BitcoinTalk
Idea for file hosting and proxy services

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When you want to upload an image to embed in a forum post, there are services like imageshack, but because they're free, they limit the number of views.  It's a minuscule amount of bandwidth cost, but they can't just give it away for free, there has to be something in it for them.  It would be nice to be able to pay for the bandwidth and avoid the limits, but conventional payments are too inconvenient for such a minor thing.

It's worse if you want to upload a file for others to download.  There are services like rapidshare, but they require the downloaders to go through extra steps and delays to make them look at advertising or encourage upgrading to a paid subscription, and they limit it to 10 or so downloads.

It would be nice if we made some free PHP code for an image and file hosting service that charges Bitcoins.  Anyone with some extra bandwidth quota could throw it on their webserver and run it.  Users could finally pay the minor fee to cover bandwidth cost and avoid the limits and hassles.  Ideally, it should be MIT license or public domain.

Services like this would be great for anonymous users, who have trouble paying for things.
That's a great idea.  There's a thriving business in those services, but I've always thought the standard payment methods are at odds with privacy minded customers.

Would you consider making your software freely available so anyone could easily set one up?  I know for competitive reasons the inclination is to keep it to yourself, but it could get an order of magnitude more use if anyone could give proxy access to their country just by putting the software on a server.

I wonder if there are other kinds of web application servers where we would only have to tack on the payment mechanism to an already existing system?
Title changed.

It helps that we have someone with actual experience running a proxy service.  Do you think Psiphon is the best one currently?  (sometimes the one you run was the best when you started but you found better ones later)
Mihalism Multi Host is a popular open source PHP file hosting server.

It's geared toward image hosting, but I think by increasing the file size limit and liberalising the allowed file extensions, it could just as easily be used for general file upload hosting.  They need the limits to keep it reasonable as a free service, but if we bolt on a Bitcoin payment mechanism, the limits could be relaxed.

It doesn't have a bunch of client side scripting or anti-embedding junk to rip out.  It generates standard links that work normally.

There's a turnover churn in these free hosting sites.  Small sites can give free image hosting, but once one starts getting popular, it gets too swamped with moochers using them for free bandwidth.  Any site that gets well known has to become more aggressively pay-naggy to cover bandwidth costs.  It's a perfect example of a service where the needed price point is in the no-man's-land between just a little too expensive to be free, but too cheap for most users to take the trouble of a conventional payment.  It's in the gap between 0 and 19.95.  The best they can do is try to maybe get 1 out of 1000 users to pay 9.95, but that has 999/1000 users treated like freeloaders.  It can't really be advertising supported because the images are embedded in other sites and downloaded without going to the hosting site.

An example of a site running the software:
http://www.imagez.ws/

Forum:
http://www.mihalism.net/

Download:
http://code.google.com/p/mihalismmh/

What do you think?  If I made a Bitcoin payment integration for this, would anyone be interested in running it?  It might be the first fully automated service available to buy with Bitcoins.  The advantage it could offer over the free services is general file upload hosting of large files without making downloading users go to the upload site and jump through hoops.  It would give a normal link directly to the file.