back to article Brother, can you spare a dime: Flickr owner sends mass-email begging for subscriptions

The owner of Flickr has once again brought out the begging bowl after telling the service's legion of users that company accounts are still daubed with red. "Flickr needs your help. It's still losing money," wrote Don MacAskill, co-founder and CEO of SmugMug, earlier this week in a mass email to users that implored them to …

  1. Craig 2

    Flickr can fuck right off... that is all.

    1. el kabong
      1. To Mars in Man Bras!
        Angel

        Re: Why?

        Before SmugMug bought Flickr, Flickr used to have free 'Lifetime' accounts with 1TB storage.[as well as paid unlimited storage Pro accounts].

        When news got out that SmugMug were going to buy Flickr, many Flickr users raised concerns about what would happen to these free accounts. In response, SmugMug put out one of those weasely duplicitous statements, beloved of politicians the world over; "We have no immediate plans to make any changes..."

        I'm sure you can guess the rest. Within about 5 minutes of getting their feet under the Flickr boardroom table, SmugMug announced that the free accounts were henceforth being limited to 1000 photos and if you wanted to keep the rest of your 'stuff' in Flickr, you were going to have to start coughing up $50 a year.

        As SmugMug's grovelling email shows, enough people were pissed off about this to vote with their feet and bid SmugFlickrMug a cherry two-fingered farewell, rather than be blackmailed into staying. So FlickMuggerSmug have now been forced to get out the being bowl.

        Ain't Karma a bitch?!

        [Icon = ex-Flickr users, dizzy with hysterical laughter]

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          "As SmugMug's grovelling email shows, enough people were pissed off about this to vote with their feet and bid SmugFlickrMug a cherry two-fingered farewell"

          Presumably these people who didnt want to pay $50 a year had free accounts.. them leaving is no loss to the company, in fact... its probably beneficial to flikr that these people leave and take their media with them - reduced bandwidth and storage costs translate to lower losses so the company gets what they want either way.

          1. redniels

            Re: Why?

            Or these people already pay for o365, Apple and/or Google and they said: flickr can f***k off, I've enough online storage coming out of my virtual hindside. I know I do.

            And that is the real issue here. There is no real reason to use flickr or smugmug anymore. Their value proposition is gone.

            Smugmug/flickr only can survive as a digital portfolio site for pro's. I wish them well with that, that market is oversaturated as it is.

          2. Snorlax
            Facepalm

            Re: Why?

            its probably beneficial to flikr that these people leave and take their media with them - reduced bandwidth and storage costs translate to lower losses so the company gets what they want either way.

            Uh ok. It benefits the company for users to walk away from their service? Don't think so...

            The content drives users to the site. If they get rid of the free users and their photos, there's even less reason to visit the site.

            Android and iPhone users can seamlessly back up their photos for free to Google Photos and iCloud respectively. It's not like Flickr are doing something unique here.

            1. d3vy Silver badge

              Re: Why?

              "Uh ok. It benefits the company for users to walk away from their service? Don't think so..."

              Free tier users... Yes, because they are not bringing any money into the company and their use of the service is a drain on resources.

              Think about it.

              1. Snorlax

                Re: Why?

                "Free tier users... Yes, because they are not bringing any money into the company and their use of the service is a drain on resources.

                Think about it."

                Flickr serve ads to non-paying users. There's no such thing as a free ride.

                You need to take your own advice, and have a think yourself...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why?

          >Before SmugMug bought Flickr, Flickr used to have free 'Lifetime' accounts with 1TB storage.[as well as paid unlimited storage Pro accounts].

          To be fair to SmugMug, servers and RAID arrays cost money to run and if you are haemorrhaging cash something has to be done. At least they are not suicidal as to ban adult content unlike Tumblr, tits sell bits.

          1. To Mars in Man Bras!
            Angel

            Re: Why?

            To be equally fair to the users; I think it's pretty safe to assume that SmugMug looked over the figures very carefully before buying. They'd have known what the outgoings were and obviously banked on being able to blackmail enough users into upgrading after the lifetime 1TB accounts were got rid of—which, in spite of SmugMug's dishonest statements beforehand, was obviously the plan all along—to make the purchase profitable.

