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No More Static URLs for Attachments?

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VillageCo
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

This post is in response to the 4/4/2022 email announcement titled “Changes to Airtable attachments” which announced that static URL’s will be going away.

This has a HUGE and sadly dramatic affect on my application. I’m using Airtable to crowd-source content for a weekly email - each member submits a form with their content, and I use formulas to roll together all the content into an automated weekly email, including images. It seems with this change that using static urls (as obtained via a formula and embedded into HTML tags) will no longer be possible.

I’m not sure how else I can embed photos into the emails I send out. I’m hoping someone can help think this through. A HUGE part of what I’m doing is about automating the compilation of multiple contributors into one email… it’s been working brilliantly for years… I’m so sad about this. I don’t know what to do…

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Oh, I see what you’re saying — you’re saying that from Airtable’s point-of-view, my suggestion changes absolutely nothing. You are 100% correct, and I completely agree with what you said above.

You are correct that they are not really trying to change the security model so much as they’re trying to prevent an incredible load on their servers because people are using them as a CDN. (The security enhancement is just a side effect of their primary goal.)

So what I failed to add to my suggestion above is this critical piece of information:

  • Airtable should also add a new pricing/fee structure to account for people who want to use Airtable in this fashion.

This could: (a) be a good revenue stream for them, and (b) give many users what they want.

That is one possible remedy. But as you know, easier said than actually built. Putting it mildly, pricing models are already not their strong suit. :winking_face:

Indeed. However, you have to assume that Airtable wants to be in the CDN business. I’m pretty sure they don’t because that’s an entirely different business from building really cool database products.

Today, Airtable is a consumer of CDN services, not a producer. Producers can only do this well at scale, and Airtable’s CDN activity would be a rounding error for any company that does this as a core product offering. Not all revenue is good revenue; dollars don’t equate to profits and especially the case when you’re a small fish in a very large pond. I suspect they assessed this possibility and rejected it for exactly the reasons I mentioned.

In my view, I do agree that this is a good revenue stream for “someone”, but it’s a feature Airtable should fear trying to earn a profit with and apparently has already decided such.

I completely understand why you and many others would come to the conclusion that this would be good. It would compress the technology stack required to give users what they want while simplifying solution complexities. These benefits are not insignificant and I suspect it’s a reason many solution builders adopted Airtable in the first place. However, a new paid service like this would largely appeal either to enterprises (who do not already have CDN options) or Airtable users (who do not have either CDN options or extra cash to pay for added CDN features).

These are all excellent points!

John_Higgins
5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Hi everyone. I made a tutorial on how to migrate while keeping a reference (url):