Depositfiles, 2Shared, Rapidgator, Putlocker, Turbobit and let’s not forget Ad.fly. All examples of pay-to-download services in the spirit of Mediafire with a spur for profit. We’re very familiar with them now, since it’s recently been discovered that the internet has bills to pay too. Also, we are fans of food. Can’t get by without it.
I find it interesting that so many have sprung up in the last two years.
From the presentation of some of these sites, I gather they’re trying survive in an aggressive industry. However, a couple of these sites are preying on users’ impatience to gouge them for cash. Depositfiles uses several popularly understood concepts to encourage users to buy into a premium experience for “better” downloads.
One fault at a time. Have patience, we’ll get to them all.
Time: While it’s relatively easy to throttle uploads to clients, these are rarely ever accurate. A file touted to download in 8 minutes via free download arrived complete in just 4. The premium version was promised to ring in at 1 minute, though that would likely have come in at much less. So why isn’t it accurate?
The fault: Downloads are estimated by speed, so assuming I’m sporting a standard DSL connection it can be calculated that a file will transfer to me in a given period of time. Rather like knowing the speed of rate of travel in a car to, say, McSickfoodwich Restaurant. Estimated are clearly provided in the worst possible conditions, or slowest known DSL speed – in this case – to encourage me to be impatient about the minutes it will take for my file to land on my computer.
Advertising: While you’re messing around with Captcha to prove you’re a warm blooded, air breathing human, you are being served. Firstly they’re pitching premium edition, and to keep that company targeted ads are jumping to the foray to entice and appea-ahem-sell you stuff. Web site owners have been using web ads to pay for hosting costs for years now and it is an acceptable, even responsible practice when served tastefully. Make no mistake, it can be done.
The fault: If you think this industry need to survive, click on the ads, because advertising works – we all know it. Look, this next point ties into advertisements, because it’s all about how Depositfiles makes a living, but I’m breaking it out to analyse it separately because the service is a flat out lie and it’s all in the delivery.
Here we go.
Premium: Get your files faster so you can listen, read, play now instead of later.
The fault: This is tried and true marketing. A simple message that preys on a weakness. Can’t chop those onions because you’re a klutz? We’ve got a gadget for that. Too impatient to wait another 7 minutes for a file to download? Throw us a little cash and we’ll let you in the Bandwidth Rich Club. I’m going to point form list this because this particular fault has several.
Let’s assume that we both understand honest marketing can serve a useful purpose.
Got it? Good.
– The phrase “free downloads” has deceptive benefits, and in this case none are yours. The only reason to offer free downloads is as an enticement for paid services, since by necessary server model Depositfiles isn’t saving any money uploading files to you that are occasionally Gigabytes in size. In fact, one yearly payment is enough to cover the costs of a web host for a year of service for unlimited disk capacity and bandwidth. I know, right?
– Value Added, supposedly. Promises include, no-ads, reduced wait times and… uh… that’s it. Wait. That’s it? Where’s my pause/resume? Where’s my download manager? Where’s my bookmarked list of recent downloads? How can I share this awesome file with friends? Okay okay, I think that’s clear. If you’re going to make us pay for downloads, do more. Provide a unique service. We go to the bakery because the hardware store doesn’t have the things we really love to eat there. It’s that basic.
– Questionable Content. Let’s face it folks, these sites exist to host files the contents of which are mostly ethically and morally questionable. On the front page at the very bottom you’ll spy a link to copyright policy because users host files which they are not entitled to share, and copyright stompers wear steel toed boots and can command governments to shut you down, so butt-best-covered is the only survivors path.
The fact of the matter is that Depositfiles and its ilk are not to blame for the demand. It was a response to a vacuum, like tape decks in a vinyl era, we loved the music and wanted our friends to hear it. CDs, MP3s, we’re going to find ways to share content. These days corporations have more power to push the means by which we do so than ever before, and little guys like Depositfiles are figuring out how to cash in on our habits.
Don’t get me wrong… but I am saying it’s wrong.
Depositfiles and its kind are artificial services with no necessary value when patience and ad-blockers completely nullify what they say they provide. They can, and should, do better, before asking you to pay them for a cleverly marketed lie.
Know when you’re being lied to, and don’t put up with it.
P.S. Ad.fly is at the very least honest, and should be the model to follow in this business, though the sleazy advertisements often served are not in any way welcome.