Billed as the first completely free way to host your photos in the cloud, HIVE is about to close down.

Officially launched in October 2014, HIVE offered a free way for members of the public to host their photos and content. The service was free if you were happy with advertisements and kept withing streaming and download limits. The limits and advertising were removed if you paid $9pm… but in a twist for this sort of service, a social angle meant that the Premium service got cheaper if you had other friends on HIVE. Once you reached over 100 friends, your unlimited hosting was free.

The service was offered by Hong Kong based QVIVO, but according to HIVE‘s home page at the moment the service is closed to new customers, and all existing hosted content will be deleted on the 15th October 2015. So if you use hive, you’ve got another 2 weeks to make back ups and host your content elsewhere.

HIVE claim the closure is due to selling it’s technology platform and that a condition of the sale is them having to close down. If they’d sold to a competitor you’d think the competitors would try to migrate existing users; meanwhile if they sold to someone looking to re-invent the platform a more “softly softly” approach might have been a good idea so as to keep existing customers on board, even if you’re going to ask them to pay in the future. The new owners will most likely have (depending on the terms of the deal) the mailing list of existing customers, but I think the public will be pretty unforgiving if you caused them this upheaval and so be unlikely to want to work with the new owners again in the future.