Photobucket Needs To Stop Trying To Charge For "Photo Embedding"
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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
I want to start off my communication with you using the above quote from Italian philosopher George Santayana, because of the powerful yet true context of the statement. Not taking the time to study history is one of the most intriguing, and at times, disappointing repeated failures that occurs in regard to the actions of individuals, companies, even governments. The path you at Photobucket have begun to travel down is no exception. You are about to become the next Angelfire, yet much more quickly than they themselves became Angelfire.
Over the last several years, you have overloaded your website with massive amounts of spammy advertising, popups, and other means of forcing advertisements on users. That being said, it was a drive to get more revenue from your website. That much can be forgiven, even as aggravating as it tended to be at times, users still came back again for your services.
Forcing users to pay 399 dollars to allow embedding of their photos, however, is an incredibly poorly thought out concept. To make matter worse, you have allowed no “grandfathering” (exemptions for previously existing third party hosting). Have you given that decision any thought? Do you realize that there are millions of pictures hosted that appear on tens of thousands of informative blogs, from users that years ago exited Photobucket and/or those blogs/forums/websites?
So without grandfathering, you are contributing to the destruction of a significant portion of the historical value of the internet, not just for a car forum, but for every imaginable type of forum or blog on the internet today. John Corpus made the comment “Free service is unsustainable in the age of online ad blockers”. This is simply not true. For one thing, there is simple coding that you can do to put a “whitelist request” on your page in order to ensure that anyone using photobucket is in fact not blocking your advertising. Photobucket hasn’t even attempted to do this.
You could also place small collapsible advertisements on every photo that is posted on third party websites. In fact that makes FAR more sense than what you are doing now. Grandfather that advertising onto the preexisting photographs, and you will solve a large number of the problems you are having, and you will create a manageable situation for all the forums, blogs, and websites because the photos will still be available for all of us to use, while you still gain valuable revenue, with zero interaction from the users who no longer exist.
Currently, based on online estimates, there are roughly just under 100,000,000 users on Photobucket. It is difficult to determine if this number is based on currently active users, or a total number of accounts. You will certainly have a more accurate count on both. That being said, I would be willing to bet that 399 dollars (the amount you want people to pay for image embedding) that two years from when you read this email, you will see an exodus of more than 90% of your active users.
Still not willing to accept the reality of everything written in this communique? Then at least read the children’s tale “The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs”, because your company is currently killing the golden goose in haphazard attempt to gain a great lump of gold. Unfortunately you will find that there is in fact, nothing inside. Almost no one will be willing to pay $399 for embedding. You know you make very good money from your advertising revenue, and you are about to see that dry up completely also. Photobucket needs to rethink this decision, and fast. There are viable alternatives to counter ad-blocking, use them. Your survival depends on it. The countdown to the demise of your company has already begun.
Thank you for your time.
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