“Shooting yourself in the foot” means saying or doing something stupid that will get you into trouble. Photobucket just shot their entire company in the foot. Millions of people around the world have been affected. I don’t know everyone else’s story, but here’s mine.
On January 2, 2011, I created this blog for The Green Lanterns on the wordpress.com website. But it has a predecessor. On October 1, 2010, I created a website called SLHeroUniverse on Google Sites. These websites are incredibly easy to edit, and they resemble Microsoft SharePoint, which I was using at the time. The big problem with Google Sites, and the reason I established the blog at WordPress, was that each Google Site is limited to 100 megabytes of free Google disk space. Since my training pages with the screen shots of menu windows would eat up that space fairly quickly, I established a Hero Universe account on Photobucket to host the graphics.
During the week of July 22, one of the Lanterns in the group suggested that we should create a resource to help people who are affected by griefers. I realized that the resource should be a page on our blog, and also that the information on the Hero Universe website should be transferred to The Green Lanterns blog where it could help more people. So I went to the Google Site to get a feel for how much information would need to be transferred, and one of the first things I saw, in place of one of my Second Life screen shots, was this graphic:
Clicking on the graphic took me to the Photobucket page where I could see my screen shot that was hosted there. Going to the suggested URL gave more information, including “WE NOTICED THAT YOU HAVE BEEN USING PHOTOBUCKET FOR 3RD PARTY HOSTING*” and “Our Terms of Service does not allow 3rd party hosting with your current account level.” Clicking the “UPGRADE NOW” button took me to a page that asked me to pay $399.99 for a year of free image hosting. Well I am sorry, Mister Bucket, but you are not going to get 400 US dollars out of me for hosting 26 Hero Universe photos on your service. Looking at the account, I noticed 12 pictures in a Linden Gallery folder. Sure enough this blog’s Linden Gallery page had some broken images too. And I also noticed that the fifth article ever in this blog, Griefer Madness, used a picture hosted on Photobucket. The Linden Gallery and the blog post were easy to fix. I won’t update the Hero Universe website. I will just transfer the information over to this blog and maybe update some of the screen shots. But why did this happen? A search for “Photobucket 3rd party hosting” brings up several news articles, including this one from July 4:
It’s incredible that any company would ever do this. Because their notifications were implemented in a clumsy fashion, and because they broke the links to every image hosted for free on their website, and because they are charging a high subscription cost that no one will ever pay because image hosting is cheap and easy, Photobucket has shot itself in the foot. And not only that – they have fired a torpedo that hit their own ship, which will now be sinking below the waves. Photobucket’s days will be coming to a close very soon, due to their own actions.
Like most other Photobucket users, I will soon be downloading all of my pictures and closing my account there. If you use Photobucket for remote hosting of your pictures, you may want to check and see if those links are broken for you too. I hope you’re not affected, but if you are, now you know what to do.