Photobucket says photo-f**k-it, starts off-site image shakedown

No more freeloading graphics, it wants its $400-a-year cut

A broken camera

Photobucket is cracking down on people embedding on third-party websites images it hosts, until now, for free.

The photo-slinging internet elder now says that anyone who wants to use its service to display photos it hosts on other pages – such as signature banners in forum posts – will now need to open up their wallets and plop down $399.99 a year for a subscription plan.

The new policy will be particularly annoying to longtime users who have relied on Photobucket's 14-year-old service to host the images they use to place images on forums or in blog posts.

Cheaper plans, including the free account option, will no longer have an option to allow third-party hosting.

Photobucket notification

The alert netizens now get from Photobucket for inlining images on third-party sites

The change of heart was quietly introduced by Photobucket earlier this week as an update to its terms of service.

On the one hand, it's reasonable for Photobucket to ask for some help in footing its bandwidth bills for serving up images for folks on other websites; on the other hand, it will break a lot of graphics posted on the 'net and inlined in forums and blogs.

"Photobucket defines 3rd-party hosting as the action of embedding an image or photo onto another website," the updated T&Cs read.

"For example, using the <img> tag to embed or display a JPEG image from your Photobucket account on another website such as a forum, Etsy, eBay auction listings, a blog, etc, is definitively 3rd-party hosting."

Not surprisingly, the new rules went over with users about as well as a rattlesnake in a pinata... ®


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