Photobucket - analysis across entire site - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 22 Old 08-18-2017, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Photobucket - analysis across entire site

Hello Administrator
Is this still Natalie?

Could you please take a look at the question I posted in this posting
https://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/1266778-post2.html

I'm looking for any ways to quantify the Photbucket problem and maybe do something about finding solutions for the problem.
If your account is NOT limited to 500 hits per search, then the basic forum search tools may be good enough to assess the scale of the problem.

If you are not sure what the problem is... see my first message in that thread (no point repeating it here)

Thanks
Stuart

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post #2 of 22 Old 08-19-2017, 09:50 AM
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Sorry Stuart, but it cant be done..
Lets say the first part works, and a site admin could find all the dead links..that part itself isnt too likely to happen! but lets just say it can be done, and they can post a huge list of usernames, posts, and bad links..thats only 2% of the job..after that:

Every individual member would need to go through the list, try to determine the photo from filename alone, (because the photo itself cant actually be seen in this forum anymore) then collect each photo individually on their PC and copy it into a new directory - not going to happen.

Every individual member would need to re-upload all their photos to a new host - not going to happen.

Every individual member would then need to cross reference every individual old photo links with every individual new link - not going happen.

Every individual member would then need manually delete, copy, then paste in every single new photo link, one at a time, manually. - not going to happen.

It's a lost cause..
yes, its possible for one or two members to restore a few individual photos..that can be done, technically..
but nothing can be done on a large scale across the whole forum..there is just no way.

Good idea! in theory..but there is just no way it can work..

Scot


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post #3 of 22 Old 08-19-2017, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sscotsman View Post
Sorry Stuart, but it cant be done.. ... Scot
Never say never
I'm always an optimist ... well... sometimes. :-)

I used to be a software architect so I tend to see solutions quite easily.
You described the MANUAL way of doing it..... I'm thinking of the AUTOMATED way of doing it.

Google can easily (perhaps trivially) come up with a large-scale solution for solving at least half of the problem and I hope they are working on it.
It would basically be an option called "Import from Photobucket" over in the google-photos software

It would work like this...
PART 1 The user supplies their photobucket name/password and their google name/password
I'm not sure of the precise structure of a photobucket account but it must be something close to the following...
photobucket.com/photos/user-name/album-name/photoname.jpg

Google could then auto-create albums on their site with a parallel structure named something similar, maybe...
google.com/photos/user-name/album-name/

The "Import " software could recursively find all the user's photos on photobucket and bulk fetch all the images from photobucket and re-upload them to google.
It really isn't that big of a technical challenge and would solve things for literally billions of pictures world-wide for millions of users.

This tool would then appear in the google UIs simply as "Import from Photobucket".
Google could easily get this "PART 1" working.
They would be missing an easy opportunity if they don't do it.


PART 2 The final step (and here is where the open-software developers at the forum hosting site comes in)
The URLs in the original postings would simply need to be switched from the old URL to the new google URL
That also is a piece of cake to automate for a single user (with the right permissions)

That option would show up on some forum tools menus somewhere as
"Switch my image URLs from photobucket to google"
They are both very doable.

The incentive for the first part comes from Google wanting to take over the world
The incentive for the second part comes from the open-software guys wanting to keep their forum software relevant and to keep the integrity of all the thousands of forums across the globe.

It is very common for software to have "Import From" options... that's how they pull customers from competitor platforms over to their own platforms.
That's why I would be very surprised if Google does not work on PART 1 very soon. I'm surprised they haven't already done it (with or without the Photobucket change in pricing)
If you can make it trivially easy to import data from a competitor product into your own product.. that helps you take over the world. (Pinky & the Brain) ;-)

The second part relies more on the passion in the open-software community.
However, it is that passion that created the whole open-software-foundation concept in the first place.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BTW: I am still interested in the scale of the problem on this forum.
When YOU do a search, is it restricted to 500 hits too? Maybe admins and moderators have different account settings.
Can you do a quick forum-wide search for "photobucket.com" and see how many hits you get please?
My search maxes-out at 500
BTW.. that number is probably just a configuration parameter on the forum admin's page and could be bumped if needed.

Last edited by unknown1; 08-19-2017 at 11:06 AM.
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post #4 of 22 Old 08-19-2017, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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The Photobucket homepage says they are hosting over 15 billion images.... that's their main problem if a considerable percentage are "freeloaders"

The only problem I see is if the Photobucket terms and conditions explicitly forbids this type of automated "bot".
But even then, if there is mass protest from millions of Photobucket users.. that problem can be fixed too!
After all.. Photobucket has SUBSTANTIALLY changed its modus operandum.
They might be quite "happy" to get rid of the "freeloaders" once and for all as they change their business model.
They are not a charity and connect succeed if they try to act like one.

Last edited by unknown1; 08-28-2017 at 10:13 PM.
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post #5 of 22 Old 08-19-2017, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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One last question..

