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On 7/20/2017 at 5:38 PM, Arcadia said:
On 7/19/2017 at 2:55 AM, Carol the Dabbler said:

I just received an email from PhotoBucket notifying me that I have reached my limit for 3rd Party Hosting -- e.g., hotlinking to my PhotoBucket account when I want to post a photo here.  So what did they do?  Seems like they would say, OK, that's enough, you can't hotlink to any additional photos.  But noooooo -- they've disabled ALL of my hotlinks!!!!!  None of them will ever work again unless I pay money for the privilege!

 

So for example, my tour of the North Gower filming for TSo3 is no longer illustrated.

 

Like Hell I am gonna reward that kind of underhanded stunt!  OK folks, is there a photo-hosting site with better manners?  Or maybe I should use the web-hosting space that comes with my email account?

 

I wonder if maybe something else could be going on? Because I was just on another site and the same thing was happening there. What are the odds it would happen to two people at the same time? Probably not that high, actually, but it makes me wonder.

 

Nope, not just me!  In fact, it's all over the internet; for example, this article:

 

TechNewsWorld said:

Photobucket users in recent weeks have been receiving emails with this message: "Some features on your account will be disabled. Your account has been restricted for excessive usage and 3rd party hosting. In order to restore 3rd Party Hosting, please upgrade to the Plus500 Membership Plan."

 

On the surface, this seems like business as usual for an online service, because nowhere in the email does Photobucket mention that its Plus500 Membership Plan requires a nearly US$400 a year subscription! Worse, users were given no advance notice, while all images hosted on Photobucket were replaced by a graphic that suggested third-party hosting was at 100 percent.

 

It didn't matter if a user had a single image or hundreds that were posted to third-party sites -- those who had not subscribed to the Plus500 plan suddenly found they had reached 100 percent usage!

And it gets worse.  I just logged into my PhotoBucket account, and yes, my photos are still there, but as soon as I start looking at them, they're literally plastered over with ads.  If I post a normal link to one of my photos, anyone who clicks on the link will just get the same nasty notice.  Ditto if I paste the photo's URL into the browser's address bar.  So yes, my photos are "safe," but only in the sense that a hostage is still alive.  Unless I cough up $400 per year, I'll never have access to them.

 

I thought I was well within the limits of my free PhotoBucket account.  After all, I'm using only 4% of the allowable space.  But apparently that's no longer relevant.  Thank goodness I still have the original copies of the photos on my computer (and, in most cases, also on a flash drive).  But finding the photo I want in our files will take time, which is one thing I don't have a whole lot of right now.

 

Added 21 May 2018:

MAJOR  CHANGE in SITUATION !!!

See my most recent post at the end of this thread. 

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Things just got worse AGAIN.

 

The next time I tried to log into my PhotoBucket account, I got a message saying that I needed to confirm my email address.  Why, I had no idea, but I re-entered the address.  Then it said I'd get an email.  Which I did.  It gave me a URL.  I went there -- and it said "Welcome to your new account!"

 

So apparently I can no longer even glimpse my stored photos.  Which may or may not still be accessible, even if were crazy enough to pay the ransom.  I am beyond fed up.

 

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That is beyond insane. $400?

 

According to this article, you're supposed to be able to access your photos and download them indefinitely. It also says they didn't expect a backlash from customers. Now that really IS dumb.

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Ah -- they got a new chief executive. No wonder. The new guy always feels compelled to change things.

 

OK, if I can still download my pictures, maybe that new CE could come over here and show me how!

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Yep.  I just took a look at my old links, and they're no longer visible.  I haven't even been on Photobucket in ages because it's impossible to do anything with all the ads popping up.  It completely bogs down my computer.  I wonder if I should just delete my account before it gets any worse.

 

Things just got worse AGAIN.

 

The next time I tried to log into my PhotoBucket account, I got a message saying that I needed to confirm my email address.  Why, I had no idea, but I re-entered the address.  Then it said I'd get an email.  Which I did.  It gave me a URL.  I went there -- and it said "Welcome to your new account!"

 

So apparently I can no longer even glimpse my stored photos.  Which may or may not still be accessible, even if were crazy enough to pay the ransom.  I am beyond fed up.

