Update 11/23/09 – See Koinup below
I have not been blogging all that long. But I have learned images are important for a blogger. I suspect Torley mentioned my Emerald Viewer Review because of the images. What I am learning now is the number if images I need to publish. Also, I’m not making any money from this blog… I’m looking at how I might change that but that is another story. So, I need a free sharing plan.
I use Flickr, Photobucket and KOINUP. Each has some nice features. For my blogging use I find that I need albums, a way to group related images. For my gaming life I need Groups, which are a way to allow friends to share related images for social networking. I need an easy way to link to images for use in blogs.
With Flickr I ran into the 200 image limit, for free accounts, rather quickly. And as with many there is the problem of how one links to the image. They require that one link back to the image hosting site (click a Flickr hosted image and it has to take the user to Flickr).
Once one exceeds the limits for the free services, things get difficult. One can always buy the ‘Pro’ service. They usually cost $25 per year. Not bad, but… free is better.
Which is the best site for free and paid if one goes that direction? Well there is a 2009 Top 10 Photo Sharing Services Review. It puts Photobucket #1 and Flickr #2 at the top. However, the review does not point out some of the gotcha’s in the services.
Flicker shows as unlimited image storage for free accounts. That is technically accurate. But one can only work with 200 images. In this case ‘work with’ means edit, download, change groups… those sorts of things. I’m not even sure you can see them in your albums. I stopped short of 200 images. Plus you are presented with an upgrade offer every time you come on the site. The free account also limits you to 100mb upload per month. But, you are unlimited in the total number of and storage needed for images over time.
Flickr allows one to handle adult images and restrict who views such images. A large part of the SL community appears to use Flickr for their restricted images.
Photobucket does it a bit differently. The free account is limited to 10,000 images. The Pro paid account is limited to 10gb of storage. That is a lot of storage space but what happens if you need more storage? My guess is it will cost more.
10/26 – In comments Peter brought up a serious problem, high use images being blocked. I can’t confirm that. I was looking through the ToS and not finding anything to confirm it. The closest I came is this; “8.25 interfering with, disrupting, or creating an undue burden on the Photobucket Services or the networks or services connected to the Photobucket Services;” So, a large rush of concurrent users could possibly trigger a block.
90 Day Login Limit – There is a problem of images being blocked if you do not log into Photobucket for 90 days. All images linked to from outside will be deactivated. If you do not login for 365 days the entire account will be dropped and all links will die. Pro accounts (paid) will remain active until the subscription runs out. So the 90 & 360 login requirement does not apply to paid accounts.
Adult & Nudity Restriction – The ToS restricts posting nude or sexually oriented material, which seems odd in an art type place.
KOIN UP – This one is not in the 2009 review. The reviews a could find were from 2007 and KOIN UP has grown since then. The limit on a free account (as best I can tell the only kind) is 1.5gb of storage. Koin Up is not so much a photo sharing service as it is a social networking site for those playing in virtual worlds. The social tools seem better than Photobucket’s and Flickr’s. Expect these tools at all the services to grow and all of them to improve. For Second Life types there is a way to upload images directly from SL.
Since the limit is 1.5gb optimizing your images and uploading them as JPG’s gives one a good number of images. It is not hard to size and compress a JPG to something smaller than 50kb, which gives one something over 30,000 images.
According to the ToS one cannot link to KOIN UP images from commercial sites. It seems many commercial sites do use links to KOIN UP images.
Update 11/23/09 – Koinup HUD for Second Life
Talia Tokugawa has made a KOINUP Second Life HUD (link updated 11/2011) for use with Second Life. You can get a copy for free on XStreetSL (since most freebies on XStreelSL will be going away, get your’s now). This HUD will tell you if you are in a discovered or undiscovered SIM.
The HUD is boxed, so rez it and unpack. Wear the HUD, it attaches to the bottom left and appears in the bottom center of the screen. To move it, you can attach it to other places on the screen before wearing it, just right-click it in inventory and select your attachment point or once on screen right-click it and select Edit then use the red and green arrows to move it. The mouse wheel will zoom you in and out.
When the HUD turns green you can click it to visit a KOINUP slide show of the photos of the region. In undiscovered areas it turns red.
Opinion – After using all three, I think Photobucket is easier to learn, all have their challenges. I think KOIN UP is more fun. I also think Photobucket is better for those that need a free ‘general’ account. Photobucket provides excellent linking tools for bloggers. Both have social networking tools. I think Flickr wins this point. So, I have to go with Photobucket for free and Flickr if you plan to go paid at some point. Koin Up however is a top choice for a free account for those playing in virtual worlds.
There is no reason not to use all three. Other than the learning curve. I like all three.
10/26 Update – Picasa
Peter brought up the idea of using Picasa, which is not in the review I linked to. Picasa is not just a photo sharing service. It includes an image editor, which it appears must be used to upload images. The added features and restrictions make it difficult to compare to the other services.
However, there are similarities. The free account provides 1gb of storage. There are albums and groups. However, for Second Life types that use PNG files its a problem as it oddly does not handle them. Plus for those of us that work with lots of images in RL (I have something like 30 gb of images) the indexing Picasa does is mind numbing.