Insights with PhotoBucket's CEO: Nine billion photos and a new Twitter deal

Photobucket is one of the dominant players in the online photo storage/photo sharing space, as evidenced by their recently announced partnership with Twitter whereby Photobucket will serve as Twitter’s default photo sharing platform. Given their place in the market, Photobucket is in a unique position to spot trends among consumers.

“What most people don’t know is we have approximately nine billion photos at Photobucket right now, and that’s photos and videos,” explains Tom Munro, CEO of Photobucket. “People link those to different web sites, so every day we serve over three, sometimes four, billion images across the web to about 2.5 or 2.6 million different web sites. We do that on a daily basis. When Twitter was out looking for someone who could scale and that they could grow with and [that] they were confident had that size and ability, we were hopefully an obvious choice.”

Based on their experience as well as their market research, Photobucket has learned that the proliferation of mobile devices has caused web-based photo and video activity to skyrocket.

“We’re doing about 25 million photos from mobile alone every month,” says Munro. “That’s a significant growth from this time last year. A lot of that growth is on iPhone, and we see a magnitude greater than that on Android…We do a survey semi-annually. The last survey we did was in July, and the results will be released in a week or so. We had 2,500 respondents, and half of those said that they take video on their mobile devices at least once a week. The trends that we see are even more than that. Since January of this year, we’ve seen a 14x increase in mobile video.”

In May, Photobucket released its new Snapbucket application for iPhone and Android devices. The app allows you to snap photos, edit them with filters and effects and share them via Photobucket, Facebook or Twitter. Over 1 million users have downloaded the app, adding to the approximately 20 million unique users of Photobucket apps each month in the U.S. Later this year, Photobucket plans to release updated versions of Snapbucket that will improve sharing and add video.

“There are a couple of advantages to Snapbucket,” explains Munro. “Your original isn’t destroyed, so you preserve the original, and both the original and the one you’ve applied the effects to sit at Photobucket, so it’s permanent. It’s not instant. It’s a longer term look at photos and videos and trying to build that over time versus just the moment.”

Another interesting finding from Photobucket’s semi-annual survey was that half of the respondents still have photos online in more than three different places. Part of Photobucket’s future plan is to help users consolidate all these photos in one place that’s always there, is backed up and will work regardless of the device used to captured the photo or the device used to view the photo.

“Where we like to think of ourselves is we want to be ubiquitous between mobile, web and consumer electronic devices,” says Munro, “”and really let people play in any of those knowing their photos are safe and secure.”

More info:

Photobucket web site: http://photobucket.com/
Photobucket blog: http://blog.photobucket.com/
Photobucket profile on CrunchBase: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/ontela
Photobucket profile on Twitter: http://twitter.com/photobucket

This was originally published on Rackspace's Building43: http://www.building43.com/videos/2011/09/08/photobucket-trends-in-online-photo-sharing/
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