Flickr is a success story, but it wasn’t the original main development project of the team.
Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and current member of the Yahoo’s Technology Development Group, explains the humble beginnings of one of the earliest and most successful Web 2.0 applications, Flickr. Flickr actually began as a feature in Ludicorp’s Game Neverending, a massive multiplayer online roleplaying game that was focused on social interaction rather than the more typical battle-style MMORPG. Ludicorp (from the latin word for “play”) was a small game development company in Vancouver started in 2002 by Fake and her partner Stewart Butterfield. Though the community that grew around the game was very dedicated, Ludicorp couldn’t make it profitable.
Creation of a photosharing component was the last gasp in the game’s development. Looking back, Fake now realizes that had she and her team done any research on photosharing at the time, they probably would never have moved in that direction, as back then photosharing was little more than a loss leader for photoprinting sites. But by 2003 both camera phones and blogging reached a tipping point that made the market ripe for a solid browser-based photosharing application.