When I started this blog almost ten years ago I had no idea that one day all the photographs on it would suddenly disappear.
But that’s exactly what happened after the site that hosts my shots, Photobucket, arbitrarily decided that it would no longer allow 3rd party photo hosting free of charge. That’s fair enough, you might think. Nothing’s free these days; there’s always some sort of trade off. And with Photobucket, there was. Users had to sit through adverts while their photos uploaded. (Using an adblocker slowed the whole process down, and in any case I can hardly object to adverts in my line of work).
But Photobucket clearly wasn’t satisfied with the revenue they accrued from ads. They wanted more. A lot more. And they could have got it, too, if they had emailed their users and explained that they were introducing an annual fee of, say, $25 or even $50. I’d have paid that; so would many others. But if the people at Photobucket did any business modelling to predict the likely income resulting from various subscription levels, they clearly didn’t follow it. Instead they just thought of a huge number – $400 – and decided they were going to charge everyone that.
Even worse, there was no prior announcement. Owners of sites and blogs simply woke up one morning in July to find that all their photos had disappeared and been replaced by this:
A visit to the link revealed that, unless I paid $400, I’d never see my photos again. Well, I could, but no one visiting this blog (or the ones here or here) would be able to. That’s a basically a ransom demand. Is it illegal? Probably not. Does it make good business sense? God, no. But it does mean I’m going to have to download all the 500+ photos I’ve uploaded to Photobucket over the years. I’m learning that this takes ages.
Then the real work begins
If I want to repopulate 10 years’ worth of blog posts, I’ll then have to:
- Find a new 3rd party photo hosting website that’s either free or which doesn’t charge silly money. That’s NOT silly money
- Reload all my photos to this new site, one blog post at a time
- Match each shot to the position in the post in which it appeared
- Copy and paste the link
- Remove the ‘ransom demand’ notice
- Wish I’d made a note of the original caption before removing the ransom demand notice
- Repeat 500 times
Any suggestions as to how I can shorten this process will be received with bags of gratitude.