08 December 2009

The Problem Of Filebox And Too Generous Online Storage Services In General. [Rant]



No one likes to be the realist, but while Filebox 488 Gigabytes of Cloud Storage for Free sound like a incredible gift from heaven (get it?). Filebox even got a more outrageous claim: You can profit from your uploaded files by sharing.

This remembers me of the classic 3 Steps for Profit guide most should be familiar with if you have been using the internet for at least 1 year:

  • 1.-Spend Money (In Huge amounts of servers and bandwidth while paying users for spending resources like crazy.)
  • 2.-??????????????????????????
  • 3.-Profit!!!

And it is not as if history has not taught us better with many many many Online Storage Services, that have debuted with claims from 50gb to 1 Terabyte of free storage, and so far all have gone bankrupt or never caught on and that is the reason some of them lasted for a while.

The best example being ADrive (25gb) from AOL. AOL, whatever you may think of it is not a “small” or “irrelevant” company, leave those kind of attack words to Silicon Valley bloggers. Yet they failed to make projections for its Online Storage Service that would work fast enough for them to justify investing on it. I see that case as overcautious and i still think that was a big mistake from AOL as well it was when it shutdown its Photo Storage service. But they are on their right to be overcautious.

What about Yahoo retiring from this space all together and concentrating in supporting the storage on their E-mail service and Flickr?.

Or how about streamload from Mediamax that offered lots of Gigabytes for free and then said “just kidding, it was just a test”.

There are many other examples all around of failures in that space coming from Big companies. The ones that have succeeded in the space is because they offer little for free and everything else on a paid basis (Dropbox, Box.net), Are heavily Ad based and Commercial Driven (like MegaUpload) or in the cases they offer a lot is because it requires some compromises and the services are P2P based (like wuala).

There is only one company that has been able to offer 25gb for free that you know it won’t go up in the smoke and that is SkyDrive from Microsoft. Go figure. They still have a file size limitation but it is to be expected.

And just to put in perspective how expensive the space of Online Storage is. It can be even more expensive than VIDEO depending on the scale of users. This is the sole reason why Google didn’t dared to enter the space years ago as it originally intended. If Google tomorrow decided to match the same 25gb of Skydrive and decided it is going to allow you the File Size to be of 1gb with a fully public and featured service. The potential cost of launching such a offering would be very big because they would need to make sure that the storage and bandwidth is there from the let go for no less than 10 million accounts.

You obviously would then think that 10m x 25gb = 250 petabytes. You would be wrong since the data needs to be replicated from 2 to 3 times and you need to add a full run of bandwidth to the mix so that would give you a potential 1000 petabytes (1 exabyte) of resources they need to have from day one for such a service. Having a higher file size range will also mean that every failed transaction will cost more and that every download session will cost more than the one from SkyDrive. That is why SkyDrive was launched headless and restricted and has been improved in a very slowly way. The costs are Sky High! (pun intended). Obviously that for Chrome OS to be launched, The so far elusive gDrive does have to exist and be launched before or a bit after Chrome OS debuts. But i am telling you that the costs and resources needed for that will make YouTube costs seem like not a big deal.

So even if FileBox only get to have lets say 1000 users right now and are ready to grow to 10k users. That still means they need to have 1 petabyte of resources right now (In the best-case scenario) and that they will be able to have 10 petabytes of resources  later on for their growth in the first year and be able to pony up the money for that in advance without having any profit!!……...

So forgive me if i just don’t recommend you to go using a service that while the scale of users is very small wants to give you 20 times more free resources for you to use and abuse than the top free service.

Maybe it is just me not forgetting history easily or that the economics  and service propositions just don’t match up for me. You are of course free to disagree.

But if you are using it, just don’t use it for critical files or files with personal value.

I just wish new Online Storage Services would focus on improving the UI-UX and the coverage of access and everything around the service that could make it awesome. and not in throwing around Insane amounts of resources just because.

*Numbers i throw down here are actually conservative. But even then just approximates that should be taken with a grain of salt since they are for context and illustrative purposes*






Anonymous said...

Infact, filebox is dead :)


Web Analytics