Amazon and eBay images broken by Photobucket's 'ransom demand'

Thousands of images promoting goods sold on Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and other shopping sites in addition to many forums and blogs have been removed after the photo-sharing service quietly changed its terms.

Since 2003, the popular photo hosting service Photobucket has been letting users upload and host images for free on their servers.
They have over 10 billion images stored by 100 million registered users. But now they’re going to start charging, and that means billions of images around the Web are now broken.

Denver-based Photobucket is now seeking a $399 annual fee from those who wish to continue using it for "third-party hosting" and is facing a social media backlash as a consequence.

Photobucket allowed hotlinking photos uploaded to and stored on its servers for a long time.
Hotlinking (AKA inline IMG linking) is when someone takes an image file hosted on a server and embeds it on a different webpage elsewhere.
Since the new webpage continuously requests the file from the original source server, it saps the server owner’s bandwidth (and storage space).
This was their business model, and they made money from ads on their own site, which users would be exposed to when they went to upload content.

Photobucket is now requiring its users to pay a $399 per year subscription fee for those who want to hotlink images from Photobucket’s servers to display elsewhere.

* That means that billions of images across the Web now display an error message instead of the image.*