I guess some people would classify me as a leech.
I happily use all the 'free' services available on the internet for my own pleasure and entertainment, picking and choosing without guilt those that work best for me. And most of the time this approach has been completely fine.
The above image is the 1001st I have uploaded to photobucket.
When I first started using the service sometime in 2005 or '6 they offered a 'free' starter account with various levels of paid account that had increased functionality. Prior to that my images had been on fotosomethingorother.com who compressed the life out as part of the upload process (unless you had a paid account) and would not allow direct linking (unless you had a paid account). About 3 years ago they finally went bust after other freetards moved en masse to image hosts like photobucket, Flikr, Picasa etc. That's business and all that, sad, but how it is in the fast-movng world of t'intarweb.
Since clocking over the 1000 images level - probably the equivalent of half a gigabyte of images - Photobucket has been misbehaving and only accepting a single image at a time. Now it might be purely coincidental, especially as someone independently mentioned that it was misbehaving for them too, but I wondered if I'd passed the 'enough is enough' barrier and it was time to start paying for use, but further investigation seems to show that there is no longer a subscription model available for photobucket, and they've become a completely 'free' host, supported by advertising. And all those millions of Fox news subscribers (Fox own Photobucket) of course.
OK, so what alternatives are there?
Well, I'd consider not leeching free services any more, but for Smugmug the lowest rate is still $40 a year, and that's a bit more than I want to spend as a purely casual image poster. 500px already has me as a member, but there were restrictions (forget what they were now) on the account and I find the linking system there a complete faff.
So I dunno now.
Suggestions for an alternative host are welcome, though I reserve the right not to act on them for purely arbitrary reasons or just plain laziness. A key part is that I retain control of the images (so Facebook, Picasa, Flikr are out) and that the service is fast, easy, convenient and not too expensive (say $20 PA tops, prefer free).
And this also begs the question; what about blogs?
Google appears to have the free blogging market sewn up with blogger, though there are other players too. Right now I'm happy with TBOTAM and hope this appearance (and address) will continue functioning for another 9 years if required, though I'd prefer if the template would re-size to match the browser window, like the old one did, instead of being fixed width.