While Yahoo has said that it is “absolutely committed” to social picture sharing site Flickr, the same might not be said for the folks at the top of the company. Today, Flickr head of product Matthew Rothenberg announced that he would be “stepping away from Flickr,” the third such departure since Flickr co-founders Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake left in 2008.
Can Flickr hang on in the photo sharing realm or will other niche social photo sharing services and Facebook – the biggest photo sharing site on the Internet – take its place?
Rothenberg made the announcement on his Twitter account today, writing “Here goes: after 5 years, I will be stepping away from Flickr. Will miss working with such a talented, hard-working, and hard-drinking team.”
A number of products at Yahoo have been on shaky ground lately, with the company announcing last fall that it would shutter Delicious, MyBlogLog and Buzz. Now, as Facebook continues to dominate social photo sharing on the Web, and photo sharing apps like Instagram and PicPlz take off, confidence in Flickr’s ability to stay afloat could be waning as well.
Professional photographers may also be abandoning the site, as it has had troubles lately with censorship and even accidentally deleting thousands of photos and telling the owner they were gone forever.
Does Rothenberg’s departure spell serious trouble for Flickr? It could, but it doesn’t sound like it does for Rothenberg himself. “And yes, I know what I’m doing next,” he later tweeted, “but not announcing it just yet.”