Apologies for necropost...
FYI, photobucket have sacked their CEO and realised they did wrong. I don't think it will save them, but...
By Greg Avery – Reporter, Denver Business Journal
May 17, 2018, 2:47pm MDT Updated 8 hours ago
Photobucket’s experiment with being a $399.99 premium service is over, and so to is the tenure of the CEO who led it. The Denver-based photo storing service on Thursday revealed it has slashed its prices and restored millions of photos around the internet hoping to mollify millions of customers it angered last year.
“It’s the first step of many to restore the trust of customers,” said Ted Leonard, Photobucket’s new CEO.
He became CFO at the 15-year-old company in October, after it surprised users worldwide by starting to charge $399.99 for hosting a large number of photos and being able to post them on third-party blogs, ecommerce sites and elsewhere.
John Corpus, Photobucket’s CEO at the time, defended the change, saying a subscription model was necessary given the disparity between the online ad revenue Photobucket’s website generated and the expense of hosting billions of images its 90 million customers stored with Photobucket.
But the pricing, especially the $399.99 a year service that enabled posting images on third-party sites, didn’t convert a meaningful number of Photobucket users into paying subscribers, Leonard said Thursday.
“There’s not a one-plan-fits-all approach to image hosting,” he said. “We can build a subscriber-based business without charging more money than the perceived value of the service.”
Leonard became CEO in March. The company has spent the weeks since them coming up with new pricing and strategies to make 90 million customers happy and generate revenue.
The new prices start at $1.99 per month for 10 gigabytes of images stored and rise to $3.99 monthly for 20 gigabytes and $8.99 for two terabytes of storage. All the plans enable third-party hosting for a $2.49 monthly add-on price.
Photobucket on Wednesday also turned back on millions of users’ images that were still linked to around the web.
The move allowed the images to reappear in place instead of the stock speedometer image that had replaced them last summer. Leonard ruefully joked that speedometer might have become the most viewed image in internet history, though one linked to users’ anger with the company.
“This was weighing on us,” he said. “We wanted to see the images replaced and the internet to be put back together in a sense.”
A pair of Level 3 Communications engineers, Alex Welch and Darren Crystal, formed Photobucket in 2005 to help people to store and use digital photos. Photobucket became the fastest-rising photo storage startup as it grew in parallel with the popularity of MySpace, the first widely-popular social network, where many users of Photobucket posted images.
Fox Interactive, a division of News Corp., bought both MySpace and Photobucket in 2006, envisioning something that presaged Facebook and Instagram. But Facebook soon dwarfed MySpace, and photo-filtering apps took on prominence as smartphones supplanted desktop computers.
News Corp. sold Photobucket in 2010, making an independent, Denver-based company again.
It employed 120 people in downtown’s ballpark neighborhood at its height. Welch, its co-founder, returned to Photobucket at one point after it purchased his photo-sharing app company, but he since left the business.
Today Photobucket has 10 full-time employees and is based at a downtown co-working space.