            The fact their scheme has so obviously failed is poetic justice at its finest.

            Oh, and free accounts weren't a complete one way street anyway. Flickr puts adverts on free accounts. So, presumably they do generate some income

        3. LDS Silver badge

          "Flickr used to have free 'Lifetime' accounts with 1TB"

          Which is usually the same underpants gnomes plan over and over. Sure, you get a lot of users on board, just no one pays and the money to run the systems has to come from somewhere - and for this kind of business there are not enough Pro to subsidize the freeloaders.

          You can walk away or just wait for the system to be shutdown for foreclosure.

          Facebook, Google and Microsoft will exploit your last bit of data in exchange for some "free space" - while you also usually lose most of the rights on your photos.

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: "Flickr used to have free 'Lifetime' accounts with 1TB"

            Facebook, Google and Microsoft will exploit your last bit of data in exchange for some "free space" - while you also usually lose most of the rights on your photos.

            Data mining? Absolutely. But giving up full copyright control? Probably not. You DO grant facebook a rather broad license to use your photos when you upload them, but a lot of that license is to do things like display the photos to viewers of that page. (and they don't claim ownership.) Not that I'm defending them, Facebook et. al. does a lot of skeevy and questionable things with the data they have collected. (mining the metadata in the photos as it's being scrubbed from the picture amongst others...)

        4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          This is why startups fail. Right from the start they condition customers to expect a free and somewhat crappy product. When the paid "Pro" version comes out, everyone has already accepted the limits of the free version. Nothing can be done to generate significant revenue for the product. It slowly degrades until it can be supported by advertising and personal data trafficking.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Why?

            This is a huge factor.

            It also bothers me tremendously when companies call ad-supported services "free". They aren't anything like free at all. Customers are just paying with a different currency.

  2. Bob Ajob

    Shame

    Just over a decade ago there was a 45 minute presentation by Flickr folks at the Velocity 09 conference that massively helped to boost the DevOps movement. John Allspaw and Paul Hammond "10+ Deploys Per Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr". If you've not seen it, still worth a watch. Shame to hear Flickr is struggling nowadays but just goes to show that if you don't innovate and diversify then even global leading firms can quickly fall behind their competitors.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Shame

      "Shame to hear Flickr is struggling nowadays but just goes to show that if you don't innovate and diversify then even global leading firms can quickly fall behind their competitors."

      Buying a loss making company and effectively increasing the losses because now there's the purchase investment to recoup too is not really a sound business footing unless you have an unassailable way of monetising it.

    2. coconuthead

      Re: Shame

      Actually, they *have* been innovating, but not in the service of any sensible business model.

      Several years ago they built a machine learning system, with custom hardware (lots of GPUs), to automaticaly add "tags" to images based on the content. We're talking here about something that classified all of the billions of images they must have in a matter of weeks. There were some interesting articles and presentations from the engineers involved. Its application, however, was a PR disaster among the users. A defective training set meant it mislabelled many images, some in an offensive manner. Shoddy UI design and a lack of opt-out meant you couldn't always see what was going on, or manually fix offensive tags on your *own* images. The "autotags" were mixed in with the manually created ones careful users had been using, including some large collections using controlled vocabularies.

      Once the outcry started, management refused to back down, because it was seen as a key part of Marissa's strategy of providing automatic upload of phone users' entire "camera roll".

      Meanwhile, serious UI bugs went unaddressed. It was clear that the engineering team was working on what they found interesting or would further their careers, rather than what was necessary for the business.

      What the site needed all along was sound implementation and cost control.

      (It's not clear to me whether Smugmug still owns and runs that farm of classification hardware.)

      1. Snorlax

        Re: Shame

        Several years ago they built a machine learning system, with custom hardware (lots of GPUs), to automaticaly add "tags" to images based on the content. We're talking here about something that classified all of the billions of images they must have in a matter of weeks. There were some interesting articles and presentations from the engineers involved.

        Don't forget that time Flickr uploaded photos of 700,000 people to a facial recognition database. That was interesting too.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Shame

          "That was interesting too."

