Friday, July 7, 2017

Photobucket Issues & How This Space Is Affected

For the eleven years that Lost Coast Post has been a blip on the internet, I have used Photobucket to host my photos. I upload my edited photos to the service, get a link, and then when I write a blog post, I embed that link in the post so the photo shows up. In short, Photobucket stores the pictures and allows 3rd parties (i.e. Blogger) to access those photos.

Well, as of July 6, 2017, Photobucket has decided to deny 3rd party hosting/linking to all but the most expensive plan. My account was up-to-date and in good standing before the change so I can continue to link to Photobucket until May 2018. At that time, I will need to pay $400 per year (due in one lump sum) to have Photobucket host my photos. If I don't pay, all photos in my blog will disappear and be replaced with the Photobucket logo and a "Unable to View" notice. And in case you were wondering, no warning was provided to customers; I was made aware of this issue via another blogger and had to go digging through Photobucket's site to find information on this issue. I'm sure they buried this huge policy change because they knew it would anger a great many people.

As you might imagine, I find this situation outrageous and financially impossible. Photobucket is going to cut off access to my photos, even ones I uploaded and linked to under plans that allowed 3rd party hosting when I paid for them. I will have private access to my photo library (theoretically) so I can download them but there will be no links available. There was zero heads-up on this policy change. In addition, in recent months the Photobucket site has been riddled with technical difficulties. Just today, when I tried to log into my account to upload pictures for a fresh blog post, I got stuck in an endless log-in loop. Half the time, I cannot even access the service I paid for.

Bottom line, this change means two things: 1) I need to find another way to store/host photos for the blog and 2) I will have to go back through almost 1000 blog posts, replacing blocked photos. I will need to download the original photo from my Photobucket library (if I can't find it in my archives,) re-upload to another site, and then replace the disabled link with a working link. Often times, this will mean restructuring the post itself. In addition, if you read through the endless pages of users' angry comments on the Photobucket site, a vast majority are having difficulty simply accessing and downloading their photo libraries. I have each and every one of my 1500+ photos on Photobucket saved elsewhere but it will be intensely time-consuming to dig through all my archives. I have some time to do this but it is a tremendous amount of work to add into my already chaotic life. I will just have to work on the problem bit by bit.

I am asking you, my beloved readers, to please be patient when this whirlwind hits. I am, in this very moment, trying to find an alternative to Photobucket (Google Photos?) so I can stop uploading to Photobucket immediately. (There's no point in continuing to use the service - even though I just renewed my plan a month ago - if access to those photos will be cut off eventually anyway.) I am looking into creating a website, purchasing a domain etc to see if perhaps that would be a better option. I am also considering Patreon.


I love Lost Coast Post and will continue as long as I am physically and financially able.
Please understand that I live on a shoestring budget and I cannot, in any way, add huge new bills into my budget just to be able to blog. Give me some time to see if I can figure out alternatives but be prepared for changes. I treasure your support of my art life and hope you will continue to show up for my art and ramblings wherever they may be found. This particular space will NOT close up shop unless I simply cannot find an easy, reliable, and affordable way to host photos for my posts.

How You Can Help:
1) Suggest photo hosting sites. Photo sharing sites that have reliable, affordable 3rd party hosting rules are hard to find.

2) Suggest alternatives to having a blog here at Blogger...website perhaps? Has anyone ever used Wix to build a website? (Keep in mind I am not super techno-savvy nor do I have a lot of extra time/energy to get that way.)

3) Check out Patreon...would you be interested in supporting me on Patreon? (For say $2 - $5 per month to read blog posts/see art...more for access to how-to/videos etc) It is totally OK if you can't but it would be nice to get a feel for what people think of Patreon. I have considered it in the past but always assumed I wouldn't garner much support in that particular format.

4) Tell me to breathe and not panic...

5) Stick close because I have more art to share and will do so as soon as I find even a temporary fix.

5 comments:

Kate Bucci said...

Oh my word, what a nightmare.
Don't panic!

I haven't blogged in a long time, but when I did, I used Flickr to host my photos. I still use Flickr for photo storage as they do have quite a generous allowance.

I do hope you manage to continue sharing your wonderful work :)

Lynn said...

I feel your frustration!

I use Weebly to build websites for the non-profit I volunteer with. I find it easy enough to work with; it utilizes a lot of drag and drop and templates.

As far as costs go, purchasing your domain is inexpensive. Use GoDaddy to purchase and when you build your website, Weebly or Wix will help you point the website to your domain name. (I found Weebly very helpful when I was having a minor glitch in transferring our domain name from an old host to the Weebly host.)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Breathe! We are all here for you. I'd definitely support you on Patreon!
- Ellie

Marcia Beckett said...

I use Blogger. I feel like it's all on a Google storage and when I ran out of space I paid I small yearly fee to continue using it (like $20?). Let me figure it out. When you try to upload a photo to blogger will it not let you Upload? Do you always have to embed from Photobucket?

Michelle Reuss-Remy said...

Marcia,
When I started my blog 11 years ago, the storage on Blogger/Google wasn't what it is now and there were far more restrictions on photo size. Larger photos ate up bandwidth & were slow to load so lots of people used 3rd party hosting (on all sorts of sites) to speed things up. I think those days are over and I will be uploading to Blogger directly (although the length limit on videos is a problem.) My biggest concern is my blog archive which is dependent on my library at Photobucket to show photos with the posts. After May 2018, any photo I haven't replaced with a fresh link or directly uploaded photo will disappear. Grrr...just will be a ton of work to save...

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