I had an hour to kill so I continued my research on the market for photo-sharing sites. My previous netnography of Shutterfly users One Hour Market Research pointed to a lot of complaints users have about the photo print and photo book quality. I didn’t think Flickr even had a printing option, so I expected to see a very different set of issues with Flickr.

It turns out Flickr does have a printing option, but I didn’t find any complaints about it from the user complaints I sampled out of ConsumerBase. A far different picture emerged about Flickr users—the biggest category of complaints was around functionality, which accounted for roughly half the negative comments. Since functionality is a pretty broad category, I’ve broken out the functionality complaints into sub-themes which include such notable areas as compatibility, navigation, and ratings.

When it comes to compatibility, Flickr users had a lot to say about using Flickr with Apple’s iPhone. My research went back a year, so at that point the comments were around Flickr needing to put out an app for iPhone. It looks like Flickr responded—great job Flickr! But then I started seeing some comments about not liking the iPhone app. For instance, one blogger reviewed a bunch of iPhone apps and said “I hate the Flickr app for iPhone. I usually check Flickr using Safari for iPhone” (source). Next up ought to be the iPad I guess.”

The next area Flickr users talked a lot about was ideas and issues they’re having with navigating pictures and organizing them into Flickr’s version of groups or collections. Here’s a good example of what I mean: “I really wish Flickr had more layout customization options. For example, I’d like to go through medium-sized pictures throughout my entire photostream instead of just the first page.” (source) A couple of other users on that site—which happens to be Flickr’s user forum—agreed that this would be a good feature.

I can’t say I understand what it is, but it shows how ConsumerBase allows you to research areas that aren’t familiar to you. The semantic lenses pick up on what people like, dislike, or in the case of the person quoted above, what people wish for. Our lenses literally read and parse what people are talking about and extract enough meaning that their comments can be summarized and searched easily by a market researcher.

Probably the most interesting thing I picked up on, from my perspective anyway, is a string of tweets where people were talking about wanting better ways to rate photos. Apparently Flickr only lets you rate a photo as a favorite so one person on Twitter said “I wish Flickr had a ‘like’ feature or ‘+1’ concept. ‘Favorite’ is too much of a commitment.” (source) Given my long-standing interest in group photo-sharing, I agreed.

I hope you enjoyed this brief netnography on Flickr. Flickr’s a great site, and it has some of the group sharing features I was looking for. If you’d be interested in seeing more of the data from my Flickr study, email me and I’d be happy to share it.