Photobucket Customers Fuming Over Policy Change That Broke Images Across Internet

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Photo-sharing service Photobucket has angered a lot of customers with an update to its terms of service that will charge customers $400 per year to host images that appear on third-party sites, such as Amazon, Ebay or Etsy. Many customers took to social media over the weekend, calling the changes “extortion.”

Photobucket customers said they were not warned of the change to the terms, and only found out about them when their images were replaced by a notice asking them to update their account to enable third-party hosting.

Photobucket, founded in 2003, has more than 100 million customers and hosts more than 15 billion images on its servers, according to the BBC. In addition to offering photo storage, Photobucket offers services including photo backup, mobile photo apps, and an online photo editor.

The company offers three different plans: Plus 50 for $5.99 per month (or $59.99 per year), Plus 100 for $9.99 per month (or $99.99 per year), or Plus 500, which offers 502 GB of storage for $39.99 per month or $399.99 per year. Plus 500 is currently the only plan that supports third-party hosting, according to its website, which wasn’t the case prior to the terms of service changes.

What is particularly interesting is that Photobucket does not have a free option, so it’s not the case of the company eliminating a freemium model and forcing customers to upgrade to one of the paid packages, which companies typically do in a way that gives users a lot of warning. The jump in price from the basic plan to the plan that supports third-party hosting is significant at around $340. And while customers are threatening to shut down their Photobucket accounts, they are unable to download their images.

On Saturday, Photobucket thanked its customers for their feedback on the change, and said it is trying to respond quickly to customer concerns.

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  1. J. Chaffin

    Not sure where the "Photobucket does not have a free option". I've had a free account since 2013. That option is still defined/explained in their TOS. Although that is probably not a viable option for a business, it certainly exists and is suitable for many if all they need is a way to host/insert images into an email or forum.