on Rebekka’s site). In that case Flickr reinstated the account and publicly apologised, and as you will see from Rebekka’s blog she has reconciled her feelings regarding the situation and has renewed her Flickr account after the incident occurred. But that’s not good enough for Thomas Hawk, he still brings this up whenever he can.
Oh did I mention that Zooomr, the company that Thomas Hawk has a vested interest in, is also trying to be a direct competitor to Flickr? Yeah, turns out Thomas Hawk thinks it’s a good business practice to bag the crap out of your competitors and throw in a plug for your own company in the hope it will endear people to your company.
Well at least it doesn’t do so for me. I hate it. I hate any company that tells me what’s wrong with another company. They should be promoting their own company on its merits, but they’re too busy bitching about what they think the other company is doing wrong!
Further Thomas Hawk has his fan boys (and fan girls) on Flickr who seem to be calling him back whenever they want him to use his Flickr celebrity for their cause. Thomas Hawk happily obliges, because it gives him another opportunity to hawk (excuse the pun) his wares.
Another thing that annoys me about Thomas Hawk and Zooomr is in the blatent rip-off that Zooomr is. Take a look below. Screenshots of Zooomr and the similar page that is Flickr.
Did you notice that Zooomr has the same layout? That it even uses the same phrasing (with some minor word changes)? I mean even the name… Zooomr anyone else notice the pattern in common with Flickr?
If you’re looking for a photo sharing site go ahead and try Zooomr, Flickr, PhotoBucket, Picasa Web, WebShots, DropShots, MyPhotoAlbum, PhotoSite and any other of the hundreds you can find. One thing you will note is that only one has really decided that looking and working like Flickr is good enough for them. And to hell with the fact that they are stealing the design!
There are a lot of photo sharing sites out there. They all practice some form of censorship but Thomas Hawk has his sights set right at Flickr. Why? Because of the celebrity he has there and because he has a vested interest in trying to woo some of the Flickr audience over to his site; the Flickr clone.
Don’t be fooled folks… Thomas Hawk doesn’t want to see things improve at Flickr (not that I think they need improving), he’s already left, he doesn’t want to stop censorship. He wants you all to move to Zooomr and he wants MONEY, if not from you, then from the Google Ads that litter the Zooomr site.
Please note: I do have an interest in seeing Flickr continue, all my photos are there and I enjoy the community that Flickr has fostered over the years, but unlike Thomas Hawk I have no money to be made by my involvement. I merely enjoy seeing the work that everyone does and vicariously traveling the world through the eyes of others.
The rant above represents my opinion and I acknowledge that I don’t know Thomas Hawk personally; he could be a great guy I’m not suggesting that he isn’t. I’m merely suggesting that with regard to Flickr he is incredibly biased, even if he tries to paint it as if he isn’t; while plugging Zooomr all the while.