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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Like the title says, Photobucket sucks. As a preface, I posting this in the General Board section as many of us use Photobucket to post motorcycle related photos in these and other forums. So I want to share some information regarding why us PB subscribers are having our photos periodically blurred (with the PB watermark stamped on it) or removed from our posts. If admins feel this is not the appropriate place, please move to Off Topic. However, I believe the Off Topic section is only for members, and I'd like this to be seen by all.

I have used Photobucket for over 10 years, linking many many pictures I've taken of various bike builds and just general sharing. This article from June 24, 2019 states in detail what has been happening with Photobucket, and what we as subscribers have been bombarded with. Mind you, my Photobucket account started as the free account over a decade ago and while I understand more storage usage can and will come at a cost, "extortion" is a keyword used to best describe what many users have been and are experiencing:

Click to read the Article: Photobucket still has your photos, and it wants you to come back (After a disastrous year, Photobucket wants people to trust it with their memories)

Now, for the sake of the above article "disappearing", here is a text copy minus the images:

"Photobucket still has your photos, and it wants you to come back
After a disastrous year, Photobucket wants people to trust it with their memories

By Dami [email protected]_lee Jun 24, 2019, 10:37am EDT

When the 10-year challenge went viral earlier this year, everyone who wanted to brag about how hot they used to be had the same idea for where to find those nostalgic photos: legacy photo hosting site Photobucket, which saw a massive uptick in traffic that week. “We found that people were like, ‘Where do I find that picture of myself 10 years ago? It’s probably on Photobucket,’” its CEO Ted Leonard tells me.

The company is trying to make a comeback as more than just a site for forgotten photos, though usage has dramatically declined over the years, and it faces significantly more competition than when it first launched in 2003. Once accounting for 2 percent of US internet traffic by hosting photos for sites like eBay and Myspace, Photobucket is now somewhere in the range of the 1,500th most-visited website in the US, according to Alexa rankings. But under new management, the company is currently in the middle of an apology tour, trying to regain the public’s trust after a sudden, exorbitant price increase that had its remaining users accusing the company of extortion two years ago.

Photobucket now wants to be seen as the site you can trust to store your photos forever. It’s a major turn from just a couple years ago — in June 2017, Photobucket quietly introduced a $399 annual fee to embed images on third-party sites. The site gave zero warning, just a blog post announcing its new terms of service, which didn’t mention the price change. When the changes went into effect, millions of hot-linked images on the internet broke overnight, only displaying a speedometer blaring the message, “PLEASE UPDATE YOUR ACCOUNT TO ENABLE 3RD PARTY HOSTING.” With 20 million users hosting images on sites like Amazon and eBay, Leonard guesses about 60 million images went dark during that time. The images were finally turned back on nearly a year later, when Photobucket replaced the executive team, including CEO John Corpus, and Leonard stepped in.

“That was just the result of a short-sighted decision from the previous management team, in an effort to get immediate results,” Leonard says. “Saying, ‘we’re going to force you into a single plan and charge you $400’, that’s not a realistic price.”

Photobucket now has more accessible plans that range from $4.99 a month for a 25GB Beginner plan, to an $11.99 unlimited image hosting Expert plan. Leonard stresses that the company will always have a free plan, which allows storage of up to 250 images. That’s a small number compared to what services from big tech companies like Google can offer, which is unlimited photo storage on Google Photos (as long as they’re compressed to 16 megapixels). But Leonard is confident that the people paying for subscriptions understand that hosting services cost money, and are drawn to the simplicity of the site. “I believe that we can happily coexist with the larger tech companies,” he says. “We pride ourselves on not being a social media platform. There’s room in the marketplace for companies that focus solely on photos.”

In the nine months since the new pricing went into effect, Leonard says the paid subscriber base has increased 50 percent, with 90 percent of new subscriptions coming from legacy Photobucket members who had been on the free plan for an average of about eight years.

