Removes a Few Billion Images Backlash Ensues

When you think of websites that were big during the dot-com heyday of the early 2000s, Photobucket is probably one that comes to mind.

The Denver-based company came on the scene around 2003 to offer essentially a photo-hosting service. Users could upload images to Photobucket and embed them on third-party sites like Amazon, eBay, blogs, and so forth.

And up until June of this year, that service was free and supported by advertising revenue.

The problem for Photobucket is that the service was being used to host billions of images online – a service they say isn’t sustainable without fees.

In fact, as reported in the¬†Denver Post, the cost to offer free hosting accounted for about 75 percent of the company’s costs. What’s more, all that usage of their service resulted in no revenue.

From a business standpoint, you might understand why Photobucket elected to change their terms of service and begin charging people to host their images on their servers.

But the way the company handled the change seems to be a much bigger issue than the price hike.

The service, which sports about 100 million users, quietly increased their prices from free to up to $400 per month for image hosting services.

And as if the huge price increase wasn’t enough, users were informed via email just 30 days before the new pricing policy took effect. Many users report receiving no such email in the first place.

What’s more, the details of the price hike were¬†buried in the fine print, approximately 500 words into the terms of service document.

The company posted a short note online to let its users know there was a change to the terms of service, but, again, how many users actually frequent the terms of service page of any service or product they use?