Friday, 21 July 2017

What Photobucket did to my blog

Photobucket and what it did to my blog

When I started this blog way back in 2011 I didn't know what I was doing. I wanted photos, so I uploaded photos directly through Blogger. I didn't think to resize images, I uploaded them directly from my digital camera. The pictures were enormous, and I quickly filled up my Blogger Picasa storage. I looked for an alternative, and discovered that many bloggers were using Photobucket. It seemed like the perfect option -  it was free, and it came reliably recommended.

After a couple of years my blog traffic increased, I reached the bandwidth limit on the free Photobucket account and my photos stopped displaying. After a bit of research I was happy to pay $29.99 for a yearly subscription package with Photobucket that came with an increased level of storage and unlimited bandwidth. And this carried on quite happily for a few more years until this summer.

Then at the end of June, Photobucket suddenly announced that it would no longer allow third party linking (aka hot linking) of images unless you upgraded to a higher level account - at a cost of $399 for the year. Well I say they announced it, they didn't notify me directly. I heard about it from a blogging friend and I've still had no official direct communication. The sudden change seemed to affect people in different ways, and those using a free account lost their images immediately. Fortunately I've been unaffected so far, but with my annual subscription due for renewal on the 12th August I knew that I had to act quickly.

Photobucket removal of third party linking on my blog

Paying $399 a year to host my images just isn't going to happen. I looked around and found that over the last few years Google have increased their free storage, and even the lowest subscription tier is a cheaper option than Photobucket. I made the decision to jump ship and transfer over all my images. Of course this is something much easier said than done - I had over 4000 images hosted on Photobucket linked to more than 1300 blog posts on Blogger. Even at the rate of five minutes per blog post that is an enormous amount of work.

Of course this all coincided with the beginning of the summer holidays, meaning that all this work now has to be fitted around entertaining the children during the day. I've spent hours and hours uploading and re-linking images whenever I get a chance, working late into the evenings, and I'm barely a quarter of the way through. I've cancelled my recurring Photobucket subscription so it's a race against time to update as many posts as I can before the 12th August - please bear with me if I don't manage it in time! Fortunately I have the majority of my photos backed up elsewhere under a reasonably logical filing system, others aren't so lucky.

At the beginning of the process it felt like an insurmountable challenge. I became quite disheartened, and you might have noticed the lack of new posts over the last couple of weeks - I've either been too busy updating photos or simply not had the motivation. But even though I have now only completed a quarter of my blog posts I feel like I've at least broken the back of it - I've updated most of my popular and seasonal posts, and those that are left are ones that can wait a while for new images.

On the plus side, it has given me a long overdue push to give my blog a good sort out. 1300 blog posts is a great deal, and there are many old posts that are now either outdated or just irrelevant. I've had a mass delete of old posts - over a hundred have gone and I have another hundred or so that I'm still thinking about. I've deleted reviews for products that are no longer available, previews for events that are long gone, and random posts that were just a couple of sentences. I'm even thinking about sorting out some of my 'in progress' craft posts and putting them all together into one post. I'm not absolutely sure that deleting posts is the best thing to do for a blog, but it makes me and my blog feel lighter for having done so!

I've also removed and updated masses of broken links. I run a regular broken link check, but because there are so many blog posts the free online checker doesn't find them all, especially from older posts. I've checked every single link in my blog posts so far and have found many that no longer work. I've also found a few where the original domain has expired and the link now directs readers elsewhere - something that a broken link checker won't pick up.

It's given me a push to think about the type of content that I'm publishing. I want my blog posts to be useful, interesting and informative, not just written for the sake of filling up my editorial calendar. So hopefully that's a change that I can make going forwards!

The big lesson for me here of course - don't put all your eggs in one basket, and don't assume that just because you are paying for a service it will continue indefinitely!

If you've been having problems with Photobucket and your blog then you might find this post helpful - What's going on with Photobucket? Info for Bloggers

Were you affected by the changes to Photobucket? How are you coping with it?

4 comments:

  1. Goodness that's a lot of work. Lesson for us all I suppose, don't expect everything on the internet to stay the same.

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    1. It's a huge amount of work. It's definitely made me think about what other free or low paid services I use and to make sure that all my important information is backed up in several different places!

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  2. I can't even begin to tell you what I think of Photobucket. To have price hiked so much without notice when we have already paid for a service is wrong. It is taking me forever, but like you I am getting rid of a lot of awful photos and rubbish posts. It's just not how I wanted to spend my summer. Some of my old pictures have gone but not all. It is rather odd. Hey ho, can't wait to close my account with them!

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    1. It is very wrong, just goes to show that just because you pay for a service it doesn't mean that they are obliged to continue with it. I've not even added up how many hours I've spent so far and I'm still nowhere near halfway through, it's definitely dominating any free time that I might have had this summer.

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