          Yep, and increasingly seems to be the sort of nonsense that qualifies as "innovation" these days.

  3. Steve @ Ex Cathedra Solutions

    Been a Flickr Pro since they were founded...probably won't renew

    I've had a pro account for years, but basically the site has been going downhill and the only reason I didn't cancel last year was because I forgot... I also got the begging letter which I thought somewhat ironic as I'm already paying them.

    There's no code now to automatically upload from Lightroom, they dropped it a few API changes ago and haven't replaced it which was for me the key USP - I could maintain all my online photos from Lightroom.

    The activity and comment levels have dropped right off; the storage whilst nice is now duplicated elsewhere.

    As other have said, innovate or die...

    1. Hugh McIntyre

      Re: Been a Flickr Pro since they were founded...probably won't renew

      SmugMug still supports upload from Lightroom Classic. (Speaking as a SmugMug subscriber). The SmugMug galleries are also more flexible than Flickr IMHO which was my original reason for switching.

      Can't justify paying for both, hopefully the original SmugMug will continue at least.

      I'm actually slightly surprised they didn't try to migrate the Pro Flickr accounts to paid SmugMug and try to drop the free accounts. Maybe they will in future ...

      1. Androgynous Cow Herd

        Re: Been a Flickr Pro since they were founded...probably won't renew

        I tried SmugMug for that very reason - and because it created pretty nice galleries for commercial images (think portrait and wedding photos).

        It also theoretically possible to integrate those albums with online fulfillment labs such as Dale labs. The reason I abandoned them almost immediately and went with a competing service was that they tacked on a lot of extra cost for the convenience. While it more or less gets passed on to the end customer, the price delta was significant enough to prevent people from ordering as much, and I saw NONE of that extra revenue.

        Other online services can be integrated into Lightroom, but the best service I found for this niche is a competing platform named ShootProof. I've been pretty happy with them for a couple years

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "they don't keep your priceless photos safe"

    Because you do ?

    There's only one thing that keeps your photos safe : a physical copy on optical medium stored in a place without much sunlight and a temperate environment.

    If you count on someone else to keep your pictures safe, you're setting yourself up for a big disappointment. Especially if you're not paying that someone.

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: "they don't keep your priceless photos safe"

      About that... bad news dude.

      https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how+long+can+dvd+and+blue+ray+last

      I tend to use rar files for backup because rar format allows you to create recovery files but even then I have lost stuff saved in optical media. Doesn't matter if it was CD, DVD, Blue Ray, you name it. Nowadays I use external hard disks and make sure to change them every few years.

      What I do to mitigate risks is to do more than a single backup and store the backups in different places.

      Even then, you are still likely to lose data and be unable to recover it. Maybe the equipment failed before you could save, maybe some malware screwed you over, maybe your program crashed or your Internet connection died at exactly the wrong time. Or maybe you forgot the backups somewhere for years and something happened to them.

      When it comes to losing data you can take precautions and minimise the risks but you will never be 100% safe.

      Even then is always much better to be prepared.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: "they don't keep your priceless photos safe"

        "What I do to mitigate risks is to do more than a single backup and store the backups in different places."

        What I do, and recommend, is to copy all long-term data storage to a different medium every few years. There is no such thing as actually permanent high density storage. It all degrades. So you have to rewrite it to fresh media every so often.

        That also gives the opportunity to transcode any data that is in obsolete or soon-to-be-obsolete storage formats to something that is more likely to be supported moving into the future.

    2. Ropewash

      Re: "they don't keep your priceless photos safe"

      If by 'physical copy' and 'optical media' you mean photo negatives and/or slides then yes. Most other methods of storage degrade or are obsolete (both form and file format) after a few decades have passed.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "degrade or are obsolete (both form and file format) after a few decades have passed"

        Some film and prints do too. While well developed B/W films and prints could become quite stable, many colour films were not especially until the 1980s - and there could be still issues.

        It is true it could be easier to recover a negative with a big colour shift than trying to get back an image from an old floppy disk or ancient disk driver, or a damaged CD.

        Don't know if M-disc can become really a good long-term storage medium - that depends on the availability of readers in the future.

  5. JohnFen Silver badge

    Core?

