Why Flickr & Pinterest Need Each Other

Flickr and Pinterest announced a big partnership yesterday. Pinterest now has a primary sharing button on Flickr photos, and the pins contain full attribution info. It might seem like a case of the old-school photo site trying to remain relevant, but actually Pinterest needs Flickr just as badly.

Pinterest has problems with attribution. It's a casual site, and its users are casual about attribution of the images they pin. Outcry from publishers forced Pinterest to let them opt out by including code, and in February, Flickr confirmed that it had included the code for all copyrighted, nonpublic and non-"safe" pages.

Flickr is one of the top sources for Pinterest images, so this was a stern stance toward Pinterest. Today's announcement smoothes that over. By pinning Flickr photos the easiest way, Pinterest users will automatically bring along proper attribution. Other publishers will surely follow suit.

For Flickr, this arrangement integrates the well-established photo site with the hot new social network of the day, but it does so in a way that preserves Flickr's community and context. "We believe that the photo is about a lot more than the image," a Flickr representative tells ReadWriteWeb. "It's about the title, tag and description, and helps build the community that we have."

Flickr's users agree. "Flickr's strength is in groups/communities," photographer Aaron Hockley told ReadWriteWeb. Tecca senior editor Taylor Hatmaker agreed that the community "is arguably still Flickr's greatest strength." Now that Pinterest's sharing agreement respects Flickr's community guidelines implicitly, the two services can start over on the right foot.

See also: What Is the Point of... Pinterest?