Why Can't I Post External Images in the Forum?
Wild About Britain has a stunning gallery and a pretty good image library that lets members post images and include them in their forum posts. This is great because it means we don't have to use external websites to host images, which means:
No More Dead Links
You've probably seen it all over the Internet - 'Image removed', 'Image No Longer Available', 'Page Not Found', 'Error'...we've seen lots of it and it makes websites look rubbish. So we ask all our members to not post images from their external website, photobucket, flickr etc., to avoid those error messages where the images should be. We've got lots of pages like this from the early days and the bounce rate on these pages (the number of people who viewed the page then left WAB straight away without viewing another page and never coming back) is almost 100%...average bounce rate on almost all other WAB pages is less than 4%
On WAB Forever
We know that some members promise to never ever take their site down, or change the image's url, or change the image behind the URL. You'll be glad to know that we don't believe a word of it, because we're smarter than that...actually it's because we've had our fingers burnt more times than we can count on our burnt little fingers. And if you think it won't ever happen on the big image hosting sites, take a look at what happened to the millions of photos on Yahoo Photos..."What's Yahoo Photos?" we hear you say..."Exactly!" we reply...click here to see what happened to the massive image site
So after members spend a lot of time answering questions relating to posted images in threads, it's the least we can do to try to ensure that the images and thread stay usable forever. There's nothing worse than seeing a thread with 20/30 replies to an initial post about an image that's now just a red cross.
The Network Administrator Has Blocked This Image!
Thousands of people view Wild about Britain every day from their work PC, but many are unable to view sites like Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook etc. because their system administrator has blocked those sites. This also means that images hosted on those sites cannot be shown on Wild About Britain, so we're left with hundreds/thousands of threads where members are talking about images that many visitors can't see.
Easier to Find
If all images are kept in the gallery/image library then they can be easily catalogued, searched and found later on. Having images all stored on the website will also help us organise the photos more easily and make searching a lot simpler than sifting through threads to find images of a specific species.
Wild About Britain runs on its own dedicated server that costs a bomb, but it does a great job of serving content to well over 2 million visitors a year. The problem with external hosted images is that their servers can often be cheap imitations of WAB's monster. These other servers are often slow and take a long time to load the images, making it appear as though WAB is running slow, when in fact we're usually travelling faster than the speed of light.
What more do we need to say about spam? We hate it, you hate, everyone hates it, but not surprisingly we've found some unwanted members using images to link out to external sites as a form of free advertising to promote their website and increase visitors.
Finally, there have been a few examples in the past of external images being changed after they were initially posted. This presents a big risk to WAB as members could change their externally linked image to an advert, or even hardcore pornography, and if you multiply that by possibly hundreds of posts we would have a massive job on ours hands trying to delete them all.
We realise that it may be a bit more time-consuming for members to upload images to the site, rather than simply link to their external website/image host, but it will save the mods and gallery editors a lot of time and make it easier for all visitors to use the site.
To make life easier for all members uploading into the gallery, there is no moderating of images in the Image Library.