    Flickr is "core to the fabric of the internet"? How so? Something "core to the fabric" is something that the net can't do without. Flickr doesn't count as that at all, as near as I can tell.

    At least, I can't remember the last time I saw an image from Flickr. But perhaps there's some invisible mechanism that I'm unaware of.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Core?

      Well said JonFen

      Core to the internet are the switches, routers, DNS and other protocol servers and the masses of fibre connecting buildings, towns and continents. The web is not the internet, and online services are not the web. It used to amuse me when folks talked about "my internet". now it just annoys. There's a serious problem in the vast gap of understanding between the providers and the users of online services - the users can be palmed off with any old argument for anything. Being led to believe that anything from creating a web site to sharing your holiday snaps is so hard you have to hand yourself over to an interested third party (and they are - many T&Cs include rights over your stuff) is just a fraud. I know people who have been cornered royally by putting all their stuff "in the cloud" on proprietary services and finding they can't easily get it back. Then the service is terminated...

  6. SuperGeek

    Got to be linked to the Free account fiasco recently...

    Does this have anything to do with the recent free account mass deletion? Serves you right, Fuckr. People, including me have left in droves. Thousands haven't gone Pro, that's a load of crap. I run my own servers, there's no way I'm paying a third party for overpriced subscriptions when I can run scripts myself. I don't trust other companies with my data. I have my own Spotify, YouTube, and Flickr clone sites, the script costs paid for themselves, and I control the data.

    1. LOL123

      Re: What about auto-updates?

      You have a Youtube clone site?

      WTF are you doing on these forums then....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about auto-updates?

        The gentleman might be referring to Peertube, a federated video sharing site.

        If my understanding that Spotify is a music sharing website is correct, then he probably also runs a Funkwhale instance and, for photos, Pixelfed.

        If that is indeed the case, there's a significant chance that he also runs a Yunohost server.

        Interestingly enough, three of those are largely "made in France" projects, while Peertube is Canadian I believe, and the most popular of the ActivityPub federation protocol clients, Mastodon, hails from Germany.

  7. SuperGeek

    Photos, Safe? Really?

    Really? Is this when you click an image, it shows you the sizes, along with "The owner of this photo has restricted downloading".

    Haha. It doesn't work. All you have to do is go to Tools, Page Info, then Media, in Firefox, the image is there for you to save. It's well known on the web, I was one of the ones who called them out on it. Flickr don't keep ANYTHING safe. I deleted most of my content after I found it elsewhere.

    1. Adrian Midgley 1

      Re: Photos, Safe? Really?

      Safe as in not lost.

  8. SVV Silver badge

    Don MacAskill, co-founder and CEO of SmugMug

    is currently really regretting his choice of company name.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CEO of SmugMug is currently really regretting his choice of company name.

      Spot on.

      There are a number of interweb companies that have such irritatingly twatty, twee and patronising/derogatory names that you literally couldn't pay me to use them.

      A certain annoying bunch of monkeys at a certain couple of marketroid email and online survey companies immediately spring to mind, and, yes, SmugMug is also on that list. It sounds like something for egotistical Nathan Barley wannabees.

      1. quxinot Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: CEO of SmugMug is currently really regretting his choice of company name.

        Mister Dabbs? Is that you?

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: CEO of SmugMug is currently really regretting his choice of company name.

        "There are a number of interweb companies that have such irritatingly twatty, twee and patronising/derogatory names that you literally couldn't pay me to use them."

        Anything which starts with "My" because you just know it isn't.

      3. (m)any

        Re: CEO of SmugMug is currently really regretting his choice of company name.

        "interweb" and "irritatingly twatty" go together very well in the same sentence.

  9. TRT Silver badge

    I'm still a pro member...

    but I haven't used it since they changed the formatting some years back and basically ruined it all. Daft really. I used to love the whole social thing and going out taking photos. Now, it's just, Meh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm still a pro member...

      I learned my lesson when Geocities shut down. I have self-hosted ever since.

  10. localzuk

    How have they innovated lately?

    One thing with the big name sites that grow from strength to strength is that they are regularly adding features, improving quality of life, etc... What has Flickr added lately?

