Snapjoy’s Flickraft Promised To “Rescue” Flickr Photos — Until It Was Blocked

Photo startup Snapjoy launched a clever promotional scheme this afternoon to lure users over from Flickr. And it succeeded — perhaps too well.

The Y Combinator-backed company aims to be an online repository where users can store all their photos, with some sharing features too. That already made Snapjoy a competitor, of sorts, to older photo sites like (Yahoo-owned) Flickr and (Google-owned) Picasa, but the startup decided to make the competition more direct with a service called Flickraft, which promised to “rescue” photos from the “sinking ship” of Flickr by creating an easy way to transfer photos from Flickr to Snapjoy.

However, the feature was only available for a couple of hours before it was taken down. Now there’s just a form to enter your email address and get notified when the import feature returns. Here’s the explanation offered on the Flickraft page:

In roughly two hours, our users imported over 250,000 photos from their Flickr accounts. However, we decided to pull the plug because our API key was disabled. We tried our best to stay within Flickr’s API limits, but the overwhelmingly positive response has exceeded our expectations.

What does this mean for you? Unfortunately, you will not be able to import your Flickr photos at this time. We’re working diligently to restore this functionality.

When I emailed Snapjoy, co-founder Michael Dwan offered a few more details:

Our key was disabled without any warning … We built the system to stay within the limits of 3600 calls per hour, however it seems that a surge of imports pushed it over the threshold before we could throttle it back.
We’re a bit surprised that the key was disabled almost immediately after we reached the limit. It’s unclear to us whether our key has been terminated or suspended. We thought about creating a new api key but didn’t know if that would be flagged as abuse. It looks like the only way to contact them is via a support forum, so we’ll be looking for a way to reach a human being.

I also emailed Yahoo for comment, and a Flickr PR person says they’re checking with the team. I’ll update once I hear back.

[image via TheNextWeb]