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Photobucket faces wrath of users after quietly introducing $400 per year hotlinking fee

By midian182 ยท 13 replies
Jul 5, 2017
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  1. Photo hosting service Photobucket is facing a user backlash after it quietly introduced a $399 annual charge for those who wish to continue using it for “third-party hosting.” The move has seen thousands of images on sites such as eBay, Amazon, and Etsy replaced with what are being described as “ransom demands.”

    Photobucket announced an update to its terms and services last week, though the post failed to highlight the new annual charge for inserting photos onto other websites using direct image links. The company has been accused of “blackmailing” users by not being clear about the change.

    While its popularity has waned in recent years, Photobucket says it still has more than 100 million customers and over 15 billion images on its servers. It offers an ad-supported free plan that gives users 2GB of storage, along with a $5.99 p/m Premium tier that comes with 52GB, and 102GB storage for $9.99 per month. But the only option to now allow 3rd party hosting costs $39.99 each month, or $399.99 per year.

    The move has caused outrage on social media, with many claiming they only found out about the change when their embedded images were replaced with Photobucket’s graphic. Some users say they can’t even download their own photos from their accounts without moving to the premium tier.

    The company hasn’t released an official statement at the time of writing, though it did tweet its thanks to users for their recent feedback and patience.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,924   +712

    Die Photobucket, it's about time anyway.
    Reehahs, Kotters and hahahanoobs like this.
  3. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,232   +1,426

    I started using Photobucket about 10 years ago. At first it was a great, unknown picture sharing/hosting website. Easy to upload, rename, create albums and share items in a variety of ways. In the past year or two though its definitely gotten shady...the website is riddled with ads and the interface is tacky.
    Can't complain though I've never given them a penny but you can tell leadership has changed to make money. Nothing wrong with that but I might move onto something else, we'll see how it goes. Imageshack is my backup for hosting.
    Kotters likes this.
  4. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe Banned Posts: 837   +441

    Photobucket is dead meat.
    Kotters likes this.
  5. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,534   +421

    Sounds like I need to go figure out what the username/passwords for my old photobucket accounts, rehost what little files I still use and delete the account, to prevent downtime...
  6. bob333

    bob333 TS Enthusiast Posts: 72   +33

    First Imageshack, now Photobucket, I guess time to backup my photos again.

    Imgur all the way for now!
    Kotters likes this.
  7. With just about every social media app allowing image upload these days (to say nothing of Facebook), this is really a dimwitted move by Photobucket.
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    $400 a year? They sure don't beat around the bush, do they? Anyway I thought Google had gotten their meathooks into them and had taken them over a while back.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
    wastedkill likes this.
  9. Neojt

    Neojt TS Addict Posts: 235   +59

    Imageshack did the same couple years ago, I left there because they canned their free tier, by the time I managed to log in all my stuff was locked and I had to pay to get my picture back, "No way Ose"

    I now use dropbox free tier. I do miss Imageshack for one thing, they ad a dynamic image resizing tool that was awesome, now if I want to post pics from my phone to a forum I have to download them to my PC, resize them then upload them to dropbox
  10. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,385   +3,774

    Just goes to show that some scams take longer than others! Photobucket needs to be rebranded ... how about Bucket of S***.
    Teko03 likes this.
  11. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,766   +1,160

    Photobucket was good, I simply stopped needing it at one point.

    I laughed so much when the fashion girl talked about her 7 years of work screwed over... if you are actually making money with it, for 7 years and counting, the least you can do is put the pictures in a payed hosting so you don't run into this issues.

    It's as simple as adding 1+1, if you are using a free service, it will be bound to either not be free anymore or simply die (Remember when Gmail was free? Well you have a free tier, but if you go up in mail storage or use drive or anything, you WILL have to use your credit card one way or the other).

    I'm not saying what they did is correct, it's not, by any standard, but if you are really being serious about how you are using that hosting service, you should be serious as well by paying for one.
  12. z0mbee

    z0mbee TS Rookie

    Did you miss the part of the article where they explained that *all* account types are affected by this, not just the free ones? The 'fashion girl' might have already sent them hundreds of dollars over the years...
  13. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,964   +1,229

    I use to use photobucket to share photos with family & friends. A little over a year ago, I noticed when I removed photos from photobucket the amount of free space I had left over, never changed. I wiped all of my photos, waited about a month and it still hadn't changed. I contacted them about it, and they said it was an error, and they corrected it. I put maybe 20 photos back on, most less than 1 meg in size. Waited a week, dumped them all off, and the same thing, but this time it said I only had 50% space left...with ZERO photos posted. I deleted my photobucket account and moved to an alternative.
  14. centrino207

    centrino207 TS Booster Posts: 160   +10

    I hate Photobucket. One of the things about Photobucket does not allow hotlinking any more. If you send people URL of your picture or found picture and it is Photobucket it will take you to the Photobucket page to view the picture. You cannot view the picture any more in your browser.

    It takes you to the Photobucket page to view the picture.

    I don't think imageshack allows public sharing any more. Posing pictures to message boards with imageshack is not possible it seems any more.

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