Photobucket Deserves All of Your Wrath


This has been a news item for a while, but in a move that mirrors our current political post-apacolyptic wasteland, it became a crisis today because it finally happened to me.  A lot of you in the blogging world will have had it happen to you too, and hopefully you are able to rectify the situation as quickly as I have.

For those of you not familiar with the wide world of web hosting, there is (or was) a very popular site called Photobucket (and no, I"m not going to link to them). Photobucket is one of those image sharing and hosting websites that for at least the past decade, has been free. They provide third party hosting - the ability to create clickable image links that we blogger types can use for everything from social media icon buttons to advertisements and beyond.

Apparently Photobucket decided at some point that they wanted to boost their profits, so they veeeery quietly changed their "terms of service" agreement, announcing it only in a company based blog post on the 26th of June. The change was buried deep within the post, near the end. They did this because they know that nobody reads their damn blog.

So. Over the last few weeks, bloggers like myself have been checking in on their blogs to find that all of their clickable images that were hosted by Photobucket had been replaced. With this.


The Internet understandably went ballistic, as Photobucket was sort of the go-to for everyone from part time bloggers to retailers like Amazon and Ebay. The entire Internet was awash with these ungainly grey images. And when you clicked for the "important info", you learned that if you wanted to ever see any of your images alive again, the price was round about $400 per year. Remember, this was a service that was previously free. This has widely being referred to on the Internet as Photobucket's "ransom", and you can read up on it in the New York Post, and the BBC, among other news sources.

Today when I logged on to the blog, apparently it was my turn, because my blog was awash with these grey images. They were crawling up my sidebar like an ant colony at a picnic, as well as on any older posts that may have needed a hosted image at the time. However, not being one who negotiates with terrorists, like any good Internet patriot, I knew instantly that my relationship with Photobucket had to be over.


There may still be a broken link or two floating around in some of my older posts, but by and large I was able to fix my links and re-create my sidebar (which was the hardest hit) in an evening. And, like all near-misses, there are lessons to be learned here. Number One; always back up your images. I do, so it was no sweat to find some of the older photos, and quite frankly, I took the opportunity to update a lot of the graphics. Why not? If you're gonna put in the time, why not improve things a bit? Which leads me to Number Two; harness your righteous indignation and channel it into something that you can use to create something better. For me and the blog, this turned into an opportunity to get more organized. While I was rehabbing my beleaguered sidebar, I saw a desperate need for this site to be more searchable. I've been up and running now for three or four years, and things do start to pile-up on top of each other if you're not careful. So here's what's what thus far. It's a work in progress, so it will develop.

Looking at my home page, you can see the three little dashes to the left of the title. That's what I believe they call a "hamburger" menu. Click on that and the sidebar will appear.


 Once the sidebar has appeared (and it is scrollable), you will see all of my clickable social media button links (simplified and refreshed), and a new area that I have added. I am making a section of the blog that is searchable through looks - i.e. if you want inspiration for looks that have tall boots in them, you can click on the "tall boot" section. It's gonna take some time to go through all of my posts and create these areas, so please be patient while I gradually add to this section.I'm hoping to add a lot of fun new sections to this area of the blog that will make this a much more searchable blog.


 So. That's that then. In summary, Photobucket, you're dead to me. And to be honest, I should probably thank them for their myopic business plan and corporate greed, because on the back of it, my blog is only going to get better.
 





Comments

  1. Well done, these people are pirates, the old nasty sort not the glam sort.

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  2. I could not resist commenting. Well written!

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  3. It's not a new business ethic, but one that seems to be becoming more prevalent. It so often is not what was done, but, how it was done that shades an action as acceptable or unacceptable - there were probably other ways users could have been brought on board to make the transition to a paid service less abrupt, but my guess is that at the time, patrons were not the primary consideration. Your response was wonderful, and thank you for illuminating another way to react to the unpleasant. We need that kind of inspiration, especially now.

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    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right, it's not new. Going from a free service to $400 per year signals more than just a (likely desperate) need to increase profit. To me, it signals that they are perhaps trying to re-invent themselves into a different sort of service...more like Shutterstock or some other paid subscription service. Otherwise, they would have likely wanted to keep those of us bottom feeders around by asking for say, 5-10 per month. People would lave likely paid that for the convenience of not having to move all their stuff.

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  4. Good for you. Boycott! Every dollar you spend is a political statement.

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