Friday, 25 August 2017

Photos & Photobucket & Unwelcome Changes

A few years ago I made a decision for my blog which now turns out to have been an almighty error and will take me many hours to fix. Of course, I didn't know it was an error at the time and thought it was the right thing to do. I'd read it on a blog, you see, on more than one blog, so obviously it was a good decision. What could possibly go wrong?

Quite a lot, I now discover.

What did I do?

I decided to move the hosting for images on my blog to another platform, which would then relay the images to my blog. I'm sure part of my reasoning for doing this was the battles I often seemed to have with Blogger (my blogging platform) and a feeling that a different way of managing visual content on my blog might be a fix.

And it was until now. I developed a system of editing my photos, shrinking the size, and then uploading them to the web and linking them to the blog post in question. Sorted and relatively simple.

The platform I chose to host my images was/is Photobucket, one that was often mentioned and recommended by those helpful blogs I read. Photobucket have recently, and abruptly, changed their terms and conditions, and the service of hosting images on other sites has gone up from free to $399.99 per year. Pretty much overnight. And retrospectively, meaning that all the images I've previously uploaded using their service will most likely disappear at some point to be replaced by an image like one of these.

In fact, you may well have seen this image on other blog, auction sites, craft sites, and chat forums, as I was not alone in using Photobucket for image hosting and am also not alone in finding the new cost prohibitive and the rapid introduction of it, with no warning, a little lacking in courtesy.

I'm going to slowly move my images away from Photobucket and have decided to let Blogger handle them again and see whether a few years break has given me a bit more experience and/or allowed Blogger to iron out any of those glithes I used to experience.

So if you visit one of my older posts (all posts after this one should be fine and dandy) and discover the images are looking a little typographical, shall we say, then the reason will be that I've not got around to fixing those ones yet. But I will.

A lot of people have been very angry at Photobucket for both the introduction of the change with no warning or preamble, and the price of it - from what I've read this seems to be quite a high price for this type of service. I'm frustrated and disappointed but some of the reading I've done on the topic has been interesting - a frequently held view is that we've come to expect the web to be free (I'm talking about the content here - I'm well aware  that line rental, broadband access, and the devices used to actually get online are all rather expensive and a long way from free and get slightly annoyed when some people don't appreciate those costs are not insignificant - but I digress) and yet much of it isn't and that much of it is used to generate income, jobs and wages. The theory is that advertising, which was meant to help keep things online free, isn't covering the costs companies and business need it to and that other avenues are being explored.

I can't really argue with someone wanting to be paid for a service, and if I find the cost too high, as I do here, then I can choose to walk away, which is what I'm doing. Yes, it's annoying. The rules have been changed, and fast. And yes, it is going to take me a lot of time and effort to ensure my images will display correctly. But it seems the web is perhaps a more fickle place than I previously thought and so I will bear that in mind in my future interactions with it...

This also shows how important it is for all of us who use images online to back them up and remember that they're our responsibility to look after. This also goes the same for blog posts and probably nearly anything at all you put online - it's wiser not to trust that it will always be accessible to you, with terms and conditions that don't alter and systems that don't change. If it matters to you then keep a copy (or ideally two).

If you've also been directly affected by this, then you have my sincere sympathy. Unfortunately I know of only two options - either pay the subscription or do what I'm doing and slowly and painfully move your images. After a little searching I have found a detailed post from blogger Lauren Wayne about how she's trying to deal with the problems created, which is worth a read.

In the meantime, thanks for reading this and please bear with me while I update those photos.

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