Photobucket is a personal media hosting service founded in 2003 by Alex Welch and Darren Crystal. The service took a total of $15 million in investment before being acquired by MySpace for $250 million in May of 2007. Their main revenue streams are through premium accounts and advertising.
With Photobucket, members can choose from free or paid plans to store and share their images and videos. Free accounts provide 1 GB of free storage (~10,000 images), 10 GB of bandwidth, and limited image sizes and content length. For $25 a year, members can upgrade to a Pro account, which provides 5 GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, larger images, higher quality images, longer video and slideshows, and a 10% discount on prints.
Photobucket experienced tremendous growth throughout 2006, claiming 2% of US traffic by April of that year. The company spent 2006 enhancing their product with the addition of some new slideshow and video editing tools in February of 2007. Because Photobucket had not structured itself as a destination site, their main channel of growth was through social networking sites like MySpace. At one point Photobucket served 63% of all media links on the site. By contrast, Yahoo-owned Flickr accounted for about 8%.
This dependence came into play in mid 2007 when MySpace supposedly strong armed the company by shutting off the service on their site during acquisition talks. Photobucket had been a rumored acquisition target since March of that year, with investment bank Lehman Brothers alledgedly shopping the company around for a $300-400 million sale. Photobucket eventually sold for $250 million to Fox Interactive Media (FIM) - the parent company for MySpace, which amounted to a price of about $13 per unique user, which was a steal compared to YouTube’s acquisition at $67 per unique.
Photobucket has over 75 million registered users, and receives over 80 million unique users/month. (comScore Media Metrix, April 2009.)
There are more than 7 billion images stored on Photobucket. In addition to photo and video storage functionality, Photobucket offers linking into third-party websites, email and mobile applications. The company has also remix tools such as slide shows and video-editing functionality.