The company prides itself on how it’s stuck around for the past 16 years as a reliable time capsule for people to revisit their memories. Last month, it introduced a “Bill of Rights” that promises that Photobucket will never delete its users’ photos, provided the photos don’t violate its terms of service. The news comes as a response to its competitor Flickr, which was acquired by SmugMug and began deleting user photos that went over the 1,000 photo limit for free accounts earlier in March. The outcry was immediate, and Flickr was hit with an exodus of users who opted to download their photos rather than to upgrade to a Pro subscription. The backlash to a once-free service asking for a subscription fee is familiar territory for Photobucket.

“The internet started out as this free marketplace, where you could get all types — whether it’s videos, or content — anything for free,” Leonard says. “And we’re seeing a shift now.” With subscription-based models becoming the norm in nearly every industry, from streaming services like Spotify and Netflix to video games, Leonard believes there’s more of a willingness for people to start paying for photo storage as a subscription service as well.

Photobucket has been shuffled between new owners over the years and is now a far tinier company than it once was. The company was originally acquired by News Corp. (along with Myspace) in 2007, then sold to Seattle mobile startup Ontela in 2010, which it merged with. Once employing 120 people at its height, Photobucket is now an independent company based out of a co-working space in Denver, Colorado with 11 full-time employees. Half of the company is dedicated to community management and customer service right now, but the company hopes to bring in more employees as subscriptions grow, particularly in the marketing and technical teams.

I visited the site last week and somehow logged into my account, despite the fact that the Yahoo e-mail I signed up with no longer exists. I saw photos of the house I haven’t lived in for a decade, pictures from middle school hastily snapped from a point-and-shoot, and some header images I designed for my Xanga page (which also no longer exists) all sitting in the album how I left them.

Leonard tells me Photobucket is rolling out with a new website and mobile app, but when I visited, the site looked more or less as how I remembered. Maybe that’s the point."
Here's where I'm completely flattened and feel like I've been trapped. I have over 7000+ photos in various albums on Photobucket. I have a couple of huge and highly visited build threads with dozens of pictures each that now are completely void of pictures. With Photobucket threatening to blur and stamp photos for the past few months unless I upgrade to their new plan(s), I refused and now just want to download all of my photos in the album format I created for each for organization and find another service. Yep, this also means I'll have to rebuild all of my threads too.

So this past Monday I sent an inquiry to Photobucket's customer service:
"Good morning, I would like to know how to go about downloading some of my photo albums to my PC, not just individual pictures. I thought there was a way to do this in the past. Please advise."
A couple hours later, there response:
"Hello, Unfortunately, we do not have an album download feature on the current site. At this time, you can only download images individually from your account. We understand that this can be time consuming. However, this is the only option we have at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The article below will provide you with instructions on how to download your photos individually.

Copy or Download a Photo or Video

A new Photobucket site will be released soon and it will have an album download feature. This will make downloading your content a lot easier."
I replied:
"The feature to download albums was available in the past. Where did it go? Why was it removed? I don't like where Photobucket has been headed in the past couple years. So there's nothing you can do to help me with this? When will the new version be released?"
And their response:
"The download album feature is broken and irreparable. This is why we are building a new site. The new site will be released in a month or so."
I call bullsh*t. It is evident from the article above and my research that they REMOVED that option to prevent a mass exodus of very dissatisfied users. So when Photobucket sent me an email this morning to provide a review of their service from this interaction, this was my reply:
"While I appreciate the prompt response to my inquiries, I am extremely dissatisfied with Photobucket's changes over the past couple years. I was able to download albums in the past and now it's defunct. I am a member of a few forums where I participate in informative discussions and "how-to" instructionals whereas my pictures are linked to my Photobucket account. Recently, PB demands MORE money to "upgrade" my account, AGAIN, and removes my photos from anywhere they are linked. I simply cannot download 7,000+ photos one-by-one and fix all these forum links and MUST HAVE the ability to do this by album. Trapped; that's how Photobucket has made me feel and I am about done being a paying customer. I simply will not be strong-armed into "upgrading", especially when key features have failed, or been removed."
Seriously, I am done with their "service". They have, in my opinion, an irreparable reputation as of late. It will be worth my extra efforts to completely eliminate their lack of good business. They will not receive a dime more from me. Most if not all online photo storage services charge for their service over a certain amount of size and/or bandwidth. That's fine. I'll find one of them. I can also use my Google Drive to provide links to my photos, but that's just not as friendly as opening a thread and seeing the pictures all together. All this said, more modern message forums are allowing you to upload pictures to their servers in each thread you create or reply to.

