Need advice for posting pictures for high-traffic situation.
June 14, 2005 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Awhile back, I mentioned on MeFi that I had in my posession some pictures from Iraq that would no doubt attract a fair amount of public attention. I'm ready to make these pictures public, but I don't want my bandwidth costs to go through the roof, nor do I want to risk having my image hosting cut off. Does anyone have any advice as to how best to deal with this issue?
posted by insomnia_lj to Computers & Internet (30 answers total)
What about using flickr for hosting the images?
posted by rajbot at 10:09 AM on June 14, 2005

Could you start a BitTorrent? If you're willing to plunk down $10 / month for their cheapest hosting package, Hurricane Electric offers BitTorrent seeding/tracking.

The other thing to do would be to talk to a few hosts in advance, and try to work something out as far as pricing goes, and put out a pay pal or other donation button on your site...
posted by weston at 10:12 AM on June 14, 2005

You could try finding some hosts that Porn purveyors use. I'm betting that they're used to huge bandwidth spikes.
posted by bshort at 10:15 AM on June 14, 2005

You could go through The Memory Hole, which posts this sort of thing (Russ Kick, the owner, broke the Dover AFB coffin photos).
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:16 AM on June 14, 2005

I second Flickr. No bandwidth limitation. Don't want to make a Flickr account? Email them to me (address in my profile), and I'll put them on mine, with appropriate attribution.
posted by Plutor at 10:17 AM on June 14, 2005

Memory Hole is a good bet. What about getting them to a newspaper?
posted by mendel at 10:25 AM on June 14, 2005

Blog Torrent?

Also, depending on your political orientation, offer them to a extremely popular political site such as dKos?
posted by WCityMike at 10:37 AM on June 14, 2005

Just send out one email to five of us, and dissemination will happen at light speed.

Unless you're trying to get something out of it...??
posted by jsavimbi at 10:39 AM on June 14, 2005

I also second Flickr. Also, if you are worried about them being taken down, make a note asking people to mirror the photos. Once something is up on the internet, it is very hard to take it down.
posted by chunking express at 10:47 AM on June 14, 2005

I third Flickr. I can also put them up in another Flickr account, or we can just make an anonymous free account for the photos. You can get them up in 15 minutes or so, and I bet you'll have a dozen mirrors by the end of the day today if these are as important as you suggest.
posted by luriete at 10:49 AM on June 14, 2005

I'd be willing to act as a mirror if you're looking for volunteers. I'm in for a couple of hundred gigabytes.
posted by bshort at 10:51 AM on June 14, 2005

posted by kindall at 10:55 AM on June 14, 2005

I could do a bit of mirroring for you as well. I have a lot of space on a university server that has no (posted) bandwidth limit.

That being said, I think flickr is your best bet. I bet they would love that press ('Online photo forum breaks Iraqi torture story').
posted by jmgorman at 11:24 AM on June 14, 2005

Oh - how 'bout a link in this thread when you put them up? Thanks.
posted by jmgorman at 11:26 AM on June 14, 2005

Uh, guys, I don't really think Flickr is the best place for photographs that are going to be of (some) interest to the world's press, governments and military. These aren't just holiday snaps. You want somewhere where you can post hi-res shots, without ads or cartoony logos. I think your best bet, i_lj, is to either pony up some money or go with one of the established names (like Memory Hole), if they're interested.

Unless you just want them to disseminate like crazy, without a particularly authoritative source - in that case, flickr, blogs, email, whatever. But I think that does a disservice to the veracity (I assume) of the photos.
posted by Marquis at 11:26 AM on June 14, 2005

I agree with Marquis -- newspapers will, sigh, like them alot better if hires copies are available. Maybe some combination of low-res for Flickr and hi-res on a torrent or dedicated site with a user/pass only given out to media?
posted by docgonzo at 11:41 AM on June 14, 2005

I suggest biting the bullet yourself and buying a month's worth of cheap hosting service with large bandwidth capacity. Set up a very simple page with a simplified explanation and (relatively) low-res, high-compression images, and a link to 'press inquiries'. That first page will satisfy the curiosity of 99.95% of the web population. On the 'press inquiries' page, provide a link to a zipped archive of the originals, including whatever documentation and details you can provide in an accompanying text file.

