Photobucket archives may sell for billions to train AI

Dark stars of web content, like Photobucket, will soon be seen again—but not by humans. The vast volumes of uploads are being bought by big tech hoping to train AI on it. Reuters reports on the "underground race" to appropriate such data.

CEO Ted Leonard, who runs the 40-strong company out of Edwards, Colorado, told Reuters he is in talks with multiple tech companies to license Photobucket's 13 billion photos and videos to be used to train generative AI models that can produce new content in response to text prompts.

He has discussed rates of between 5 cents and $1 dollar per photo and more than $1 per video, he said, with prices varying widely both by the buyer and the types of imagery sought.

Photobucket "declined to identify its prospective buyers, citing commercial confidentiality." Its collection is purportedly worth billions.

Hey, pour one out for the big websites intentionally deleted by terrible corporate acquirers such as Yahoo, which might now love to get a dollar for every JPG.

Tumblr is going to be a billion dollar company again, isn't it? My God!