Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

100 NOT out – Murdoch’s dirty Photobucket emails

Photobucket blackmail

Photobucket blackmail

Those affected will no doubt remember when Rupert Murdoch’s Photobucket free hosting magically transformed into a $400 fee-based photo-hosting service overnight.

This was done in the dirtiest way possible, with no warning to existing users.

We all just woke up one morning to find our pics had been wiped off the web without as much as a nod to what was being done – and an offer to put them back for the bargain price of around $400 per annum.

I had thousands of pics supporting various SeSco pages, and have still not worked a way to rewrite all the links to pick them up from their new home, so we still are largely devoid of images.

Account closed – images deleted

Needless to say, I collected all my images, and then deleted the files and directories at Photobucket.

Then followed this up by triggering their option which should also have deleted any content, closed the account, and removed my details.

Guess what?

Photobucket LIES!

Not long after I did this I started to received emails from Photobucket offering me deals, services, upgrades etc sent to the email I had used there.

So, account not deleted, contact details not deleted.

And unsolicited emails ever since instruction closure and deletion of the account.

I’ve now received 100 such emails.

Since I’ve closed and deleted the original account, guess what?

I can’t access it to tell them I’m not interested or turn off emails from Photobucket.

Thanks Photobucket.

Your service is GREAT.

Find a plug-in

Although I had already grabbed my images, I was told that various plug-ins could be used to the circumvent Photobucket’s brave new hosting charge.

While I didn’t have any content that made following up on this advice worthwhile, since it may provide a way of getting to images stolen by Photobucket, be my guest and give it a try.

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January 24, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Is Photobucket now just another dodgy online business, out to fleece the unwary?

Photobucket has already irrevocably blotted its copybook by closing down the free hosting it suckered people into since around 2002 – then disabled overnight in 2017.

Fair enough had it decided to end this service, informed users, and gave them time to make alternative arrangements.

Or offered continuation of the service for a reasonable fee.

But, no. Neither honourable option was followed.

Instead, it chose to end the service without any warning to users, and replaced all free hosting overnight, and replaced all images with an advert inviting people to take out a subscription which would allow sharing.

For a mere $399 per annum.

An absolute bargain – if you happen to wear glasses like the bottom of bottles.

It took them almost a week to even have the courtesy of sending me an email alerting me to this on a personal account I used to host some images.

It’s taken them over TWO WEEKS to send the same email to me regarding this scam, for an account I used to host a few images for someone else.

Photobucket blackmail

Photobucket blackmail

Photobucket ignores instructions to close accounts

I now consider Photobucket to be little better than scammers, cowboys, or just a plain con.

I deleted all images and directories I had created in Photobucket.

I then selected the ‘Delete this account’ option.

The account page changed to show a confirmation that the account would be deleted on a given date.

Guess what?

A Week after their closure date passed:

BOTH ACCOUNTS ARE STILL LIVE AND CAN BE LOGGED INTO AND OUT OF.

ONE STILL SHOWS THE SAME AMOUNT OF SPACE USED.

ONE SHOWS A SINGLE FILE REMAINS.

BOTH CARRY AN INVITATION TO RESTORE THE ACCOUNT.

Screen grab taken this afternoon:

Photobucket Account Still Live 11 July 2017

Photobucket Account Still Live 11 July 2017

Like any good cowboy business, Photobucket does not seem to have a general ‘Contact us’ option.

There may be one buried away somewhere in there – but it should be instantly obvious, not something that needs to be hunted down.

The best I saw was a FAQ, and ‘Help’, but this just provides a few standard answers, and, of course, a big section on how to restore hosting… BY REGISTERING FOR A $399 PER ANNUM UPGRADED ACCOUNT INSTEAD OF FREE.

July 11, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

The lunatics have taken over Photobucket

It’s hard to guess quite what Photobucket’s intention was when it launched its blackmail campaign less than a fortnight ago, and closed down all free ‘3RD PARTY HOSTING’ without ANY sort of warning or grace period for users to make alternative arrangements before all their hosted images were replaced with this:

Photobucket blackmail

Photobucket blackmail

I’ve been expecting this for years though, ever since I realised ‘Mr Paywall’ (Rupert Murdoch and News International) had his sticky fingers in the Photobucket pie, but after some hiccups after the last shake-up with the service, had grown complacent and forgotten about it.

He’s probably been having apoplectic meltdowns in the boardroom for years, and finally threatened to sack everybody if they didn’t ‘End this free nonsense’, and start charging.

BUT… at least I had stopped using the service years ago, although that was before I had a few thousand images lodged there for hosting in various places. I host my own images now, so at least the total didn’t grow, even if I didn’t remove what I had already placed there.

