A suggestion for image hosts

If I made a list of all the things that annoy me every day, somewhere in the top would be the way image hosts handle hotlinking. When image gets popular on social bookmarking websites like Digg or Reddit, it shortly gets pulled down. Everyone who wants to view the image, will only get to see something like this:

image hosts

Ok, I know this is being done mainly to:
1. Make members use ad supported URL's instead of hotlinking
2. Make members upgrade their accounts
3. Brand the name of image hosting service.

It just doesn't work that way with social bookmarking websites. Instead, you get a bunch of people (actually thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands) taking note never to use your service in the future.

I'd like to suggest a couple of ideas how to avoid this.

1. Inspect traffic, redirect
If visitors are coming directly from social bookmarking websites, there's really no need to pull down the image - visitors will see the URL, and that should help you brand your image hosting service.
If you really can't afford this, at least redirect this traffic to your ad supported page. That way visitors will be able to see the image and you'll earn some bucks. Win-win.

2. Include original pic in "bandwidth limit exceeded" image
When you really need to send the "bandwidth limit exceeded" message, there's no need to remove the original pic. Let visitors see the image and let your user know he needs to upgrade his account in the same time. Just like this for example:

exceeded - a suggestion for image hosts

Of course, this image should be the same size of the original pic. Original pic should be scaled to fit in.

Now everybody visiting the site will still be able to see the image, but your user will be encouraged to upgrade his account. Another win-win.

  • Paul
  • May 1, 2008, 7:53 am
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  • 1

    The second action isn't going to prevent people from going way over their bandwidth. Serving up the original image will still take up more bandwidth than serving up the tiny little bandwidth warning. On top of that, you're now spending CPU time jamming the original image into the warning image.

  • 1

    Well CPU time will only be needed once for that - you just convert it and continue serving a static image.
    About bandwidth - that's true. However, happy visitors should have a positive effect on website's popularity. I'd say it's worth it to spare some bandwidth for that.
    I'ts not about trying to prevent people from going away over bandwidth. It's more about doing the right thing when thousands of people want to see the image.

    • Paul
    • May 1, 2008, 11:56 am
  • 1

    glowfoto.com is the only image host I know of that never puts up those stupid bandwidth exceeded things.

  • 1

    I suggest you use www.imagerocket.net, they don't have any bandwidth limits so say bye-bye to those annoying messages ! Also their servers are really fast and they don't flood you with tons and tons of ads.
    Been using them for a while now !

    • kanuk
    • May 1, 2008, 12:24 pm
  • 1

    I've been using www.upmyphoto.com for a while. I've never gotten any of those annoying messages and the service has been great so far. Best of all - totally free.

  • 1

    I'm using www.pixpeek.com and not had any of those messages

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