Photobucket breaks images across the internet with quiet ToS update, image embedding and linking now cost $399/year

Photobucket changed its terms and conditions and removed the 3rd Party Hosting feature from the lower subscription tiers. If you want to continue using that feature then a Photobucket Plus 500 subscription is required. It costs $39.99 per month or $399 per year.

And it's not just "3rd party hosting" (i.e. embedding), but also image linking, that requires a paid account.

Not only is that very expensive, it means existing Photobucket accounts on lower subscriptions tiers will have any embedded images they've created in the past cease to work. Considering Photobucket has been around since 2003 and hosts over 10 billion images, that's potentially millions of embedded images across the Internet being broken thanks to a policy change.

This is made worse because of the way Photobucket made the changes.

They posted an announcement on June 26th, for changes that went into effect on June 20th (no those dates aren't backwards).

Here's the blog post announcement in full:

At Photobucket, we are committed to providing the best experience and services for all of your photo and image needs. We have updated our Terms of Service, effective June 20, 2017. Please take a moment to review our updated terms and policies as they may affect your account.

That's it, with a link to the new ToS here:

You then have to read the entire terms to see what's changed:

And the terms page has ads pop up over the content, making it pretty hard to read.

Here's what a free account includes now:

Free account : Each individual Member gets one free account that provides 2 GB of free storage or space available for your original photo files, or videos under 10min. The free account does not allow any image linking or 3rd party image hosting. If a free account Member exceeds their Content Limit, their account will be immediately suspended and they will need to become a “Paying Member” (defined below) in order to continue accessing their account. You can upgrade to a Plus account at any time.

Here are the payment tiers:

o Plus 50 Plan: 52 GB of Storage for $59.99 / Year. The Plus 50 Plan does not allow any image linking or 3rd party image hosting.

o Plus 100 Plan: 102 GB of Storage for $99.99 / Year. The Plus 100 Plan allows for unlimited image linking but does not allow 3rd party image hosting.

o Plus 500 Plan: 500 GB of Storage and unlimited bandwidth for $399.99 / Year. The Plus 500 Plan allows for unlimited image linking and unlimited 3rd party image hosting.

That's pretty spendy if you just use Photobucket to host a few images you post on your favorite forum, or embed on your low-traffic blog.

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