Tuesday, 16 April 2013

DropBox - slimy, insidious bastards who own a cool app

So ok i finally gave in and bought a smartphone.

It's not that i gave in really. It's because soon i will have a valid reason to own one - that i will be relocating to another country and i'll not have a job.

It's a South East Asian country and one thing they do have is cellphone coverage.

So anyway a smartphone looks like a sensible investment - GPS, translator, access to my data no matter where i am. Well, that's the theory.

I've been migrating into the cloud for about 3 years. Maybe "migration" isn't the best term - let's think of it more as setting up residence there - i'll pretty much never really trust any of them - so as well as having everything in the cloud i still have multiply backed up originals in 2TB disks located in two countries. If i could mount those safely somewhere it would be even better.

Back to my new smartphone. I detest Apple as a company (even more than i detest Microsoft and way more than i detest google) so i went with a Samsung.

The new Galaxy S4 is about to be released so i figured that S3s would be in that sweet spot of being still very useful but not so expensive - i got one for just over AUD$400.

The only hiccup was that my SIM card was too big but a quick trip to a local chinese phone shop soon trimmed it down to size.

I spent the weekend setting it up and playing with it.

Because i have already established myself in the cloud (google, Microsoft, Amazon, skype, VOIP, yahoo - you name it) and all my contacts, feeds, docs and all my thousands of photos are already on line, i was very quickly up and running with full access to everything i have access to on my desk and lap tops.

You could say that i'm way ahead of most people - in fact i am pretty sure i am (if you allow for the fact that 90% of the crap available as "apps" is games and low-brow "entertainment" and i don't have any of that).

So, pre-installed on my shiny new S3 is DropBox.

I'd tried DropBox on my desktop - sharing between work and home but i was not very impressed - in fact i thought it was rubbish compared to what i have with skydrive and google drive so i'd uninstalled it.

But i thought i'd give it another try on the smartphone. Ah slick - very slick - very well integrated into the phone.

And then i got an email saying i could have 48GB of free storage if i carried out 5 of 7 steps....

Of course no matter how you cut it one of those steps is to rat on a friend by coughing up their email address - a hot lead so to speak.

Of course i just used one of my many email addresses (i literally have an infinite number of them as i made the good investment of a low cost domain presence through goDaddy - as well as all the others - gmail, outlook, yahoo and lots of others all managed through my gmail account)

So now i'm being bombarded by very clever marketing spam from dopbox - both sides.

And get this - that so-called "free"48GB is only free for 24 months.

Talk about an insidious bunch of slimy crooked scum - they lure you into using as much on line space as they can possibly get you to use - and then they'll drop a big rental fee on you - when you're committed.

Well DropBox let me tell you that your business model might work with dumb people who have more money than sense - but anyone with any skill whatsoever (or the right app which will indeed soon appear) - will use the free 2GB as a staging location for their camera managed through their other systems.

I've shared my DropBox with my other more powerful and more generous systems - and now it's just a folder.

DropBox reminds me of Excite - was my absolutely favourite search engine and way better than google at the time but they rushed to monetize it. The rest is history.

If you want to dominate the market you have to have deep pockets and a long term strategy. Only once you have killed off all the real competition should you think about how to make money from things.

DropBox - cool and nicely integrated app owned by a bunch of impatient marketing clowns.