*Update: PhotoBucket has since removed the blocking; an overlay stating “Proudly hosted on PhotoBucket” now appears on some photos.
If you’ve perused some of Suncoast Diecasters‘ older posts recently, you may have noticed something a bit … odd … about them.
In fact, you may even have noticed the smaller oddity to the left, where our SunRacer logo usually resides.* Our photographs have been replaced by a plea from PhotoBucket to update our account to enable 3rd-party hosting.
*(Fixed 19 Jly 17)
That term, “3rd-party hosting”, refers to the practice of storing files on one site, then linking to them from, and using them on, another site. Suncoast Diecasters (the 1st party) stores our photos on PhotoBucket (the 2nd party), and we link to them through WordPress (the 3rd party), which hosts our suncoastdiecasters domain name.
PhotoBucket no longer allows 3rd-party hosting without a paid subscription. This, I presume, has to do with the cost of bandwidth. Now, from a business standpoint, I understand this. The “everything on the Internet should be free” business model is a phantom. Nothing is really free; that’s why there are ads on every site. This goes back to broadcast radio. The consumer pays a one-time cost for the radio, then a very small utility fee for electricity (or buys batteries); the programming from the local radio station is free.
Except, it’s not. There is a plethora of costs, and the overwhelming majority of these costs are covered by advertising. It’s the “and now a word from our sponsor” business model. But with the Internet, this is inverted. It’s like a Burger King taking on all the costs of making a large number of burgers all day, only to have someone from a McDonald’s across the street come in, take all those burgers and give them away. (Okay, maybe that’s not a great analogy, but I think you get the point.) When someone views an image on our WordPress site, what’s actually seen is a copy of an image transmitted from PhotoBucket’s servers. Multiply that by a huge number of free accounts times a really huge number of image files, and that’s a whole lot of bandwidth cost for Photobucket. Again, I understand that.
The one problem I have with this change by PhotoBucket is that they’re limiting the 3rd-party hosting option to only their most expensive subscription plan. If they were offering differing levels of bandwidth with the various plans, that would make sense. But to not only restrict that option to just their highest-cost plan, but to also price that plan at a rate which frankly I think is not the least bit competitive with other hosting options available online is, in my humble opinion, an incredibly foolish move.
Another change has occurred relatively recently which initially I found very annoying, but which I now see as a solution. When I added an image to any update or page, I would use that image’s PhotoBucket URL. However, WordPress had begun copying each image into the media library associated with our account, then loading the image from that library rather than directly from PhotoBucket. I found this wasteful, as we now had two copies of each image, taking up space in separate locations. However, as I can upload images directly from my computer to our WordPress library, and insert them from that library (as I have with the most recent updates), I basically no longer need to upload them to PhotoBucket.
So, obviously all future updates will use our WordPress library. The, er, “fun part” will be replacing all the other photos. That is going to take some time; by PhotoBucket’s count, Suncoast Diecasters now has over 1700 image files stored. (And yes, I do have back-ups of all those image files.) To accomplish this, I will have to cut back on the number of photos I post to updates. I’ll still take a good number of photos during our meetings, but I’ll have to be much more selective in which ones I actually use, so that I can then spend some time updating the older posts. Be patient, my friends; this will be a long ride, but your appreciation of our site makes it worthwhile.