All of a sudden, Airgun Forums and some vendors on Amazon and eBay have been hit with a missing image issue. Instead of the photograph you hoped to see, all you find is a statement like the one shown above from image-hosting company Photobucket.
What’s happened is that – since June 26th – Photobucket has started requiring users to pay for linking images stored in Photobucket to other websites. Like Forums, for instance.
Photobucket made a name for itself by offering this as a free service, ever since its inception in 2003. Now, overnight, the company requires users to pay $39.99 a month – that’s $400 a year – to retain the ability to like images stored in Photobucket to other sites.
So if you’ve seen this missing image issue, that’s the problem.
To be clear, the images themselves haven’t disappeared, it’s just that they can no longer be linked to Forum posts and other sites unless the owner of the images – not the Forum itself – pays the $39.99/month plan charge.
It’s also clear that there is some inconsistency and confusion over this missing image issue. Some Photobucket users clearly have had their image links discontinued, while others seem not to have done so – yet, at least.
There are some solutions to this missing image issue, but most of them are not pretty.
One is to pay Photobucket the $400 a year fee. It’s only just over a Dollar a day, some say…
Second is to take your images, move them to another free image-hosting site and re-post the links. But how many people are really going to do this, particularly if they have dozens, or even hundreds of images placed on Forums and hosted from Photobucket?
And then, how can you be sure that the other free image-hosting sites will not choose to charge a fee in future for linking on Forums, Amazon, eBay and other sites? Maybe Photobucket will be just the first to do so.
The result will surely be that many images in Forum posts will be lost for ever. Particularly older ones.
But there is one good option out there…
HAM contacted Michael Wendt, the owner of the Airgun Nation Forum, for his comments.
Here’s Michaels’s reply “I had a feeling something like this may happen, which is why AGN decided to offer its own free “ad-less” image hosting. We launched that option a few months ago. Details and easy user guide can be found in the Forum Information section. Another great feature that sets us apart.”
What this means is that Airgun Nation is paying to have its own image hosting service and not rely on third-party providers like Photobucket. This costs time, money and effort from the Forum owner, of course, but it’s clearly the way other Forums will need to address the missing image issue also.
Well done Airgun Nation!
Of course, even the Airgun Nation image hosting capability cannot correct images that were linked to the Forum using Photobucket in the past, but at least it prevents the issue from taking place in future – so long as posters use the free AGN image hosting option.
For your information, Hard Air Magazine also pays to host its own images, so we are not affected by this missing image issue.