Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What's wrong with RapidShare?

A lot of gay men use file sharing web sites for videos, TV excerpts, etc. And one that was quite popular was RapidShare. But of late they have become very, very problematic.

I first started reading complaints about them in various discussion groups. People said they suddenly were being diverted from the “free download” service for various reasons and told that they needed to sign up for the premium, pay service.

Then I ran into the same problem. I would go to download a file and be told that I had reached my limit and must wait for a certain period of time. The problem was I had not downloaded anything. I wrote them about the problem and was told it would be because of other people downloading via the “proxy-server” as myself. False. It simply wasn’t happening as the system I use is a private ISP used by only two people and the other person had been away all day.

I explained this to them and got an entirely different reply claiming something else was happening. It seemed as if virtually every time I tried to use RapidShare I got one message or another informing me that I needed to sign up for the paid premium service. My favorite was when I started getting messages saying that due to my inputting the wrong code several times in a row I had to wait to re-enter the queue or, once again I could join the premium service. The problem was that this error was the first that came up even before I had an opportunity to enter the code. In fact no code was shown at all. It went straight to the error message.

I got an email with a file to download from RapidShare so I thought I would try them again. Once again I was told that I had used all my download allotment today and would have to wait 37 minutes before trying again. Or I could pay the premium payment. After 37 minutes I tried one more time, figuring it would be a waste but not having anything to lose. And once again I was told I had just used my allotment up again and had to wait two hours before I could try again. Or I could pay for the premium service.

Now the fact is that none of this was a problem before. It cropped up quite suddenly and RapidShare couldn’t give a consistent, coherent explanation for one problem after another.

Now let me say they have the right to charge for their service if they want. But their “free” service is one which still generates revenue for them via the ads they place there. If they want to charge for services then let them do so.

What I suspect is that they may be intentionally manipulating the site so that these error messages false appear to try and force users of the free, limited service, into joining the paid premium service. They certainly have no desire to solve the problem as my numerous emails back and forth with them clearly indicates. In fact at one point I had joined their premium service for a limited time but not when I was forced to do so due to malfunctions, accidental or intentional.

But with I certainly won’t be doing that again. And the reason I won’t is because of the way they have handled this problem -- or manufactured this problem, whichever the case may be. I have noticed that some people have started using www.sendspace.com for file transfers. And so far I’ve had none of the problems that RapidShare is creating or experiencing.

So for what it’s worth I recommend that those using RapidShare for their filing sharing reconsider the wisdom of using this company.

I had hoped that it was a temporary problem they would fix. But the lack of a consistent explanation causes me to suspect, hopefully wrongly, that there is intentional manipulation of their customers to force them to the paid premium service. And while I’m not opposed to them charging for a service if they wish I become unhappy when I suspect manipulation that is not entirely truthful. So I hope the readers of this blog will look for other sources for file sharing.

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