Since 2003, the popular photo hosting service Photobucket has been letting users upload and host images for free on their servers. They have over 10 billion images stored by 100 million registered users. But now they’re going to start charging, and that means billions of images around the Web are now broken.
Hotlinking (AKA inline linking) is when someone takes an image file hosted on a server and embeds it on a different webpage elsewhere. Since the new webpage continuously requests the file from the original source server, it saps the server owner’s bandwidth (and storage space).
Photobucket allowed hotlinking photos uploaded to and stored on its servers for a long time. This was their business model, and they made money from ads on their own site, which users would be exposed to when they went to upload content.
Unfortunately for Photobucket users, things are about to change in a big way as of June 26th. Now the service is rolling out a $399 per year subscription fee for those who want to hotlink images from Photobucket’s servers to display elsewhere. That means that billions of images across the Web now display an error message instead of the image in question.
Link to the rest at PetaPixel
Not exactly to do with books, but a cautionary tale about images you might want to use in social media campaigns. Some blogs that used Photobucket hotlinks to images now have hundreds of posts that are broken. Ditto for comments to blog posts. Ditto for images embedded in various online forums. Ditto for eBay auctions that include product photos posted on Photobucket.