Originally Posted by DirtyComanche
To clear things up for the idiots of the like of clb 017 and you, I will try to explain.
Direct upload/embed of images on Pirate has only ever been available for paying members. This was a reasonable thing back in the early days, as hosting costs were still fairly high and other social media services also didn't offer free high resolution uploads or implemented it (or other important features to go with it) poorly. At that time the most common solution to hosting was Photobucket, along with Imageshack, Flickr, and a bunch of other similar companies (most of which are long gone), who as a third party offered free image hosting in exchange for forcing the user (not necessarily the viewer) to be exposed to advertising. The business model of these image hosting services appeared to work at the time, as likely there wasn't the same saturation of remote image embedding, and ad blocking software was in its infancy and/or not widely implemented.
As time progressed the cost of hosting decreased, and the effectiveness and popularity of ad blocking software increased exponentially. At this point MOST successful forums began to offer free uploading/embedding to contributing users, while forums that were run poorly or did not gauge the changing conditions of the internet did not. At the same time services like Photobucket began to see a real crisis in their income, as now many of their users were passive (their images were embedded around the internet, but they did not themselves use their account and thus were not creating ad revenue), or their users were using effective ad blocking services. However, this would balance itself for a time as their own hosting costs were decreasing dramatically, so there was not an immediate crisis.
Around the same time, competing and often easier, social media platforms began to really become popular. And by popular I don't just mean by total users, I mean by total users and the time those users would exclusively use on those platforms along with the variety of media they would consume on them. These platforms held an advantage in regards to the ad problem, as they were able to code around the effects of ad blocking software. They also were designed from the onset as being data mining operations, which meant that even users who were able to block the ads were still having their data harvested and sold.
Now, we need to get to the real culprit in what went wrong. Lance. He saw the cash cow he was sitting on, built not by him but rather by the users, and decided to cash out while it was good. This was a very sensible move, as his lack of interest had meant the forum was lagging behind on critical features, along with the major issue that the tiered (star) user system was going to kill the forum BUT was making too much money to dare to dismantle. Basically since he was selling you the opportunity to upload images, he wasn't willing to simply let that become something that could be done for free, although this would ultimately lead to the slow demise of the forum as image uploading was a feature that was necessary to actually compete with the new social media platforms.
From left stage enters Vertical Scope. Lance knows who they are and what they do. They're well known in the world of forums. So, again, let's blame the person who is responsible, Lance. They're keen to deal, and are willing to entertain certain terms of the deal. Chiefly they're willing to keep the place basically the same, as in not removing the flawed system of paid usage for basic features, nor updating the software to a modern version; of course they were willing to agree to this as it would save them money. They also didn't want to purchase the worst t-shirt/swag company to have ever operated, so again, no issues with his terms there.
In fairly quick order Lance traded everything that every contributing member had built for a fat stack of cash. That was the cumulative knowledge, time, and hard work, of thousands of people who had worked together for a bigger picture. He sold YOU, and he sold me, and he didn't give a fuck about it other than how much money was going to be in his pocket.
Most of the third party image hosting services then proceeded to go tits up, or enact restrictions in embedding, as that was necessary for them to be profitable. However, this would NEVER have been an issue if Lance had simply done what was right long ago, and allowed all contributing users to upload and embed. And to even take it a step farther a simple script that ripped the third party hosted images could and should have been implemented to save them, as is actually done on some of the remaining successful forums.
Canada didn't fuck this place up. Lance did. Stop blaming Canada. Blame Lance.