 

Are you sure you didn't accidentally sign up instead of log in?

 

 

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I'm reasonably certain. Besides, if I tried to open a new account using the same email address as an existing account, wouldn't they object?

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I think I've had more than one account with the same email address, but I'm not sure... that was a long time ago.

 

 

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Besides, the email wasn't at all the typical slick welcome-to-our-website type of email (there was no company logo, not even a custom background color -- but it *was* from a photobucket.com email address). Here's the whole thing (except for the URL they sent me, which I have truncated):

 

Subject: Please confirm your Photobucket account email address

 

Hello Carol_the_Dabbler!

 

Please confirm your PhotoBucket account email address.

 

http://photobucket.com/confirmation/blahblahblah

 

Thank you for choosing Photobucket!

That last line could be construed as welcome to your new account, but it could also be taken as thanks for being our customer. By the way, the URL wasn't even a link, I had to copy and paste. Like I said, not slick at all -- more like something hastily thrown together.

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Hmm, that's pretty strange...

 

I wonder if I'll get the same thing after a few log-ins.  Maybe I should delete everything now while I have the chance, lol.

 

 

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I would, if I were you.

 

This whole thing would make me nervous if I were using Photobucket, it has all the earmarks of a scam.

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I think the guy made this decision based solely on the balance sheet without taking into account the minor factor called customers, so it's basically a hard-headed business decision.  Apparently the guy had no idea how much people have been depending on the service, and how many of us are small users who might be happy enough to pay a nominal fee, but cannot justify any $400 per year.

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I just logged into my PB account again, and things seem to be reasonably normal now.  I can look at my photos, and I can even download them to my computer.  I may do that, and only that, as a stopgap measure, until I can choose a new image-hosting site.
 
Several people have recommended imgur, so I checked out their website, and found this on their Terms of Service page (under "Stuff not to do"):
 

... don't use Imgur to host image libraries you link to from elsewhere, content for your website, advertising, avatars, or anything else that turns us into your content delivery network. If you do – and we will be the judge – or if you do anything illegal, in addition to any other legal rights we may have, we will ban you along with the site you're hotlinking from, delete all your images, report you to the authorities if necessary, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on Imgur.com. We mean it.


Unless I'm seriously misreading that, they do NOT want people using their site for third-party hosting (e.g., hotlinking to a photo on imgur from a post on this forum).  The fact that people have been getting away with it may simply mean that it hasn't been a problem for them so far.  But with the influx of former PB clients they're likely to get now, it may quickly become a problem.  And if so, anyone using imgur for third-party hosting is just setting themselves up for another PB-type fiasco, only much, MUCH worse.  At least PB hasn't deleted my pictures!

 

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Nah, any site can detect hotlinking and if they don't want to, they can throw up a "don't" image instead (see: photobucket, above). The keyword here, I think, is "image libraries", as in, dunno, a real estate agent using imgur to showcase the houses they got for sale (in which case I'd be demanding a cut as well if I were the provider). If they disliked simple hotlinking for forums they wouldn't offer you a convenient link to do just that to the right of every pic in your gallery, I think.

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But they also say "avatars," which sounds pretty non-commercial and innocuous, so I'll check with them before bothering to create an account.  How is the convenient link labeled?

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It's called "BBCode (message boards & forums)", like this:

 

Jypmnb8.png

 

If, however, you've become wary of unclear ToS (understandable after the photobucket disaster), I *think* flickr explicitly allows hotlinking.

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Yeah, that's pretty handy, all right!

 

I have messaged them, asking for clarification, and will let y'all know what (if anything) I hear from them.

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The Denver Post article mentions it.
 

"Online image hosting is a different beast. None of the popular photo-sharing sites stepped up to take in wary Photobucket users. SmugMug allows it, starting at $3.99 a month. Yahoo’s Flickr also has a free plan, with ads. And while Imgur is a popular third-party hosting platform, its terms of service forbid the practice."

 
I'm curious what Imgur will say to you about it.  I'm wary of Flickr, as I suspect things there will change in the near future with Verizon's purchase of Yahoo.
 
My general feeling about Photobucket's change is similar to what this person said in the comments:
 

"The depressing part about this is there is now a massive dark hole where information used to be across the internet."