    1. Vincent Ballard
      FAIL

      Re: How have they innovated lately?

      Interstitial ads and nagging banners.

  11. Steve 53

    The Rubicon has already been crossed

    This time last year, they blackmailed their users into either paying for pro, or having the majority of their photos deleted. I decided that $49 a year with a 25% discount for the first year wasn't something I could justify in perpetuity, so I let them delete the photos (I have my own copy, of course).

    You'll be surprised to know that after deleting the majority of my photos, I'm not going to pay the same to keep the very limited selection of photos left.

    They took a very hard line attitude, it was a gamble, it didn't pay off. (And I have paid for pro in the past, btw)

    The email generally irritated me; $9 / month for netflix or spotify? Sure, but they're providing the content. Why would I pay $49/year for them to provide me what amounts to a bit of web hosting?

    Suggesting that the price will increase in future years makes me glad I bit the bullet there and then... It'll be a shame to see it go, but it's a shell of it's former self.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: The Rubicon has already been crossed

      Why would I pay $49/year for them to provide me what amounts to a bit of web hosting?

      It depends on the scale, right? If it's 50MB or less, then sure, that sounds a bit like Web hosting, and about 1-5 photos. If you've got multiple terabytes of photos, $9/mo starts to look pretty good.

      1. Steve 53

        Re: The Rubicon has already been crossed

        It depends how you use Flickr of course, but the way I used it was to showcase my best shots, generally not in full resolution. While I do have ~500gb of photos taken over the years, only a tiny fraction of that ever saw Flickr. Looking at what I downloaded from Flickr when I evacuated, it was about 4gb for 12 years as a fairly avid user.

        $49 gets you about 177Gb of standard S3 storage, assuming you don't want to do any intelligent tiering, infrequent access, etc. At retail I would have been costing them about $1.104 in storage a year, although AWS will of course cut special prices for people moving entire farms of storage over...

        Of course, others might chose to use it as a backup solution, but even then AWS Glacier Deep Achieve is a cheaper option for anything up to about 4tb...

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "Sure, but they're providing the content"

      But they share the same contents over their entire user base. There's not a copy of each song or video for each user. You can add many users quickly without any need to scale storage up at the same pace. Unlike photo sites where users uploads their own not shared stuff. So not really a fair comparison. Feel free to check what would cost you a web hosting with 1TB of disk space available per year. Add the CPU,RAM and bandwidth to power your site (and backup it), and it can be not so cheap as you may think.

      1. Steve 53

        Re: "Sure, but they're providing the content"

        Just because there is 1TB of disk space doesn't mean that the average user is going to use 1TB of disk space - as I said earlier, my usage was close to 4gb, which leaves a very fat margin for them at $49/year

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: "Sure, but they're providing the content"

        "Feel free to check what would cost you a web hosting with 1TB of disk space available per year."

        About $60. If your site gets moderately popular, then you might have to pay $100-$200/year to cover the additional bandwidth. It's when your site gets extremely popular that costs start becoming a significant factor.

  12. Robert Grant Silver badge

    You likely pay services such as Netflix and Spotify at least $9 per month. I love services like these, and I'm a happy paying customer, but they don't keep your priceless photos safe

    Good job he didn't mention Prime here, because it also has free unlimited photo storage.

  13. sketharaman

    I lost years worth of timesheets, highlights and other stuff when website after website shut down without warning. All of them said they'd let me download my archive but none of them fulfilled that promise. When the deadpool reached three companies, I invoked the "three strikes and you're out" policy and now don't store online any content that I can store in my hard disk. Maybe retro but at least I'm no longer "terrified at the prospect of losing over a decade's worth" of my content.

  14. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Sales photos

    About the only thing I've been using Flickr for is to put up albums of things I'm selling (or donating, in the case of a one-of-a-king engineering model I was donating to a museum). I'd have the photos locally anyway, so no loss if I they deleted them. I could always find another place to post my snarky commentary on GNOME development or my first computer from high school.

