As some of you may know, the pic hosting site Photobucket.com has changed its terms, meaning that millions of free account holders can no longer link to the pics they’ve uploaded to PB on forums, blogs etc.
PB apparently has 10 billion images stored by 100 million account holders, most of them free and not paid-for, so this is a big deal.
It's not surprising they want to offload the cost burden of hosting so many pics for no return, but the way they've gone about it could hardly be calculated to hit their brand harder.
Under the new terms of service published last weekend, these so-called ‘3rd party links’ (otherwise known as hotlinks) are not included in any PB paid-for account except the $399 a year subscription!
This means that the millions of pics across the internet showing things like illustrated step-by-step engine/bike/car/gun rebuilds and restorations have been replaced by ‘upgrade your account’ type images instead.
This colossal act of vandalism has left the Web like a Swiss cheese – full of holes where there should be solid information.
So how does it affect us here on the AVA? Well, unfortunately many fine threads have been left without pics. For example the wonderful thread on FWB 65s
by Mike Driskill (the one that inspired me to collect these pistols) has been decimated.
Mike has three options: he can leave the thread as it is, he can try and find the original images, upload them to another pic host and reconfigure the links on that thread to point to their new location, or he can pay up the $399 and have the links restored.
PB may yet reverse itself once it realises that most of its account holders mainly wanted them for the embedding function rather than to store images. Or it may not.
For those of us with lots of images displayed on forums, we face moving them – at enormous cost in time spent – or paying the ransom. Or we could just walk away.
Many people will say ‘I told you so’, 'Photobucket has been terrible for years’, ‘Imgur is much better’ [for now] and so on. But while its website has become an ad-choked hell-hole, until now PB’s embedded pics have escaped completely.
Once you’ve spent hundreds of hours uploading to PB, it’s not easy to just abandon that investment and start again elsewhere.
If PB holds firm, the internet will gradually recover, and the broken links/damaged threads will slowly become less significant, as in fact the holes in threads created by the demise of Imageshack years ago have done.
But the hard work of millions of people will have been lost forever.
Edit: PB has extended 3rd party hosting for the cheaper paid-for plans until the end of 2018:
"Please review the latest changes at Photobucket.
Posted by Photobucket Support+ on Jul 6, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments
1. Why Photobucket?
Photobucket is the global destination for linking and 3rd party hosting. In
Photobucket’s 14-year history, the Company amassed over 100 million
registered users, over 15 billion images stored, 2 million daily uploads
and 60 billion photos accessed monthly.
2. What is 3rd Party Hosting?
Photobucket defines 3rd party hosting as the action of embedding an image
or photo onto another website. For example, using the tag to
embed or display a JPEG image from your Photobucket account on another
website such as a forum, Etsy, eBay auction listings, a blog, etc.
3. Benefits of Photobucket’s 3rd Party Hosting
Easy to Use – Upload a photo from any device and copy the embed code with
one click to host a photo with no development or technical knowledge
Competitive, fixed pricing
Offers the only unlimited 3rd party hosting plan (Commercial and Personal
3rd Party Hosting Specifics
1. What plans offer 3rd Party Hosting?
Only the Plus 500 plan supports 3rd Party Hosting
Upgrade to Photobucket’s Plus 500 Subscription by visiting span class="link">http://photobucket.com/pricing
2. What do I get with the Plus 500 Plan?
Unlimited 3rd Party Hosting
Full Resolution Photo Storage (We do not compress your images)
High Capacity Storage
Dedicated and Priority Customer Support
Photobucket.com Promotional Opportunities
3. What users are affected by the changes to our 3rd Party Hosting
Moving forward, new and legacy free account users will NOT have third party
If you were a Plus Account subscriber in good standing as of June 1, 2017,
you will continue to have all the privileges you have enjoyed including 3rd
Party Hosting until December 31, 2018 as long as you maintain your
Non Plus 500 Account subscribers that purchased after June 1, 2017 will not
have access to 3rd Party Hosting.
4. Are my pictures still safe?
Yes! All your photos are still available by logging into your Photobucket
Account. Photobucket has only restricted the ability to view your photos on
3rd party sites.
5. Can I download my Photos?
Absolutely, at any time. It is an easy four step process:
Step 1. Login to your Photobucket Account
Step 2. Navigate to your library page
Step 3. View a photo and click the download button
Step 4. The picture will be saved to your computer
For our official statement please click here"