Online file transfer - another one bites the dust
The news has been flying about all over the Internet: social media giant Facebook has bought out file sharing service Drop.io.
For those who don't know, Drop.io took an unusual approach to sending large files by allowing users to create temporary "mini-drop-boxes". There were no other features - just the ability to anonymously share files for a brief period of time.
According to TechCrunch.com, the social media moguls have bought not only Drop.io's technology, but their talent: CEO Sam Lessin (and perhaps others) will be moving out to Palo Alto, California to join the Facebook team.
The company's incipient demise (non-paid accounts have already been shut down, and paid accounts will be closed on December 15, 2010) sends an interesting message to the rest of the file-sharing industry: Facebook is planning to add online file transfer to their service offerings.
This may or may not be a good thing, depending on one's point of view. Facebook has 2 main strengths that they can apply to the field that most online file transfer services cannot:
1. Massive traffic, and
2. Massive capital to spend on application development.
If they do go ahead and implement a technology similar to Drop.io's, and integrate it fully into their service, it would probably mean the demise of many of the current companies in the field - especially the new, smaller start-ups with little to offer besides sending files too big for email.
If the services that let users transfer big files wish to survive, they are going to have to "go the extra mile", and offer more than ad-serviced large file transfer.
What sort of value-add features should users look for in a big files transfer service?
1. The ability to receive large files: only a few of these companies let their users receive files from those without accounts, and they usually charge for the privilege.
2. Storage: while many users are only interested in sending large files, many more (especially businesses) are also looking for the ability to store files online - allowing them not only to collaborate but preserve valuable data.
3. Robust tracking: of special value to corporate users (from any size business), the ability to track uploads and downloads is a must - especially if multiple users in separate locations share one account.
FilesDIRECT (of course) offers all these features, and more, for free with all accounts:
1. Free customizable upload and download pages ("dropboxes"). Now your clients can upload files to your personal page - or download files from a set of private files you send them a link to.
2. Paid accounts start with a whopping 10GB of free storage - and it only goes up from there.
3. Tracking: live tracking of what files have been uploaded and downloaded, when and by whom.
There are many more features and our development team is always working on more...while fly-by-night "free" operations should be worried about the news out of Brooklyn, we know that FilesDIRECT will still be around for a long time to come.