I’ve been using Photobucket to host my photos for my blogs since dinosaurs roamed the internet. I used it way back in the days of LiveJournal, right after I migrated my blog from MySpace, to give you an idea of just how long it’s been. So while Photobucket has been going downhill for years, I still used it because inertia. And it was free, which made up for the It Sucks part.
The other day, without any warning, Photobucket locked down all my photos here and on my website and is now holding them for ransom. I just happened to be here, checking my blog, and saw that all my photos were blocked out. I followed the links and discovered they had changed their terms of service and 3rd party hosting (uploading pictures to their albums and then linking to them from here) is no longer allowed for free accounts. Well, ok, no problem I thought. I’ve been using them forever without paying anything, I don’t mind paying a little something for my server space. What could they possibly want, maybe $5 a month or something? Um. No. How about FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS A YEAR.
I sent them a finely crafted tirade, to add to the pile that I’ve heard they’re receiving from everyone else they did this to. And now I will be switching to another host, and in all my oodles of free time I’ll have to find all the original photos, mess with them a bit on my end, and fix every link to every photo I’ve ever posted. It’s going to take awhile. The time alone might even be worth $400. But not for a service like that. Not for a service with a terrible interface and so many ads it’s almost unusable, not for a service which changes their terms on a whim with no notice and gets a little too greedy with small-time artists and crafters.
It is the essential risk we all take now, trusting so much content to these companies which can ultimately turn on a dime whenever they want to. I’ve never liked the cloud much. Google has put a bad taste in my mouth several times when they got rid of services I relied on, forcing me to recreate the work and double the time I’d invested. And technology was supposed to make everything so efficient.
While I work on cleaning things up around here, pictures of my art can still be found on the art section of my website (http://onesheephill.com/art.html). However, that’s on shaky ground too, since I use Flickr to host those, which was just bought by Verizon and I heard they’re locking out customers with accounts originating from AT&T and it’s subsidiaries. It’s getting a bit ridiculous at this point. At the present time my instagram is still functioning (https://instagram.com/robin.dodge/), even though it crashes my phone every third picture.
Just imagine, all the painting I could be doing instead of fixing dead links.