I have been asked quite a lot recently about hosting photos on the web. My typical response is that I am happy with my Flickr hosting and the other sites that I have looked at don’t seem to do any better that Flickr. Photobucket seems to come up frequently and I have to admit that until about half and hour ago I hadn’t tried it out.
So there were a couple of warning signs right out of the gate: They require a lot of personal information up front (with no privacy notice in sight), but the real warning flag was when they try to sell you something or generously offer to provide you personal information to some third party that you aren’t interested in in the least. Thankfully, I am well aware of flea-bag practices like this and never sign up with actual personal information when trying out new sites (I do provide proper information if the site pans out).
The interface to the is the site is fairly juvenile and not very well thought out. My first attempt at uploading a photo was rewarded with the following error:
Fatal error: Call to a member function on a non-object in /apache/htdocs/main/uploadPanel.php on line 592
Impressive. The photo in question seemed to have been uploaded anyway. I tried two more photos and they uploaded without further issue. The facilities for tagging and otherwise organizing uploaded photos were either absent or well hidden.
It wasn’t until I popped over to the ‘recent image’ page that the light bulb went on: most if not all of the ‘recent uploads’ where of women either in: tight t-shirts, in various states of inebriation, displaying multiple piercings and/or goth-ed up. The others were of male idiots sporting the Ferris-Bueler-shower-scene-soap-mohawk with a few tattoos, trying their adolescent best to look hard. A few searches quickly confirmed my suspicion that this was somehow related to the whole myspace swamp hole. The whole point of photobucket is not about showing your photos on the web, but fueling the idiocy that is myspace. And apparently photobucket is desperate enough to foster things like this.
So in summary, by experience with photobucket is avoid it at all cost.
- obnoxious banner ads
- no tools to assist uploading (unless running Windows XP)
- poor or absent organization tools
- poor overall site design
- questionable privacy and information sharing
- association with myspace slime pit
- Nothing really, except for the fact they have a ‘delete my entire account button’, which actually doesn’t delete your account, but marks it to be deleted (presumably so someone can go archive for their own private use any salacious photos, etc that you might be wanted to dispose of).