Yahoo Lays Off Flickr Customer Service Team, Reportedly 12% Of Entire Staff

flickr-logo-smallWhen Flickr Product Chief Markus Spiering wrote a couple weeks ago about things that were being discarded as part of a “New Year’s cleaning,” there was no mention it would include the site’s core customer service team. But at least some, if not all of that team, was given pink slips on Monday — and, according to some tweets, it happened without a word of warning or explanation.

A Yahoo spokesperson tonight said “no comment” in response to our requests for information about the Flickr layoffs.

It’s not certain exactly who and how many Flickr employees were fired, but there’s plenty of evidence to be pieced together via blog posts and tweets from current and former Flickr employees. For starters, David Fusco — whose LinkedIn profile describes him as a senior program manager at Flickr — tweeted Tuesday morning that “12 percent of Flickr” is gone, and included a photo (see link in his tweet) of what we assume is some of the laid off Flickr crew.

In a blog post Monday, former Flickr engineer Nolan Caudill says that “Yahoo laid off the highest level of Flickr’s customer support” and says these were the people who knew about Flickr’s ins and outs “than anyone else on the team.”

Having people on your team aware of everything the site does is huge. You literally can’t buy that or replace it or outsource it, though it appears that Yahoo thinks it can.

And some are angry about how Yahoo apparently handled the layoffs. Andy Baio of Waxy.org tweeted a rumor that “Yahoo! didn’t warn Flickr management before the support team layoff.” And Tara Kirchner, the former head of marketing for Flickr, seemed to echo that with this tweet:

There were rumblings a year ago that Flickr might be on Yahoo’s chopping block under former CEO Carol Bartz. Yahoo Product Chief Blake Irving enthusiastically refuted those reports on Twitter, saying “Hell yes” Yahoo is committed to Flickr, and adding, “We love this product and team; on strategy and profitable.”

Of course, Yahoo now has a new CEO in Scott Thompson, and the company is still reportedly considering a sale of its assets. Some may say that eliminating staff could make Flickr more attractive.

And it’s not just people being trimmed. As part of Spiering’s “renewed focus” announcement, Flickr also killed off a number of features that were “not core to our product” or weren’t popular with Flickr users.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Top News | Yahoo: Business Issues | Yahoo: Flickr

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Thompson can probably be forgiven a little blood-letting if the company is in such dire straights it needs to tighten its belt.  But simply following in Carol Bartz’ footsteps of self-annihilation is a formula for disaster.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XEAM327KM6Y3C2KHADBWBNQYQM Jon Smith

    anyone know of a good alternative to flickr?

    sounds like time to jump ship. if yahoo don’t care about me as a customer, they can’t care much about my money either. frankly i’d rather give it to someone who does.

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