    Sure, if I were storing some large number of photos (I have less than 100 there, let alone 1000) then sure, I'd pay for the service. But at most I'd just use a "cloud" service as a failover backup solution to supplement what I already use at home, which means generic file storage. I'm not personally offended by Flickr asking for money, I just recognize I'm not their core market. And I always use any online service with the expectation they WILL (not even 'may') go away some day.

    I expect the ideal, long-term (multi-century) format may be something like binary encoded on microfiche (given a film that will hold up to possibly-harsh storage).

  15. ~chrisw
    Pint

    Glad the freetards are gone

    I used Flickr for free for over a decade on their free tier. After its divorce from Y! and subsequent acquisition, I enjoyed the storage increase to 1TB, still for free. I increased the number of Flickr services I use - now it's an important part of my life. Then came the Pro-or-GTFO for >1000 images and it made me assess the value proposition.

    You realise $50 a year is not a lot for what they provide. At its core, solid image hosting with ubiquitous availability. Photostream, portfolio, collections, albums, tagging, groups and all the other features including ad-free browsing, advanced stats, desktop upload tool (incredibly useful), 6K photo display option for high res images, longer video lengths, etc. The Android app also does image syncing which I use on my phone - excellent if you don't solely trust Google, Amazon or $friendlybigcorp to archive your most important photos.

    In my younger years, I used to be a free-tier crusader. Now, running my own servers, services and maintaining them for others (both in personal and work capacity) I appreciate someone else doing the hard work for me.

    Smugmug's added a bunch of perks and offers for other services (including 50% off a smugmug account - haha - and an IP infringement monitoring service which could be genuinely useful for professionals already on Flickr). The other stuff's nice if you want to get things printed or merch made, there's also learning courses and a 2 month trial of Adobe CC Photography plan. That's fine, I don't need most of that, but I'm sure others might.

    You can be a curmudgeon and argue "what should I pay them for?" - and fundamentally it's for it to not be your problem.

    Given the various things I manage/admin, I'm fed up with worrying about servers, services, uptime of underlying hosting companies, managing DNS, email services, disk space, system security and patching cycles... all the stuff which comes with self-hosting. Adding photo hosting to that, and putting another egg in the same basket as all my other personal email and web sites doesn't feel sensible. My photos and videos are so important to me as memories I actually back them up in several places (including Flickr and Google Photos).

    I suppose most of us Reg readers could bang something up on AWS on Azure, self-manage the auto-backup of photos plus whatever we'd implement to upload, archival and display other photos. Perhaps add a public portfolio/gallery and add stats monitoring, embedding stuff, etc etc. It would probably be less elegant than the existing Flickr and Google Photos Android apps and web sites unless I spent hours developing replacements, and what's the point? My time is worth far more than $50 an hour.

    Also I'm ideologically opposed to giving yet more money to Amazon who act so unethically regarding tax contributions in this country. Azure isn't much better. The convenience and relative price effectiveness of practically unlimited storage on a familiar, mature web service is great. In my case, Flickr's hosting over 225 GB (and counting) of my photos spanning well over 15 years, with pretty much continuous availability since I joined. For its flaws, it's still a great platform, and they are still updating the design and other features.

    If Flickr hadn't done anything to drive conversions to Pro membership, people would have accused them of failing to move with the times, they'd die on their arse and nobody would mourn them. If some of the freeloader members go elsewhere and unburden the service of their library, fine by me. I converted from lifetime free to Pro member, and what tipped the balance was realising that it's worth it for the features I use.

    For those only storing a few hundred photos on Flickr, nothing changes, enjoy your free account. If you'd uploaded >1000 images pre-cull, what truly stopped you ponying up $50? And if you're simply opposed to giving anyone any of your money for anything you use, enjoy your free-tier, ad-supported, best-effort support pauper status accounts :-) Enjoy your free beer from the pub driptray later.

    1. julian.smith
      Linux

      Re: Glad the freetards are gone

      Quite a good analysis of the "freetard" problem.

      "if you're simply opposed to giving anyone any of your money for anything you use, enjoy your free-tier, ad-supported, best-effort support pauper status accounts :-)

      Enjoy your free beer from the pub driptray later. [priceless!]

      I give a contribution to any FOSS software developer whose products I use - it's a non-Microsoft, marginally Google environment.

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