Photobucket Blackmailing Embedded Images

by on August 18, 2017

in consumer

So what happened to all our Photobucket hosted images, and what alternatives do we have?

For at least ten years, I’ve been a Photobucket user. It’s not my primary image stash site (Thank god) but I’ve been known to put some of my more interesting or important image albums out there. I’ve become a dependent user who trusted the site.

I even took to using the site to embed about five or ten images over the years… tiny little images that are social media icons. It seemed like the easier, more centralized resource to use to host and embed a few tiny images. Right?

That all changed on Saturday July 15th, 2017. when suddenly my websites social media image links got swapped out for this replacement image:

photobucket

Or at least that’s when I took note of the Ontela-owned Photobucket image service.  Photobucket used to be owned by two individuals, with a little help from some capital venture. Then Fox Interactive Media (News Corp) bought it from them. Then in 2009 News Corp sold it to the Seattle mobile imaging startup Ontela.  Ontela then renamed itself to Photobucket, and here’s where we stand today.

“As of June 30, 2017, Photobucket requires a $99 annual subscription to allow external linking to all hosted images and a $399 annual subscription to allow the embedding of images on third-party websites, such as personal blogs and forums. This policy change, enacted with no advance notice, has been highly controversial” (Wikipedia)

And as noted, without any advance notice, like a courtesy email notification or what have you, they’ve decided to frack over anyone with an embedded image and change the look to your images, on your bulletin boards, websites, blog posts, etc. with that stupid, overly large image. And yes that image is that size, no matter where you were using it.

– – –

Any way, when I followed the suggested link in the hijacked image, it seems that because I want to use their resource to embed images, they want to have me now pay for their service. Oh, I’m sorry, I mean, upgrade my account. (See the above quote)

So I’ve been busy.

First I downloaded the impacted images, which in itself was weird, because even though they all looked like the hijacked image, if you open the fake image and use the download link, it is the right image.

Then I deleted that folder of images from Photobucket and started hosting my images and embedding them from a different location and now, well, now I have the task of moving my crap from their resource to another one.

I mean, it seems that they’re OK with using links to point to albums on their service, but if you are embedding any of their images, well, that’s a different story. And so, with that, I am moving everything I have from Photobucket to any other resource, and killing any links I might have to that site, because I will no longer help propagate their business for them.

It’s not a purely emotional reaction. I mean, if I was having an emotional reaction, I would just mass download/delete everything from their site without thinking. But I stopped and thought about it, made a plan of action, and then started moving forward.

So, if you’re using Photobucket to embed images anywhere, your posts, your websites, your whatever, are all going to look pretty funny or stupid. Depending on how much you depended on the service.

And if they did this to me, where I’ve only embedded a few small, near-thumbnail images over the years, whew!, some of you are probably really screwed into paying for the upgraded account.

Dick move Photobucket. Dick move.

Photobucket Alternatives

Here’s a great list of Photobucket third-party hosting alternatives, by Ghack

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