Alex Welch and Darren Crystal founded Photobucket in 2003. In 2007, Fox Interactive Media acquired Photobucket for an undisclosed amount. The site claims to be the number one photo-sharing Web site on the Internet, with more than 39 million unique visitors every month. How does the service make money from all that traffic?
Pro accounts are one source of revenue. Members can choose to pay for a Pro account on an annual, tri-monthly or monthly schedule. But Pro accounts aren't the only way Photobucket earns money.
Advertising plays a large role in Photobucket's revenue strategy. Photobucket hosts online advertising from various vendors. And it's not just on the main page -- members with free accounts will see advertising on their respective profile pages, too. Photobucket omits advertising on Pro account pages.
Photobucket's advertising options are diverse:
- Advertisers can buy traditional ad space on Photobucket. This includes common Internet ad formats such as banner ads.
- Photobucket partners with major advertisers by altering the appearance of the Photobucket homepage. For the right price, an advertiser can alter the colors on the homepage, incorporate custom animation, and even tweak the navigation bar and include branded videos.
- With custom slideshows, advertisers can embed their branding directly into the user experience on the Web site. When users view a slideshow, they'll see the advertiser's message within the borders of the slideshow view itself.
- In a similar vein, advertisers can insert their ads into the image editor or the Photobucket Remix tool, which is an online video editor. Ads appear along the inner border of the editor window.
- Photobucket also allows advertisers to host contests on Photobucket's site. Whether it's a photography contest or a video editing competition, advertisers can create interactive events that market their respective brands using Photobucket as a platform.
While Photobucket has become more popular over the years, not all of the attention has been positive. In June 2008, a group of Turkish hackers defaced the Photobucket homepage by redirecting incoming traffic to an alternate site. The site displayed a message in Turkish to would-be Photobucket visitors. The message admonished the world for forgetting the hacker group. Fortunately, the hackers didn't gain access to any personal information from Photobucket's members [source: ZDNet].
To learn more about Photobucket and other related topics, take a look at the links on the next page.