All my content has been deleted from Photobucket, and the account closed, although they don’t allow you to close down immediately, but hold the account open for a number of days (so you can change your mind!)

As if all this was not bad enough, this morning, they added insult to injury by emailing me – TWICE (make that THRICE!)

I’m so infuriated by this, being emailed TWICE to tell me A WEEK AFTER IT HAPPENS that a service I use has been disabled, and that it was down WITHOUT ANY PRIOR NOTIFICATION, I’m recording what amounts to an insulting email below.

It’s also worth noting that while it ‘invites’ to upgrade, it fails to mention the cost: some $39 per month, or $399 per year.

For something that had been FREE from 2002 (I think) until 2017, 15 years.

Photobucket Drivel

Photobucket Drivel

Just be clear, lest I be misrepresented – I have no problem with Photobucket offered a fee-based service. There’s a free market out there.

My problem is their shift to such a business model, and closing me down, without prior notification, while still having my pics on their servers.

Photobucket morons add insult

I had to alter the above count of ‘late’ emails from Photobuckets moronic management team to THREE having initially noted only TWO.

Even though I have deleted all my images which were on Photobucket, and all the related directory structure, before selecting the option to also delete my account there…

I have now received an email from them, as seem below, would you believe…

Inviting me to UPGRADE AN ACCOUNT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE DELETED ON 5 June 2017!

 

Photobucket Insult

Photobucket Insult

 

I’m glad I decided to delete all the content and structure BEFORE I requested the account be deleted, since they have clearly IGNORED THIS (so far).

Also, I can STILL log in to the account, but cannot re-issue the DELETION INSTRUCTION as that option now just shows a line stating (obviously wrongly) that the account will be deleted. Needless to say, I am typing this on 8 June 2017. So, they have failed – again.

OH! It also shows I have ONE IMAGE.

Don’t know where that came from, it’s not one of mine (and I can’t see it either, to find out what it is.)

Photobucket Non-Deletion

Photobucket Non-Deletion

UPDATE!

After trying to find a ‘Contact us’ option somewhere on the Photobucket web site, and giving up, I tried their ‘About us’ link.

Guess what?

Here’s a clue – the number 404!

I guess their moronic managers haven’t read any ‘good web site’ design manuals.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Quick, get out of Photobucket while you still can

It’s weird, but it seems every time I go offline, or can’t go online for a while, something significant happens and I don’t find out about until long after I should.

It’s only July 2, and after being out of touch with the web for most of June, I looked at my web site to find it filled with this blackmail message from Photobucket, instead of the thousands of image I have uploaded and had hosted there since 2005 or so, I can now only have them show if I pay these crooks $399 EVERY YEAR:

Photobucket blackmail

Photobucket blackmail

Now we know why Rupert Murdoch (Mr Paywall) bought into Photobucket.

But don’t take my word for it, read this from PCMag UK:

The key feature of a Photobucket account we’re talking about here is called “3rd Party Hosting.” It allows you to embed images from Photobucket in another location on the Internet, e.g. in a forum post or on a website.

As Norvic Philatelics discovered, Photobucket changed its terms and conditions and removed the 3rd Party Hosting feature from the lower subscription tiers. If you want to continue using that feature then a Photobucket Plus 500 subscription is required. It costs $39.99 per month or $399 per year.

Not only is that very expensive, it means existing Photobucket accounts on lower subscriptions tiers will have any embedded images they’ve created in the past cease to work. Considering Photobucket has been around since 2003 and hosts over 10 billion images, that’s potentially millions of embedded images across the Internet being broken thanks to a policy change. Here’s just one example of how this change impacts a forum thread.

The worst part of this debacle, according to Ghacks.net, is the fact Photobucket users were apparently given no warning of the change. The subscription features simply changed, and images stopped loading without explanation.

There’s hope this is a mistake, or that Photobucket’s management will realize the scale of the problem they have created with this change. But if that doesn’t happen, expect to see that Photobucket broken link image above many times in the coming months.

Photobucket Breaks Image Links Across the Internet

No faith or trust – Photobucket is now dead

Like many others (take a read around for responses), I was taken aback by this step-change.

While Photobucket has been happy to keep filling my InBox with crap adverts for the cheap tat it wants to be to buy, there was not ONE WORD OF WARNING OR ANY ALERT regarding this fairly significant change to its Terms & Conditions, opportunity to plan/prepare in advance, or even offer feedback for them to ignore.

Like many, I am now in the process of downloading whatever material I had there (to host myself), and then closing/deleting my account.

FOREVER!