 
All those years of history on the web.  Even my own history, posts on forums and such that I still go back to sometimes.  I used to keep an online journal.  I posted photos there often using Photobucket (which I've been using since 2005), and when I look back on my journal entries those photos were markers for what was going on in my life at the time.  Now I can't see them anymore, they've disappeared from the entries.  It's all a bit sad.

 

 

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You can presumably see them if you log into your PB account.  I know that's not the same thing, but at least it's something.

 

Interesting to know that somebody other than me interprets imgur's ToS the same way I did.  It will indeed be interesting to see what they say -- assuming they reply.

 

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Yeah, but that's basically meaningless to me.  It's not just the pictures themselves that held importance, it was being able to look back and see the connection between them and what was happening in my life.  They were memory markers.  I've got thousands of them and it's impossible for me to tell now which pictures went with which journal entries, or which entries had pictures at all.  I can't even link back to them from an entry, because the link doesn't appear; it's as if nothing were there.  I don't even get the replacement graphic.

 

 

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You don't get the nasty little gray box? That's odd.  Can you see your BBCode or HTML and look for hotlinks?
 

The Denver Post article mentions it.
 

"Online image hosting is a different beast. None of the popular photo-sharing sites stepped up to take in wary Photobucket users. SmugMug allows it, starting at $3.99 a month. Yahoo’s Flickr also has a free plan, with ads. And while Imgur is a popular third-party hosting platform, its terms of service forbid the practice."

 
Anybody ever heard of that SmugMug, and have any idea what their reputation is?  As I said before, I wouldn't so much mind paying a nominal fee, if that meant I wouldn't get shafted.  I do see that the $3.99 monthly fee applies only if you prepay for a year, though -- otherwise it's $5.99.  But even that's way better than $399 per year (AKA $33.25 per month).
 
Martina, I think it was you said something about web hosting with Google.  Any idea what their basic plans cost?  I really don't need all those frills, just basic file storage with the ability to hotlink.  I've hotlinked to a photo or two from our old ISP's webhosting, and that worked just fine.

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Yup, my ISP's web hosting still works just fine:

 

walter.jpg

 

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You don't get the nasty little gray box? That's odd.  Can you see your BBCode or HTML and look for hotlinks?

 

Nope, nada.  :(  My journal entries are in my email.  (When the journal site I wrote at announced it was shutting down, I had to hastily copy and paste 4000+ journal entries into emails and send them to myself.)  I don't know if it's something to do with my email service or something else, but instead of getting the little gray box in place of the picture, I just get nothing.  There's not even an empty space where the photos would have been.  I could try viewing the page source and comb through the code for links, but that would be awfully time-consuming with 4000+ individual emails.

 

I'd never heard of SmugMug before this Photobucket debacle, but in reading articles I've seen a few people comment that they really like it and it's a "vastly superior service" to Photobucket.

 

 

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Martina, I think it was you said something about web hosting with Google.  Any idea what their basic plans cost?  I really don't need all those frills, just basic file storage with the ability to hotlink.  I've hotlinked to a photo or two from our old ISP's webhosting, and that worked just fine.

 

Google pricing is a complicated mess. See for yourself: https://cloud.google.com/storage/pricing. Basic storage is free, as I understand, and hotlinking from Google Photos seems to be permissible as well, but then again I'm not gonna risk my gmail account on the off chance I'm wrong (far too much tied into that one). A quick google search (harr harr) just brought some concerns that google seems to penalize sites hotlinking to google in their search ranking, fwiw.

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Oi, I remember reading something like that when I first joined Imgur, but wasn't sure I understood what it meant, and didn't realize how much I'd be using it, and besides, Caya was the one who recommended it, so I figured she'll fix everything for me if something goes wrong. :p

 

I'm not sure I see the point of just having a place to store photos if you can't link to them. I guess you're supposed to invite other people to look at them? That's what I use Facebook for.

 

Pfff.

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Oi, I remember reading something like that when I first joined Imgur, but wasn't sure I understood what it meant, and didn't realize how much I'd be using it, and besides, Caya was the one who recommended it, so I figured she'll fix everything for me if something goes wrong. :P

 

No pressure, right? :P

 

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