So for now, I apologize to anyone and everyone trying to read through some of my and others posts of interest and not making sense of the information for lack of pictures. F**k you Photobucket. There are other options. Options that will create more work and slow down the hands of internet users such as myself, but options nonetheless that will get us past this cyber-bullying.
 

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When they tried to "strong arm" me into "paying" for their "free" service is when I quit using them. I still have photos there, but now I will download them so I don't lose them, even if I have to do it one at a time. It's ridiculous!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
When they tried to "strong arm" me into "paying" for their "free" service is when I quit using them. I still have photos there, but now I will download them so I don't lose them, even if I have to do it one at a time. It's ridiculous!!
I am waiting for the "upgrade" to see if downloading of albums will be included again as they stated in their email to me. After I again regain control over my photos, I will be deleting my account with them.
 

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I've swtiched to postimg
 

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How long have you been with them? Any issues thus far? How many photos do you have stored?
No problems, I've been using them for a little more than a year. Not sure how many photo's you can store. I have maybe only 30 there now.
 

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This whole ongoing Photobucket mess, where they have held peoples pictures ransom has severely damaged How-to presentations on many websites.
Much text becomes largely useless when it relied on pictures for much of the explanation.
A huge problem of lost information where you are dealing with years old pictures with no other remaining back-up and/or many times unreachable original posters.

Information that was given mostly freely, which is truly the wealth of the Internet, has effectively been stolen.

To me it really points out the danger inherent in all "Cloud" only storage.
Any storage comes with some risk, but computers are cheap, disk type hard drives are huge and cheap, make backups and/or be your own "Cloud".
 

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I went through the same exact thing! They had a deadline in their emails. I downloaded all my pictures..... One at a time.... It was brutal as I had thousands of pictures. These were invaluable pictures from my son's birth, trips, etc.

I now have all the pictures on a single flash drive. I need to copy the pictures onto other flash drives and store the flash drives in multiple places. I may give the flash drives to my family as they may enjoy all the baby pictures of my son....
 

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I don't know why anybody would trust any online service to look after your photos. All the photos that I had ever put on Photobucket or any other photo hosting site, I still have on a my computer (internal & external HDD), so all I did was go and deleted all the albums/photos that were on Photobucket.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't know why anybody would trust any online service to look after your photos. All the photos that I had ever put on Photobucket or any other photo hosting site, I still have on a my computer (internal & external HDD), so all I did was go and deleted all the albums/photos that were on Photobucket.
I have ALL of the photos that are on my Photobucket, however they are spread out so much between a few computers, storage devices, flash drives, etc. that it's near impossible to gather and consolidate into 'albums'. I used Photobucket over the years to categorize, and while they HAD the feature to download albums, it is gone now. They say it's coming back in the new version but that is left to be seen.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I did some research and found a couple programs to override PB's deletion of the album download feature. There may be more out there, but this is where I started and ended, with the second being my choice:
Ref: My search results

photobucket_bulk_download.md
https://gist.github.com/philipjewell/a9e1eae2d999a2529a08c15b06deb13d
This is a script program that "tricks the request to the image file is coming from Photobucket themselves by definining --referer "http://s.photobucket.com/" allowing you to download the file without dealing with the redirect to their upgrade/update image." I tried this method and because of the securities in place at my work the script would not run. It may work at home, and/or it may work for you.



Photobucket Album Downloader (Unlimit)
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/photobucket-album-downloa/jmpbbfglflhdhbmimlcacoojpkeopelc
This is a Google Chrome extension. It costs $1.99 for the download and is the method I chose because it will download your original file size and not compress the image size. It incorporates a nice radio button right along side your Photobucket window. Simply select the album, press the "Download" button and it runs, updating you with a status bar as it completes each file up to the total in that album. It does not retain the album name, so the best thing to do is create a folder structure on your desktop and when the files are complete and the folder opens prompting you where to save, simply select the mirror folder you created on your desktop. It saves as a compressed file. Just unzip the file and complete your set-up. Simple. Easy. Much easier than downloading one file at a time, and worth the $1.99 if not just for the fact that it's NOT going into Photobucket's pocket.

