Friday, July 28, 2017

Photobucket says Photo-f***-it as it announces a policy of extortion

commercial photography locationsI know, I ripped the title off from this piece. Call me lazy. Whatever. I'm too pissed off to care.
Two days ago, I found that images I had both on my blog template and posted in individual entries had been substituted with some strange notice featuring an illustration of a meter and informing me that third-party image hosting "has been temporarily disabled."
The problem is that Photobucket is lying. At the very least, it is subtlely misleading its 100 million users, some of whom have faithfully been using it for a decade or more. (The company launched in 2003.) The situation is temporary until you cough up $399 for its "P500" plan.
Forget for one moment the bizarre naming of its shakedown plan. If it costs nearly 400 bucks to get one's ransomed photos to re-appear, how does "500" come into it? I don't trust any company that forces me to ponder something as mundane as this.
Here's the thing: If the fee was a one-off, that would be at least be some kind of concession to its subscribers. I doubt that customers would have reacted with as much understandable rage and consternation. I still wouldn't have paid, but enough would and Photobucket could have raised more than enough revenue.
The fee, it turns out, is yearly. You have to divvy up four-hundred dollars every year to keep your images in your blog, forum or Amazon or eBay pages. What's even worse than having to pay an extortionate fee every twelve months is that the majority of Photobucket users were not given adequate notice. The company literally sprang this change in terms and conditions on them. Photobucket stresses that it alerted users via e-mail, but I never received one, and I am far from alone in having been not only misinformed but taken completely by surprise. Customer service. No-one delivers it in more snarky fashion than Photobucket. I've got news for this company: Its name is now mud.
Photobucket CEO John Corpus recently told The Denver Post, "There is no way to make 100 million global people happy." Uhm, yes, there is, Señor Corpus. One, you don't charge them $399 every year for image hosting. Two, you don't just throw such a change of policy at them. Three, you might have thought about other avenues for revenue growth. You've been the CEO for a year and this was the best you could come up with, jefe? Give me a freakin' break. Perhaps this toolbag could use the money it costs him to fly from San Francisco to Denver once a week toward operating costs and, golly gee, actually live in the city where the company is based. Just a thought.
Now wait for it. You know what's coming next. After pontificating about not being able to adequately satisfy his customers, Corpus told the reporter, "It wasn't an easy decision." Bing, bing, bing! Raise the corporate-speak alarm. "It/this wasn't an easy decision" is right up there with "blue-sky thinking" and "thinking outside the box." I wonder how much Corpus had to "touch base" with his staff to "incentivize" a "win-win". And you know what a "win-win" is, don't you? The company and shareholders win. You, the poor consumer schmuck, lose.
Futhermore, I'll be damned if I'll pay that much every year for a sluggish website plagued by clickbait and other advertisements. There is an ad-free option for $2.49 per month, but that will probably quadruple in price without notice if Señor Corpus's record is anything to go by. Only a few months ago, Photobucket users were irate when its upload platform became dysfunctional. There was a work-around by which one could upload through the library, but no-one expects to have to dick around with quick-fixes on a supposedly premier photo-sharing website.
Photobucket used to be simple, direct and easy-to-use. It clicked every box on the user-friendly checklist. It's a shame what has become of it. I was frustrated with Photobucket long before this policy change, but the only reason I continued using it was that I did not want to have to replace my images on this blog. Turns out, I have to do that anyway. Thanks, Photobucket! That's a lot of unnecessary work that I didn't need.
I won't wish too much ill-will on Photobucket because I do not want to take my anger out on its employees. It's not their fault that the CEO for whom they work is a greedy SOB. According to the Denver Post article, the company has already reduced its workforce and I would not wish unemployment on anyone other than vivisectionists, the baby butchers of Planned Parenthood, deep state Obama holdovers or 98 percent of Congress.
Having said that, I will not pay the company's ransom for my photos and other images. I suggest using or You don't even have to sign in—just upload your image, grab your .gif or .jpg and you're good to go.
In the meantime, bear with me, dear reader. I've already replaced all my images for this year, but I have a whole decade's worth of entries to pour through. So if you happen upon an earlier entry and are curious about any missing content, just check back in a month or two. It's going to be a lot of work and I'm going to have to take my time with it.
Please go and sign James Cann's petition to encourage Photobucket to reverse its policy regarding third-party image hosting. As of this writing it needs only 44 more signatures to reach the required 1,500 mark. Thank you.

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