PicApp pulls the shortcode plug

unhappy crowd
Locating free sources of images to enhance blog posts can be a time consumptive chore even when you have a listing of free sources of images as I so on my resources page.  But a year ago now WordPress.com entered an arrangement with PicApp that made that chore and easy breezy one by introducing a shortcode for WordPress.com bloggers to gain free access to PicApp images.  The official announcement on October 9th,  2009 was:

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 Shortcode is for a service called PicApp, which offers up to the minute sports, news, and celebrity images from some of the top photographers and agencies throughout the world. — Free Access to Premium Images

picapp-com Picture 1

What a difference a year makes!  PicApp will no longer be supporting the WordPress.com shortcode. They have introduced a widget and are discussing how to enable the already-published images to stay on WordPress.com blogs where the shortcode has been used with WordPress.com Staff so stay tuned.

Hi Guys ,
picapp just launch its new product , the picapp widget , that turns every static image into a dynamic photo gallery. We built this tool based on feedback we got from many of you guys and are very pleased from the initial results.
Clarification #1 –> do you have to install the widget? :
no. installing the widget is not mandatory at all. you do it only if you like it and see the value in installing it! what we do ask however is for you to register on the new site.
Clarification #2 –> does the new widget is wp.com supported
no.
Clarification #3 –> does the widget “takes over” images you are not interested to be dynamic?
we specifically designed a dashboard function to enable you to control on which site section you want the widget to be active . we also provide in our support page specific instructions for how to disable a specific image .
Clarification #4 –> what will happen with the already used images and with the shortcode support?
due to insufficient interest , we cant continue to support the shortcode for much longer and we are in discussion with the wp.com team to find a solution that will enable the already-published images to stay on the blogs.
hope this is helpful!
Eyal  — PicApp.com

Discussion

Are you a WordPress.com blogger who has been using the PicApp shortcode?
What’s your reaction to the discontinuation of the use of the shortcode?

18 thoughts on “PicApp pulls the shortcode plug

  1. I discovered something interesting today in my website’s raw logs: PicApp has been attempting to remote-link to files stored on my server. I’ve been hunting around on the Internet trying to find out more about who these jerks are, and everybody seems to think they’re some kind of legitimate business, but I’ve never heard of a legitimate business who went around stealing bandwidth from other sites, and attempting to present those sites’ images as their own. Just what exactly IS this site???

  2. There’s now an update from Staff.

    markel
    Happiness Engineer
    Nov 4, 2010, 8:38 AM

    I’m sorry to keep you waiting for news while we looked into this on our side, but I have news now:

    PicApp has decided to no longer support the original implementation of the PicApp shortocde for WordPress.com. We are disappointed by this news, but understand that PicApp is taking their business in a new direction. As of today, PicApp will no longer work on WordPress.com. Old usages of the shortcode will continue to function as long as PicApp will allow them to, but we do not plan to switch to the new method of image selection they are providing and any shortcodes entered into new posts will be automatically removed.

    I know this news will be disappointing to some who were regular users of PicApp, but we believe this decision is best for WordPress.com as a community and as a platform.

  3. HI Titi,
    I have to be honest…i have never used the picapp to post images. I prefer looking for the images from the creative commons and then posting them according to my content. So i guess any changes in that department aren’t a problem for me :)
    I have another pressing matter to ask you- I have recently started using my mobile to access the internet email etc. My problem is with the view of my blog on my mobile. It doesn’t show the theme I’m using and shows a mobile theme, which isnt very pleasing to the eye. Also I’ve noticed all other websites who dont have a mobile version look exactly the same as on the computer. Like for example any wordpress.com blog looks the same on the mobile as it does on the computer. Are there any settings fr me to change so that my blog looks the same with the same theme even on the mobile? Any thoughts on this topic would really help. I tried looking int he forums without any real clarity.
    With love,
    Z~

  4. I’m a WordPress blogger and I’ve never actually even heard of PicApp. But it appears to be really good widget. no works anymore, really?

    Sorry, i’m don’t speak english :(

    • The widget is ONLY for wordpress.org free standing installs and cannot be used on wordpress.COM blogs. WordPress.com Staff and PicApp Staff are discussing this and there is no update as yet.

  5. Forgive me if this is a basic question, but I’m not entirely clear. What exactly does it mean that they are removing the “shortcode?” Are you allowed to use PicApp images at all anymore? Or can you display them using the new widget?

    I’m a WordPress blogger but I self-host and I’ve never actually even heard of PicApp. I haven’t ever used any shortcodes to be honest.

    • Picapp enable an automatic install to the self-hosted WordPress.org (not WordPress.com). The Picapp widget is currently not available for WordPress.com users.

      WordPress.com demands a specific integration to enable 3rd party widgets, we are working on it, stay tuned on our blog for announcements regarding this issue.

      Please read what raincoaster experienced on two different blogs that has a mix images from different sources- some of which were not from PicApp. Neither blog had the widget installed at any time.

      It’s all in limbo at this point as WordPress.com Staff and PicApp are apparently discussing the matter.

      Picapp widget is taking over my image original links
      roi.gold
      posted this on Sep 15 16:02

      If you have images on your website linking to other pages (e.g. images linking to other posts or photo galleries) and you don’t want the Picapp widget to disable them, you can review these options:

      * Log in to your dashboard, go to the Account Settings page and check the “Picapp widget will be active only on images linking outside my website” checkbox – the widget will not be activated on images linked inside your website domain. (the change might take several hours to take effect on your site).
      * If the issue is relevant to your homepage only log in to your dashboard, go to the Account Settings page and check the “Decativate Picapp widget on my homepage” checkbox – the widget will not be activated on images appearing in your homepage. (full change might take several hours to take effect on your site).
      * To manually specify which images will be activated by the widget you can check our manual control options.
      From PicApp’s support documents: http://picapp.zendesk.com/entries/261665-picapp-widget-is-taking-over-my-image-original-links

  6. I think I’ve used one or two images from PicApp in the past, but I don’t recall using a shortcode to do it. Good thing, I guess, since it’s being dropped. I wonder if the new widget can be converted for use with the gigya shortcode?

    • My advice is to read everything that develops very carefully and avoid making any kind of a commitment until all details are determined. Please see what’s posted in the reply to Andrew’s comment below.

  7. If they are not able to enable already-published images to remain, I wonder what will the posts look like?

    Resolving this is an interesting problem for someone.

    I think the biggest loser is WordPress’s credibility. You would think they would have tied things down rather than be faced with a situation where a third party could pull the rug.

    I don’t want to crow because we are all dependent on something – as well as on each other – but pulling in third-party images sounds risky. I guess bloggers who used the images had every belief that because it was WordPress, it was pretty safe.

    I am currently looking into using the Google typeface API and extended fonts from the paid-for Typekit service on a site (not a WordPress one) and in the back of my mind I am thinking about what would happen if the service ended…

    It is a salutary lesson.

    • Hi David,
      I don’t think WordPress.com failed in anyway. They entered and agreement with a start-up. I suppose one could take the position that they ought only to enter agreements with established companies but I’m not sure I agree with that.

      Until the PicApp Staff and WordPress.com Staff work this through we don’t know what the result will be. Please note what’s posted in my reply to Andrew below.

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