While the idea had merit, Flickr has very strict rules about advertising, and does not allow links to commercial items on the photo’s description, so while it may drum up interest, it didn’t do a whole lot to increase direct traffic.
There were people, myself included, who would spend time adding as many random contacts as possible to try and broaden the pool. The trouble is, none of these people had anything in common with each other, and few were interested in buying things.
Flickr is a fantastic site for sharing the world through the eyes of a camera, and that is what people visit there to do. Flickr users are not really interested in shopping on Flickr, because that’s not why it exists. Sure, you might get a sale here and there, but for the time invested, it doesn’t seem to be a profitable venture for many people.
In my opinion, your time is better spent focusing on a Facebook fan page, updating Twitter, or creating real, genuine connections with real, interested people. That right there is the key to successful social marketing.
Flickr is a good way to save copies of your photos, but there are less expensive methods, such as using SugarSync, DropBox or Amazon to store backups. If you want to spend time on Flickr, do it for the purpose of seeing the world and things you could never see on your own – it’s amazing what you can find on there!