I might not make friends with this post, but maybe some are being a little hard on Flickr/SmugMug. Whatbird it's self would not be here if not for the money that iBird brings in. For those who have their own websites, you know it cost money. Think of how many users are on Flickr and how much collected space is being used by the total number of them. Flickr ran for years on the few who wished to pay for the use of the site and for those who used the free account (which gave you TONS of space, my self included) they used adds to help pay the cost. I think it got to a point where Flickr could no longer pay the bills without more paying accounts and decided to sell. SmugMug, as a new owner could see the problem and put a small restriction in place to reduce the cost of server space needed to store the millions of photo data, but yet still offer a free service.
I paid for my account to keep from having to see photo's deleted. Really it would have been no issue as I have everything backed up. But being a former website owner/editor that could not afford the on going cost when the revenue just was not enough, I had to close down shop. I don't blame Flickr/SmugMug. It's a business and those hard choices have to be made and sometimes they are not popular choices.
I came here today to see if there was a post (like on the old forum) for people to add their Flickr link and Flickr screen name so people from Whatbird could connect. We have a Group for Whatbirders only and was going to invite anyone whom has not joined us there to do so. Now I'm not sure others will join based on this topic. But if you are, in my signature is a link to our group.
I conclusion to my ramblings, I just want to say.... Not everything in life is free. Free for us is not free for those who provide it.