Still in the process of downloading as I type this. Of course, the nightmare of going backwards and trying to update old threads with whatever new image storage service I choose still exists, it's a start. I'll post an update back.

PB Downloader.JPG


282813

282814
 

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I think this whole scenario stinks. I understand the need to pay the bills, and the ad-blasting on PB was getting kind of ridiculous. But, I think this shows the benefit of caring for your own house (images) as some have mentioned and not relying on a "cloud" to keep your memories and such. Not bustin' on anyone, but many computers don't even have a hard drive but rely on cloud services to store EVERYTHING. I never understood that. You can see the shift to this mentality in many of the "imaging programs" that are available. Tell it where you want to post it, and it does all the heavy lifting for you.

I think this whole PB issue helps to reinforce that anyone offering you a service, isn't doing it only for your betterment or benefit. ESPECIALLY on the 'net.

I have some blurry images up there still, and I'm not deleting them from their servers. Sounds like space has become VERY important to PB. If I can't use my images, at least they can't use my space on their servers!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
THIS was just emailed to me under the title, "WARNING: You need to take action.":

****YouPhotobucket.jpg


THIS is yet another reason I'm KICKING THE BUCKET.

Don't you threaten me PB. F*ck you. Your days of having me as a paying client are over PB; soon, very soon. I've uploaded all my pics to PostImg now, but I'm still reluctant to use linking anymore. PostImg went through a .org to .cc change a couple years ago, and that would still be a nightmare to fix links again. And trying to update pic-links in all of my threads is proving to be very cumbersome. Having forums that use their own upload system helps though.
 

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What Photobucket did to our photo`s, especially blurring photo`s that were posted on other forums decades ago is not only dishonest, but borders on Criminal.

What they did was change the rules in the middle of the game.

When I opened my Photobucket account Many , Many years ago, and started uploading and sharing photo`s those image limits and rules were not in place!

Then decades later they come up with these limits, and blurred out images I posted 20 years ago!

BS !!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I officially emailed customer service just now to cancel my account with PhotoF*ckit. I planned this some time ago, but needed time to copy (screen clip) several of my extensive posts with pics on various sites so that I can fix them later. For the past few months PB has had issues on top of their own scamming with pictures either not retrievable, watermarked for no reason and/or broken links outside and from within users accounts, including mine (see pic below). I'm done. Mentally I've been done for months. So let's see how long it takes for their response knowing that they will lose yet another long term customer. I just LOVE the automated response rolls eyes ...... I'll keep you posted for sure.

PB Sucks 2020-01-10.JPG
PB Sucks Cancel Letter 2020-01-10.JPG
 

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Haven't taken the time to thank you for your posts. Thanks.

Photobucket has been a pain for me, too. Followed some of your links and managed to download everything I had there. Every one of those pictures should have been on my backup fixed disk -- along with thousands of my wife's. Haven't yet sorted through to verify. But did tell PB to suck it. Not that they mind. Probably getting used to it by now.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I just received this response. Let me preface this with the fact that there is no way for the subscriber to turn off automatic renewal once it's set. But I did cancel the recurring payment through my PayPal account where it was linked. As well, this email reply is basically informing me that I "will lose the benefits that came with [my] subscription." Yeah, b-e-n-e-f-i-t-s. LOL! What would those be as of the past few months? Let's see - threats to upgrade, threats to spend more money, major server outages, lost pics, blurred images, non-functional thumbnails, poor customer service, etc = BLACKMAIL AND EXTORTION.

I've had my account for 10 years as of February. Membership SHOULD have it's privileges. Better customer service would be to keep their existing customers happy with minimal change and start off the "new" plans and increased pricing with new members. Grandfather in the faithful and build marketing prospects.

One more thing is obvious in that I don't even want the "free" account. Think about that - FREE. Bull. You know it will be plastered with threatening ads, account limitations and unreliable service in general.

Photobucket Cancel Reply.JPG
 
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