Author Topic: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums  (Read 421 times)

Offline Ben Bove

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Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« on: July 11, 2017, 05:54:28 PM »
Anyone hosting their photos with Photobucket (as in me) is currently under siege by their 'ransom' scandal.  They have pulled their free hosting of images to forums with no notice, in an attempt to make you pay for these services.  So, all the free images they have hosted since the early 2000s have had their links removed to force users to pay for them.  Images are replaced with an ad to upgrade my service.  I cannot even download the photos I've uploaded there until I pay for the service... hence, the "ransom" scandal.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/photobucket-endures-user-backlash-after-breaking-images-with-ransom-demand/

What is more demoralizing, is that this has hit all the forums.  Automobile forums, DIY forums... the collective shared intelligence of people is being broken by a desperate company's attempt to fleece its users for money.  As much as $400 per year for a relatively low allocation of memory compared to market-rate.  Important information across the world may never be corrected or relinked.

This means every post I've made on here with a photo is most likely broken.  Photobucket has been receiving horrible press about the situation.  We'll see how it plays out, and apologies for the broken links.

« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 07:03:42 PM by Ben Bove »
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2017, 06:07:42 PM »
Bummer dude. Funny I didn't read about it on BoingBoing or Consumerist. Kept my nose to the grindstone today, I guess.
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Offline JanustheManus

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2017, 08:44:40 PM »
I've seen many missing "photos" on at least 10 forums. This isn't right, and I'm sorry Photobucket is doing this
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Offline goldphinga

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2017, 02:48:12 AM »
Awful news. What's the plan going forward?

Offline David Aubke

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2017, 06:47:05 AM »
Friend of mine runs a hosting operation... $20 would get you a year of storage space.

Just throwin' that out there.
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Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 12:31:21 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion, but the thought of trolling back through over 3,000 posts looking for photos I linked that are broken, then uploading them to a new site, editing the post to correct the link...  it's an incredible amount of work.  I can begin using a different service, but for old posts - only really look to correct some of the more major posts that are tutorials or larger threads.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 12:42:55 PM by Ben Bove »
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2017, 01:30:31 PM »
Betcha Cormac could run something that would find all of your photobucket links and update them in one pass.

You might want to think twice about using another free image hosting service.

Seems like photobucket played this poorly - why no notice to the users? Why such a steep price? - but really, if they go bankrupt providing free hosting, all of those images would disappear anyway.
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Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2017, 12:06:19 PM »
By not notifying the users, it kept them from migrating to a different site by locking down their photos.  The steep price is because they've got you over a barrel to either do this massive work around, or just pay to keep things going. 

It's a sham to shakedown more money.  The whole "we don't make any money hosting free images" is a lie, because they draw a massive amount of visitors to their site, that upload these free photos, and sell ads on their page based on their website traffic.  So it's just a whole scam.
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2017, 01:02:36 PM »
Now that I think about it, why don't you start hosting your images on the web server where retrorentals.net lives? All of the links would be to your domain name so even if you have to move them to a new host, as long as you keep your domain, the links will continue to work.
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 01:06:01 PM »
By not notifying the users, it kept them from migrating to a different site by locking down their photos.

Do you not even have access to the photos yourself?

I agree the lack of notice was almost certainly a ploy to get people to pay up. There are likely many business that relied on that service who would have to pay to keep their e-commerce sites running.
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Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2017, 06:04:11 PM »
[Removed bit about using Google Photos.. that no longer works for embedded image sharing]

Ben I'll take a nose around some of your posts and examine some links etc and get back to you. If its possible the bucket links have some remnant of the original filename, then I think we can find a way to batch update the URLs in your archive of posts.

I did similar surgery way back after migrating the forum and its posts from James Garfields site where some posts had links to other posts and luckily I was able to do a like for like swap ensuring these got converted despite the forum software and URL being changed. Article ID numbers were preserved after the migration so it threw me a bone to work with.

There is also an attachment option here on the forum but I wouldn't recommend it especially to people who know what they are doing with the content authoring etc. The free flow of text and images is what people want when writing something authoritatively. 
« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 04:57:26 PM by Cormac Long »

Offline cinnanon

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 05:40:55 AM »
Just think if gmail would do something like that. I'm sure others will follow.

Offline rhodesjuzz

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2017, 08:41:43 AM »
Cormac
Instead of a photo only a no-enter-sign (if that's the right english word) shows up. Maybe it has something to do with legal stuff like usa vs europe ?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 08:53:59 AM by rhodesjuzz »
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Offline David Aubke

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2017, 10:24:54 AM »
Cormac
Instead of a photo only a no-enter-sign (if that's the right english word) shows up.

Same for me.

Oh, the irony.
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Offline Ben Bove

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2017, 12:17:57 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions.  Cormac and I are now working on a batch solution, could be promising!  I'm sure in a year or two's time, Photobucket will go the way of Geocities.
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Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2017, 03:34:09 PM »
Irony indeed. Ive managed to recreate it also. I suspect it only works for you if you're signed into a google account. I can recreate the broken link in an incognito browser window.

Will investigate that more

Cormac
Instead of a photo only a no-enter-sign (if that's the right english word) shows up.

Same for me.

Oh, the irony.

Offline Cormac Long

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2017, 05:04:36 PM »
Confirmed.. Google Photos no longer working for embedded photo URLs

When you grab a raw image URL from Google Photos, you get this huge and very random URL. These were what's called unguessable URLs and they bear no reference to the user, album or given photo name etc. So they are quite secure.

Back in the Picasa days and definitely also in the earlier times for Google Photos, that embeddable URL would work. Now if the retriever is not signed into a google account, he gets a broken link. If signed into another account he gets a no entry sign which is what David and rhodesjuzz saw.

The only way to share a link is via a shared image link, but thats no usable for embedded purposes.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 04:56:27 AM by Cormac Long »

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2017, 10:47:50 AM »
I'm sure in a year or two's time, Photobucket will go the way of Geocities.

I'm sure it will be sooner than that.  Photof**kit has done a great job of alienating their customers.

I never used those photo sharing website.  A buddy of mine gave me my own webspace.

Offline laberge

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Re: Photobucket "ransom" scandal and impact on forums
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2017, 10:54:16 AM »
I'd recommend using imgur for photo hosting. Alternatively get yourself a hosting plan for ~$3-5 a month and have unlimited photo hosting for as long as you want... plus a website and email and domain name!