Do you know the contact URL for the forum-hosting-service?
I don't mean folks specific to the snowblower forum, I mean folks who develop the actual forum hosting software.
I want to make the "PART 2"suggestion directly to them.

If they buy the idea, they can easily write the option to "Switch my URLs from photobucket to google-photos"
That could potentially fix-up the issue automatically for ALL the forums using their code... not just Snowblower forum.

I am not necessarily expecting it to happen but... if it's open-source... maybe I can dust off the cobwebs and write it myself.
I would need Google to do their part first so that I can accurately predict the target URL on google implied by a photobucket URL
Quite doable I think.

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post #6 of 22 Old 08-21-2017, 12:07 PM
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Hey there

I do love the thought you've put in to this! Unfortunately, it's not likely to be as simple as you've outlined. While I'm sure Google could manage a large influx in members and content, their own sharing options are quite limited and convoluted. An offering like this would mean a re-write of their own Terms, which is not likely to happen. Additionally, they themselves could just turn around years down the road and shut this down as well, landing us in the same situation. This is true for any outside hosting platform.

Which brings us back to sscotsman's breakdown with each individual member correcting each of their own photos. I see the permissions on site are fairly restrictive for member attachments here. We'll work with the mods to open up those permissions so members can attach their photos directly to their posts, and avoid this issue down the road.

We've also been told out tech team is looking at ways to correct the photobucket issue for our sites, but we have no news on that yet.

Dayle

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post #7 of 22 Old 08-21-2017, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
Hey there.....
We've also been told out tech team is looking at ways to correct the photobucket issue for our sites, but we have no news on that yet......
Dayle
Good for them! Never say Never!
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post #8 of 22 Old 08-21-2017, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
Hey there
I do love the thought you've put in to this!....
Dayle
Here's another solution... if you guys are willing to take a little extra disk-space hit....

1) Scan for photobucket hot links across the forum
2) fetch the image and host a copy on your forum disk farms instead
3) switch the URL to now point to your local copy
4) Bob's your uncle!

I am not familiar enough with Photobucket terms and conditions to know if that's allowed
Maybe step2 would fail because your attempt to get the image would look like a hot-link at their end.
If you can find a way around that...It certainly sounds doable in an automated script
Fetching a copy should be legal because the original photographer presumably classified it as "public" when they uploaded it.. they MUST have done for hot-links to have ever worked at all

Maybe pass that thought on to your techies.
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post #9 of 22 Old 08-21-2017, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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By the way... the solution I just suggested is so SIMPLE it could easily have been implemented
by everybody on the planet if Photobucket had given (say) 30 days notice.

They apparently did NOT give advanced warning (I've tried to fact-check and it seems true)

I would strongly urge those Photobucket customers to petition for a 30day honeymoon period to
re-allow hotlinking temporarily to allow forums to respond and therefore maintain their data integrity.

After that honeymoon period is over, Photobucket can then feel free to pursue any pricing strategy that makes business sense.

Commercial users on eBay etc may or may not decide that paying $400 per year (or whatever) is worth it to them.
In the meantime, it is the casual, low bandwidth users (such as forums) that are left unable to respond.
I wonder how many schools and colleges and universities have also been paralyzed by this?

By the way, if they DO offer a honeymoon period, the administrators and techies need to be
prepared to respond in a timely fashion. Give me a coherent list of all the photobucket URLs in a
text file and I'll do it from home on my own computer. I will then be able to provide you with the images and their
Photobucket URLs so that you can respond at your leisure.

I have been unable to deduce the list of all Photobucket URLs because your search utility maxes out at 500 hits (for me but NOT for you).
We can't be talking more than a few tens of thousands of images for this entire forum.
If the homepage of this forum is to be trusted, it says...
Threads: 13,644, Posts: 162,597, Members: 15,374
Just how many unique Photobucket image URLs can there possibly be in 162,597 posts?
5,000? 10,000? not much more I suspect.

The script is trivial
cat URLlist | while read URL
do
wget "$URL"
done

(or something very close to that)

Last edited by unknown1; 08-28-2017 at 10:10 PM.
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post #10 of 22 Old 08-21-2017, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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I have sent an email to a contact at the local newspaper who has a direct line to the Photobucket CEO
She interviewed him in early July.
That message will be forwarded directly to his personal inbox.

In summary, I asked that he considers allowing a one month delay on deactivating the 3rd party hosting to allow forums to react (as I described below)
I pointed out the enormous potential for positive PR if he is seen to be trying to help hobbyists, schools, universities and forums to react as I described in the previous message.
I also explained how it gets the freeloaders out of his hair.

Will he do it? Who knows.. but I've managed to get the request through to him.
If he does it... great.. give him credit for doing it.
If not... I did my best.

Last edited by unknown1; 08-28-2017 at 10:09 PM.
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