This isn't really my kind of topic and, could I have gotten to sleep when I got home tonight, I probably wouldn't be posting at all. But I couldn't so bear with me...
Robert Scoble posts about getting turned away from a Flickr party because he brought his son along with him and they were only allowing people over 21 into the party. He's upset because they didn't put that on the invitation which is understandable. But then he goes too far...
Anyway, competitor SmugMug invites families to its parties (and even holds camping trips for families).
Competitor Zooomr is run by a 20-year-old (who was 18 when he started the company).
Some of my favorite photographers, Matt Roe being one, are even younger.
Oh, well, this motivated me to move all my photos to SmugMug. Now I understand why thousands of people pay SmugMug to host their photos.
Being family supportive is important in this world, particularly with photography.
I have to cry foul at this. Anyone who has been to an event like this knows there are usually waiters/waitresses walking around with drinks that anyone can take. These people, by the nature of what they do (carrying a tray around), can't card people. So the company hosting must card people at the door or risk being exposed to massive liability.
Remember, if someone under 21 gets drunk at your company's party and then gets in an accident your company can be held liable.
I don't think its fair to ask Flickr to risk millions of dollars in liability to make their Saturday Night event "family friendly" and I doubt Smugmug would act any differently in this situation (and if they did they'd be fools).
It certainly isn't fair to drop the entire service because they wouldn't risk that liability.
That said, people are free to do what they want with their photos. My issue is how comfortable people seem to be getting with treating others unfairly. I find the trend disturbing. How would Scoble feel if someone were to stop watching his videos because Fast Company made a similar Gaffe?
It isn't that far fetched, I know I attended at least one "Over-21" Microsoft event while Scoble was still employed there. Treat people unfairly and you invite the same treatment in kind which in turn makes it a harsher world for everyone.
Please understand that I don't use Flickr, I don't own stock in Yahoo, and I have no vested interest here. For me it comes back to that old saying of "First they came for my neighbor, and I said nothing. Then they came for me and there was no one left to stand with me"