Thousands of images from online shopping sites like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, have beentaken down after a photo sharing website quietly changed its terms.
Denver-based Photobucketis facing backlash on social media for introducing a $400 fee to customers who want to embed photos on third-party sites like online marketplaces or forums. Many users were unaware of the charge, and were surprised to find their images had beenreplaced with error messages.
Long-time Photobucket customers have accused the company of extortion, and now claim it is holding their images for ransom.
you are a DISGUSTING company @photobucket this is 100% blackmail. I have years of blog content on your platform, now forcing to pay 400/year
— Julia (@Contour_Affair) June 27, 2017
@photobucket I understand you've resorted to extortion to "value Add" and supplement your income true/false?
— Tacksiscum (@tacksiscum) July 5, 2017
Been a .@photobucket member for ten years, joined on 19th May 2007. Account now deleted due to their extortion and ransom wankery.
— Johnny Mains (@ohsinnerman) July 5, 2017
— Michael Tanner (@TannerTech) July 4, 2017
— Peter C (@lannabiker) July 3, 2017
People are furious at Photobucket for not clearly explainingthe changes to its more than 100 million customers. In June, the company posted a short blog post asking users to review updated terms and policies. Instead of writing a few sentences that would explicitly describethe fee and consequences for not paying it, Photobucket left it up to customers to dig into the lengthy documents.
Within the terms and agreements is a brief section outlining different account plans. It explains that Photobuckets most popular paid plan (102GB for $100 a year) no longer allows third-party image hosting, and that customers who need photos hosted on their site will need to pay $400 a year for the top-tier option.
“One of the biggest issues, however, was that it came out of the blue,” marketing company Aqueous Digitalwrote in a blog post. “No one knew about it. There were no announcements, no emails warning people that it was about to happen and more importantly, no explanation.”
Photobucket responded in a generic Twitter post without apology.
Thank you for all of the recent feedback and questions. We are trying our best to respond quickly and thank you for your patience
— Photobucket (@photobucket) July 1, 2017
Some usershave already turned to competitors to get their photos back online.
One word. @Imgur
— KMI (@kemionline) July 1, 2017
Time for people to move to Imgur or another service
Amazon and eBay images broken by Photobucket's 'ransom demand' https://t.co/Z5easXmwZo
— B. Scott (@BScottX) July 4, 2017
— Hans Efd (@HansEfde) July 2, 2017
Well tomorrow I start transferring everything to Flickr. Hopefully I can get it all done before Photobucket does the same to me.
— Tanya Atkinson (@BookwormTanya) July 5, 2017
— Thomas Konig (@ThomasKonig) July 5, 2017
H/T the Verge