A major change in the way the PicApp service works has left WordPress.com users wondering how much longer the PicApp images they’ve already embedded in their blogs over the past year will be available for viewing. WordPress.com’s Raanan Bar Cohen announced the collaboration with PicApp almost a year ago in near glowing terms.
We all love adding great images to our blog posts, and today we’ve enabled a new WordPress.com Shortcode that adds millions of available premium images to the mix, all for free.
The announcement goes on to explain that,
The related-images strip you see embedded at the bottom of each photo links to pages on PicApp.com that help support the photographers and agencies involved with these images.
There are a few more concerns with the “new” PicApp, the most objectionable having been quickly addressed by them, which saw all linked, non-PicApp images over 250 pixels
on your blog (see Clarification below) being linked to PicApp’s “related images” galleries. As rain pointed out in her post on raincoastermedia, this action overrode links on images that were link credited back to their original source. However it’s not clear from browsing PicApp’s own support documents whether this update to how their widget works is a custom setting for blogs hosted on WordPress.com or whether this is a change in their implementation policy. It remains to be seen. *See update below.
On the working end, there also seems to be an odd perception by PicApp that bloggers only have one blog, at least that is the set up when registering at PicApp. This has led to one of my photography blog posts having a blank space where there used to be PicApp images. (You’ll note that the link to their related-images gallery still works just fine.)
All in all, I have serious doubts that WordPress.com’s 13 million+ bloggers will continue to enjoy PicApp’s “millions of available premium images”. In their own support docs and in WordPress.com’s forum thread on the topic, PicApp seems to be pointing their finger at WordPress.com for not continuing the availability of their service on our blogs. But even free, with all the above baggage coming along with the new PicApp, it seems it’s coming at much too high a price to pay to be viable for WordPress.com.
*November 04, 2010-Update: the matter of PicApp taking over non-PicApp images with links in them is certainly not resolved. While online at ayyyy.com less than half an hour ago, I watched as between refreshes of the main page, images that were linked back to their source became PicApp galleries.
Does PicApp have the right to take over non-PicApp images in this manner? Telling people that they can opt-out of this behavior by changing the settings in their PicApp dashboard is an incredibly lame argument. Opt-OUT should be the default here, not opt-in. Bad move PicApp, bad!
November 4, 2010-Update No. 2: not 15 minutes after the above, I revisited ayyyy.com and rain had put up a new post. No matter how many times I refreshed the screen, the non-PicApp linked image never turned into a PicApp gallery.
Clarification: the site affected by this behavior is not hosted on WordPress.com but is a self-hosted WordPress.org install.
November 6, 2010-Update No. 3: After reading the convoluted Terms of Service at PicApp, I have removed all screenshots from this post in order to avoid any possible non-compliance. Instead, I have added links where possible to examples of their shortcode in use on this blog (for as long as it lasts) so you can see their new code in action. As advised in the letter sent out to registered PicApp users today, PicApp’s support of the WordPress.com shortcode, and subsequent images, is expected to disappear within the week.