There are more than 15 billion images on Photobucket, a site that's been around since 2003 and now has more than 100 million registered users.
They might be losing a few of those customers thanks to a recent decision that has people absolutely ticked off, annoyed they can't use or share their images the same way without forking over more money. Which is why Photobucket is getting tweets like this:
So what happened?
Photobucket made it so you have to pay $399.99 a year in order to use third-party hosting (also called hotlinking). That's when you upload an image to Photobucket, then use it directly on another site – this was pretty common for eBay or Etsy sellers, or on blogs and forums.
Instead of seeing the actual photos, people who go to sites that use Photobucket but don't have the most premium account see this image:
How did Photobucket tell users about this? They kind of didn't. Instead they quietly announced it with this blog post:
No mention of new pricing, whatsoever. You have to click into the terms of service, then scroll down and find the descriptions of the "plus account" plans, to learn about this $400 fee. Not to mention I got hit with a few screen-covering ads when trying to access the terms, much like this guy.
One of the first groups to notice the change was StampBoards, with users on the forum pointing out sure, there are free alternatives – but if you've already got hundreds of images on Photobucket and relied on it to share them, you're out of luck. Unless you fork over $399.99.
So they either pay up, or spend a bunch of time re-uploading and re-linking all their photos so they show up.
That's why some people are accusing the site of essentially holding people's photos for ransom.
Photobucket at this point hasn't said much of anything, outside of this tweet:
Which hasn't really satiated angry users.