Awhile ago I was selling an item on ebay. Without thinking I uploaded the photos to Flickr for hosting, when I think photo+hosting I think Flickr. Once I had done it though it dawned on me that it was probably against the TOS. I checked the Community Guidelines and sure enough, selling things via your stream results in termination. Obviously I removed them immediately. The guidelines are a little vague though. I’m uncertain if you can take pictures of things you create/sell offline or elsewhere but don’t actually sell via the stream (paypal links, etc). Regardless I didn’t take the chance.

Another thing that some people might miss is that Flickr counts itself as photos only. If you upload mostly screenshots or non-photo items then your likely to have your stream removed from the search. They won’t terminate though at least. There’s a recent article at Wired about a crackdown on such accounts. I think a good majority of their users are guilty of posting such things, especially with the popularity of things like World of Warcraft and Second Life. If you one of those Second Life librarian and go screenshot happy then don’t be surprised if you account stops showing on search.

Another important (and vague) guideline is the website buttons. Flickr obviously doesn’t want you hosting all of your graphic files for you site on their servers. I’ve seen some library blogs post graphics they made (L2 complient, L2 library, etc) just for show. However if someone starts linking to the icon on their website it may result in those accounts being removed. It’s something worth noting and being careful about.

According to the article they are working on better and updated guidelines. I’m still a fan of flickr but hopefully they see that their site has taken on it’s own life and is no longer just a “photo sharing” but a “digital image sharing” one. And many times a screenshot is just a photo of a digital world.