Some sellers on Amazon and eBay have had their product images removed from those sites after Photobucket changed its terms of service agreement. The photo provider is now asking for $399 per annum for those who want to use it for third-party hosting. Many Photobucket users were caught out by the change and have claimed that the company is effectively holding them to ransom.
On June 26th, Photobucket announced the change to its service, writing:
“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.”
With the changes, users who want to use Photobucket to host images that they'll post on third party websites must upgrade to a Plus Account which also lets them store 500GB of images for $399. As with most people, many of those affected by the change realised that the terms had changed after their images were blocked.
Gigha Klinkenborg who runs a vintage store in the UK called Retro 2 Go, said:
“I have quite a bit of editing to do. A bit of notice would not have been unreasonable to expect. I have deleted my accounts and would not use [Photobucket] again.”
With the ongoing negative reactions over social media with regard to Photobucket’s decision, it’ll be interesting to see what repercussions the move will have for the service. It also highlights the risk of relying on a free hosting service: there’s no guarantee it’ll stick around or continue to be free to use.