Also, like many other responses I have read to this betrayal, I will not use Photobucket ever again, even they cancelled this change and restored this free aspect of their service.

While I’ve used some fairly questionable (free) hosting services in the past, and they HAVE disappeared, I at least was able to look at their offering and see this was likely.

Not so with Photobucket – at least not until the last sell-out/takeover, when it went rapidly downhill, lost quite a few functions, started selling aggressively, but did not make any changes that affected the free hosting, which carried on as before, so I left things alone.

I should have jumped ship then, when I noticed New International and creep Rupert Murdoch lurking.

A DECENT company does not remove your images THEN give you the option to pay to get them back.

Maybe they just thought it would be ‘kewl’ to change their business model to that of the current spate of Ransomware operations that have appeared recently.

July 2, 2017 Posted by | Lost, photography | | Leave a comment

Our Photobucket pics are back – for a while

Big S blog

While I am pleased to confirm that our pics as hosted on Photobucket (for free, as per our available budget run the Secret Scotland web site), it remains to be seen how long they stay for.

As noted in the update about the disappearance of most of our pics, since Photobucket no longer provide individual stats showing which pics are being served, and out own use of the account’s limited bandwidth has always been well within the allowed limit, this means there’s no way to identify which image(s) may be eating the bandwidth, and has clearly been stolen since we’re not using it.

Although a new hosting deal means I can now host and serve all our images from our own web space, this is not a lot of help as Photobucket already has thousands of our pics online, so moving them to our own host – and changing all the image urls – is a major job. And not one I can undertake in a hurry, if ever.

While all new imagery uploaded this year is on our servers, and should not disappear, I’m afraid any hiccups with Photobucket will just have to be endured.

While I gripe at Photobucket for removing the stats service, it’s not their fault that out bandwidth is exceeded and the account gets suspended. Assuming it is not actually down to a surge in our popularity, then it is down to some dirty little thieving scumbag who is using our images from out account, and not re-hosting them – which is allowed, given our general site licence.

Guess we’ll find out in 3-4 weeks, if the pics get cut off again.

July 12, 2013 Posted by | Site News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Flickr anguish matched by Photobucket apathy – and our pics are offline for now

While I don’t use Flickr myself, I do provide a pool for images of Scotland to be shared, so the recent pain that regular users suffered when Flickr’s masters decided it was going to change, and that they weren’t going to listen to the views of its members, did not escape me.

I happen to agree with the users who were up in arms at the changes enforced on them, and that the new Flickr is rubbish compared to that which went before. In fact, when discussing management now, I use Flickr as an example of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I’m sad to see a number of former users have actually left, justifiably aggrieved at being snubbed when they tried to contact Flickr

I mention this because I use Photobucket, and have thousands of images there, used to support the pages in Secret Scotland. I chose Photobucket as it is built to share images on web pages, unlike Flickr, which is/was a different product.

Photobucket has worked well over the years, and even when it was bought over and began to change, and changed, the changes made no real difference to the basic free hosting I use, so I didn’t bother too much. Notably, I don’t recall any mass hysteria, or even mild moaning, when these changes took place.

However… It seems there was one I missed.

While I’m not generally interested how many views a pic gets,old Photobucket did offer statistics which showed pic views, and I did use this to find stolen or hotlinked pics taken from my account. This is bandwidth theft, since it uses my limited bandwidth on a free account. Using the stats, I could break the thieves’ links.

But Photobucket quietly lost its statistics – so I can’t identify stolen hotlinked pics. Statistics are not even mentioned in Photobucket’s Help system.

So, since I can no longer identify which pics have been stolen, I can’t deal with this, which is all you see until the next accounting period starts:

Photobucket suspended

Photobucket suspended

I’d hate think this is not genuine, and was not some sort of ploy to make free account holders upgrade to a paid Plus account, but with not stats to refer to, I have no way of telling.

I know my own web site’s stats in terms of numbers of visitors and page views, so  I know these have not increased to the extent that the pic views would have hit the Photobucket bandwidth limit. I’ve uploaded few new pics to Photobucket over the past year or so. That means I haven’t increased my demands and bandwidth significantly in the past year or two. So, it must be theft by hotlinking… or something else.

In fact, thank to changes at my own host regarding web space and bandwidth, I have not been uploading new site images to Photobucket at all, and am hosting them in my own space.

This means I have been able to make the images impossible to hotlink, and also difficult to download, steal, or do other things.

I hadn’t planned to move away from Photobucket, it work(ed) fine, but the lack of stats and inability to deal with bandwidth suspension means this will have to be added to my growing “ToDo” list.

Pics should return on or after the 12th of the month.

July 8, 2013 Posted by | Site News | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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