I learned about Dropload as a result of K-12 Online the last few months, as a great website to use to transfer large files to other people without sending email attachments and bogging down mailservers and email accounts. The article “Peer-to-peer gets personal” from November 1st lists a veritable plethora of other sites offering similar file transfer services for free or for a charge, depending on several factors. According to the article:

Each service has its own twist. The website-based ones let you upload files and then send links to your friends to view or download them. MediaMax, for instance, lets you store 25 gigabytes for free and then collects $5 to $30 a month, depending on how much you upload. Fabrik’s recently launched Myfabrik offers 1 gigabyte for free and then charges a monthly fee of 49 cents per gigabyte thereafter. It encourages people to use the service for all the pictures and music they want to share on social-networking sites like MySpace.

Some of the private file sharing web service sites mentioned in the article include:

Some of these sites are offering services for file backup too that should catch users’ attention. For example, MediaMax XL Beta Software:

…is a Windows application that automatically backs up your files and syncs files between computers.

At least while it remains in beta, MediaMax XL is free.

As a Mac user and .Mac subscriber I’ve been using Backup 3 software for several months now, and am looking forward to the upcoming release of Leopard (OS 10.5) which will include Timemachine. More people (on all platforms) need to be using backup solutions regularly, and it is interesting to see the number of tools designed to meet this need also proliferating.

A key takeaway lesson for all Internet users should be that when it comes to large files, people should NOT think “file attachment” but instead think “free private file sharing web service.” Once you’ve had your email system (I’m particularly thinking of my own experiences with MS Exchange Server email accounts) bogged down or totally disabled by large email attachments, the need for web services like these becomes readily apparent. It will be interesting to see if Google, Microsoft, or other “major players” in the web services arena purchase one or more of these private file sharing startups and add them to their repertoire of online web services. Given the popularity of these sites, their utility and the continuing need we’ll have in the years ahead to share large files with others, purchases of companies like these by “bigger fish” seem likely.

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