It's actually quite expensive to provide photo hosting - easily 2 or 3 times more expensive than hosting the forum just for the server space and each month cost increases as more pictures are uploaded. I'm involved in a different forum as admin - - and we investigated this issue 3 years ago. We allow small avatars. As the forum software does not check for viruses we've had problems twice with people uploading avatars that contain a virus. The bills are paid by the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in New Zealand. The first time we were able to use a back-up but the second time this did not work and we can't afford to have it repaired. So now we don't have avatars. Photobucket hit us hard, too, but hosting pictures would also expose us to viruses - just like with the avatars.