A digital image pioneer born in 2003, Photobucket could be considered old school. But the company remains true to the innovative roots that made Photobucket the top image-hosting site, when we recognized that the Internet wasn’t just a place to store and share photos. By offering image hosting, Photobucket enabled enterprising users to link to their imagery from wherever they wanted, liberating them to engage with their fellow hobbyists on forums, help run their businesses or share photos with their family and friends.
Of course, a lot has changed over the past 16 years, including the idea that online services could remain free forever. That may have made sense when digital offerings were largely considered supplementary and could be covered by advertising revenue. Now that people are more likely to snap photos with their mobile devices and share them online — often while using software to avoid having to see ads — digital companies like Photobucket have had to adopt a subscription-based model to stay innovative. That way, as our customers’ digital lives have been transformed, we have been able to evolve with them. Since I took over as CEO a little more than a year ago and brought a new leadership crew on board, we have added faster and better functionality, stronger security and privacy, and a choice of plans to meet different customers needs. We’ve also provided our members with an industry-first Bill of Rights.
But some things don’t change. The need for a simple, affordable hub to store, share, and host images has only increased as our customers’ online activities grow ever-more complicated and increasingly far-flung across social media platforms, e-commerce sites and forums. And we haven’t lost focus of what’s been behind our long-running success: simplicity, security and value.
The main thing is, we get the inherent value of images and are grateful for the trust our customers place in us to keep their memories safe and secure. But what has struck me most, when listening to why people use Photobucket, is how Images represent different things to different people.
“Photobucket supports my passions,” says an active member of forums for Polaris RZRs and other side-by-side vehicles. While retired, he remains active on four forums and hosts images of his experiences. Like other hobbyists and e-tailers, he wants an easy, reliable tool for hosting photos to share his knowledge and enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, for an independent insurance agent, Photobucket still plays an important role in marketing his company. Like other small businesses, his agency needs a safe, centralized place to store and manage the company’s visual images. The marketing and sales team, which mostly works remotely, have found Photobucket critical to their work.
Another typical customer mostly uses Photobucket to store and share photos with her friends and family. She’s not on social media, so she appreciates the alternative solution to sharing and the security of knowing her memories are safely stored.
Images represent our most precious memories, and we all need a safe, easy place to keep them. That’s why I have pledged to return Photobucket to our innovative roots in a way that puts customers first. I started by reversing the (deservedly) unpopular decision of my predecessors to restrict free photo hosting. And while we have shifted to a paid service that offers great value, we will continue to offer a free service for those who need it.
My other main priority was to ask our customers why they use Photobucket — what they like, what they don’t like, and how we could make it better. What we discovered was that while anyone would prefer not to pay for services, most of our customers seem to understand that we need to make money to be able to invest in a reliable and innovative service that can grow with their needs.
The other message we heard loud and clear was that our customers love Photobucket because it’s easy to use. And that will continue to be the main driver for our product innovations: providing a better experience without compromising simplicity. So whatever images represent for you — your livelihood, your passion or your priceless memories — we will always offer a simple way to store, host and share them.
We’re always looking for ways to improve your experience. So if you have an idea, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.