You might have noticed that some of the photos people have posted on social media are “broken”. Meaning, of course, that what is supposed to be a photo looks like a blank space or a question mark icon. The reason for this is because of a recent change made by Photobucket.
On June 26, 2017, Photobucket posted the following statement on their blog:
At Photobucket, we are committed to providing the best experiences and services for all of your photo 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.
The post included a link to their Terms of Service. It is unclear why Photobucket backdated when the new changes would take place. People who use Photobucket, and found that blog post on the day it posted would learn that changes had been made about a week before. This certainly doesn’t leave any room for feedback about those changes.
Part of the Photobucket Terms of Service has details about types of accounts, pricing, and limits. Anyone can visit Photobucket for free. Anyone can register as a Member for free.
A Free Account provides a Member with 2 GB of free storage or space available for their original photo files or videos that are under 10 minutes. A Free account does not allow any image linking or 3rd party image hosting.
That’s fine for people who are brand new to Photobucket, or who have less than 2 GB of content on it. The change affects people who already have been using Photobucket and who have put more than 2 GB of content on it. The Terms of Service says that Members who have Free accounts, and who exceed their content limit, will have their account immediately suspended and will need to become a “Paying Member” in order to continue accessing their account.
This explains why so many Photobucket images “broke”. It also explains why people are upset about this new change. Petapixel included some tweets from disgruntled Photobucket users in their article about the situation.
Photobucket Members who have more than 2 GB on Photobucket will need to pay money for a subscription plan. There are three plans to choose from.
PLUS 50 costs $5.99/month (or $59.99/year). It gives you 52.0 GB of storage. It does not allow linking or 3rd Party Hosting.
PLUS 100 costs $9.99/month (or $99.99/year). It gives you 102.0 GB of storage. It allows Unlimited Linking, but does not allow 3rd Party Hosting.
PLUS 500 costs $39.99/month (or $399.99/year). It gives you 502.GB of storage. This Plan allows both Unlimited Linking and Unlimited 3rd Party Hosting.
In short, some Photobucket Members found that their photos were “broken”, and then discovered they could not access their account until they spent money. Those with more than 102.GB on Photobucket are looking at having to pay about $40.00 a month for a service that used to be provided for free.
Photobucket has every right to charge for their service, but this was not the best way for the company to go about doing it. This situation is a good example of why you shouldn’t host your content exclusively on a site that you do not own.