After the first month, bandwidth demands for the pictures should once again be low enough that, e.g., the memory hole,, dailykos, whatever should be able to take them on without worrying about overload.

An example low priced very capable hosting provider: ServerMatrix
posted by felix at 11:49 AM on June 14, 2005

Actually, Flickr does archive the highest-res version of your file. I upload most of my stuff at somewhere between 2000 and 3500 pixels on the short side, and it's easy enough for anyone to download the full high-res version.
posted by luriete at 11:50 AM on June 14, 2005

I don't think, frankly, that newspapers want them as yet, because the truth of this story is that we don't know the full culpability of the soldiers in question. Did they fire upon insurgents or Iraqi kids playing soccer? I don't know.

I've actually offered them up to a lot of papers so far, but nobody has bitten. I suspect that I will have to make a splash with them on the web first, and then, maybe the mainstream press will deign to write about them once weblogs have made them a "newsworthy".

And yes, I will post a link once I post them. I would like their release to be several places at once, so if you would be interested in knowing about / writing about the photos as soon as they are released, please email me, and I will contact you the moment they are made public.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:54 AM on June 14, 2005

Why wait for newspapers? I'm sure Larry Flint will publish just about anything and he's got to have enough bandwidth.

Larry, comments?
posted by jsavimbi at 1:03 PM on June 14, 2005

Flickr is awesome, but unless you only have a few pictures, you'll have to get a Pro Account ($20/yr). For your purposes -- just hosting, as opposed to a whole community around the pictures -- I'd recommend looking into Ourmedia.
posted by danb at 2:52 PM on June 14, 2005

Memory Hole. It's already got the significant audience and (after scooping the mainstream press) a certain amount of credibility with journalists, so placing them there ensures widespread exposure for the photos.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 2:56 PM on June 14, 2005

What kindall said. Coral, coral, coral, coral, coral, coral, coral.
posted by grouse at 2:57 PM on June 14, 2005

Cryptome is perfect for this.
posted by phrontist at 4:05 PM on June 14, 2005

Another vote for Memory Hole; Russ is a very good guy. (Although my correspondence with him was a few years ago before he had the stones to FOIA the Air Force. Maybe all the good press went to his head. Nah.)
posted by sachinag at 4:12 PM on June 14, 2005

insomnia_lj, I missed this the first time around, so this may be slightly off-topic: Does your "friend" that gave you the pictures know you are doing this?

I have many friends in the Army and Marines and this crazy stuff happens all the time over there. Maybe not quite as crazy as your pics, maybe crazier. It is war. I have seen pictures and heard stories.

I couldn't tell from your original post whether or not your friend gave you the pics as an example of things that happen there, or something that was amazingly out-of-line, and if the intent was for you to publish them.

I guess my question boils down to what your friend thinks of this. Just curious - not flaming. Best of luck.
posted by bagels at 4:28 PM on June 14, 2005

"You want somewhere where you can post hi-res shots, without ads or cartoony logos"

Yes, Flickr.

If you really have something against Flickr's interface, put the photos on Flickr, then use the URL they give you for each one an make a simple HTML page pretty much anywhere.

And you can probably find an old Pro user who still has a free Pro account to give away if you want to make the originals available.
posted by krisjohn at 5:30 PM on June 14, 2005

I'd gladly provide a mirror to the photos. I rarely use my website storage and bandwidth space for anything even remotely intensive, and I always have plenty of my monthly quota left over.

I'm sure others feel the same way. Couple this with some scripting to ensure redirection in a round-robin fashion to participating mirrors, with a very low-bandwidth distribution page, should get you through the initial storm. By then the internet will take over for you.
posted by odinsdream at 7:37 PM on June 14, 2005

I have space and bandwidth easily. If it goes too high, its no big loss to me if my site is down for the balance of a month, its only there for a handful of family and friends. Email in profile.
posted by Goofyy at 2:24 AM on June 15, 2005

I could cater the Scandinavian audience on my space. I have tons left if I can make the page with the photos non-English.
posted by mr.marx at 1:23 PM on June 15, 2005

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