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To be able to post images on the Scratch Forums, one must upload the desired image to a third-party image host that is white-listed by the Scratch Team. If one was to try and link to an image that was not white-list, they would get an error. This is to prevent spam images, the risk of viruses from unauthorized sites, and simply to avoid inappropriate content.
The current white-listed hosts are as follows:
- photobucket.com (costs money; has a free plan of up to 250 images with a watermark)
- cubeupload.com (used by most Scratchers, however a recent policy change means that users now have to register an account to upload images)
- imageshack.com (requires users to register an account to upload images)
- imageshack.us (users have to register an account to upload images)
- scratchr.org (The ScratchR domain is no longer owned by the Scratch Team, and is now an SMS sending service.)
- wiki.scratch.mit.edu (This domain can no longer be updated because of the Domain Transfer)
These are hosts which were formerly on the whitelist:
- imgur.com (removed for inappropriate images on the host)
- any .edu domain outside of Scratch (removed because it was used to exploit requests to Scratch APIs from the user viewing the post e.g. to logout the user or delete replies)
- tinypic.com (website was shut down)
TinyPic was subject to debate by some Scratchers over the fact that it uses bad advertising techniques to generate revenue. For example, one user experienced warnings of hidden malware when a malicious ad was shown on TinyPic. The site also showed adverts that lead to downloading potentially unwanted programs. The Scratch Team also took part in the debate and decided it would be the best option to de-emphasize the use of TinyPic. The Scratch Team member, Paddle2See, said that they would be modifying all documents that mention TinyPic as a white-listed image host to warn Scratchers of the bad advertising practices.
Imageshack also came to a debate because of its subscription practices. The Scratch Team has yet to state their presence on the matter.
It has been also reported that the images can "expire" over time and be replaced with an advertisement.
Each image host has its own way of earning profit. Of course, money is necessary to pay the workers, supply the electricity, and maintain the server hardware. Many sites simply have ads, like with Tinypic and Photobucket, whereas some image hosts take a different approach of having paid accounts such as Imageshack. Some of the ads on Tinypic and Photobucket have been known to exploit malicious code on individuals' computers or use pop-ups since Tinypic and Photobucket do not regulate their third-party provided adverts. There is also the possibility of an image host sustaining itself purely off of donations, which is the approach that cubeupload takes to maintain its site. However, in September 2019, their site was temporarily shut down as they did not have enough donations.
- BoltBait. (10/5/2013). "The problem is that the people in charge over at imgur don't do a very good job of policing for inappropriate images." post:25730
- thisandagain. (9/1/2016). "We no longer accept images from any .edu domain" post:1717123
- Flowermanvista. (18/7/2019). "According to a notification on their website, TinyPic is shutting down their website at some point in 2019" topic:361842
- turkey3. (3/12/2014). "Down With Tinypic![title]" topic:69912
- cheeseeater. (7/12/2014). "[TinyPic] is showing malware infested adverts which possibly run drive by downloads!" post:602954
- cheeseeater. (4/12/2014). "[S]ome users may be more vulnerable to mal-advertising attacks." post:595276
- Paddle2See. (9/12/2014). "Because of the concerns you brought forward, we are de-emphasizing the use of Tinypic." post:609768
- Detriment. (24/11/2014). "Make the forums stop using Imageshack for pictures[title]" topic:67646
- Chibi-Matoran. (8/10/2015). "Apparently, images can expire and are replaced by an ad for RainApp!" topic:157358
- Zro716. (8/12/2014). "you cannot legally force them to moderate their ads because that's not their stuff." post:607122
- "Sadly our primary sources of income (donations and Patreon) are no longer covering our costs and we are having to seriously consider closing the site down" https://twitter.com/CubeUpload/status/1169299066242682880