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Drop(site) Like It’s Hot: Alternatives to

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In our quest for a replacement, following its demise, I checked out quite a few options. Since drop-sites are used for different purposes, and since the alternatives offer a variety of functionalities and formats, we DO NOT have a winner. But, you wouldn’t get that impression from the unfair attention I’m about to give to . . .

MediaFire!, which was quite well-suited to our needs. We wanted a repository, away from our website, to store different groups of files, where we could direct others to view them. Our Marketing Group audio file archive looks like this. Simple enough, as is MediaFire. I say simple, but this site offers a host of free features, and some awesome premium options as well. Let me start with what I think is MediaFire’s best selling point: unlimited free storage. Yup. Even more amazing: MediaFire does not delete files, as long as they were uploaded by an account that is periodically logged-into. There is no download requirement to prevent deletion. And, if an account is deemed idle, the accountholder receives no less than three email notifications prior to any file removal. Files are perfectly easy to organize into subfolders, to password protect, to make private, etc. And, the site is not generally searchable, so your files are essentially private by default. Free accounts offer a maximum individual file size of 200 MB. Upgrades to “MediaPro” Accounts offer hotlink storage, which allows others to view your shared files without having to download them. Hot storage is available in the following amounts: 100 GB for $9/mo, 250 GB for $19/month, and 1000 GB for $69/mo. These accounts also offer brandable pages, custom URLs, encrypted transfers, and a lot of other features.

File Savr is cheap, but slightly less than convenient in having no free option, at $.99/mo, which provides 5 GB storage. For $5/mo, you get 25 GB, and for $10/mo, 100 GB. The individual file size limit for all plans is 5 GB. There are no apparent exciting features like MediaFire. Sorry.

File Dropper allows for an individual upload file size of 5 GB for free. Yes, that is larger than MediaFire; but, File Dropper has no aggregation, organization, or any other feature that MediaFire offers. And, on the free version, if a file sits without being downloaded for 30 days, it is deleted. You can pay $.99/mo to avoid such deletion. And, $5/mo allows for 50 GB individual file size, and $10/mo for 250 GB individual file size.

SpiderOak requires download. Ugh. Free accounts, which require you to join, only offer 2 GB of storage. Increments of 100 GB of storage can be purchased for $10/mo. This program also offers an online backup feature; but, it doesn’t seem — I have not tested it — as fluid as that of SugarSync, below.

SugarSync provides 5 GB of storage for free, with an individual file size limit of 25 MB, which expires after 21 days. More advanced plans offer 30 GB storage at $4.99/mo, 60 GB at $9.99/mo, 100 GB at $14.99/mo, 250 GB at $24.99/mo, and 500 GB at $39.99/mo. These plans offer some unique features, notably the online file backup. I didn’t test it because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of disabling it, since it occurs automatically after your initial backup. Slightly more advanced features on the business version include administrative controls of other users’ viewing and editing access.

If your drop-site needs extend to collaboration, there are some fancier alternatives, too…

Dropbox requires download. I’m downloading-software-averse. In any event, if you want to know anything, or everything, about Dropbox, Nerino Petro is your man.

Box (like Dropbox, after dropping the “drop”, or something…) is geared toward collaboration. The administrator can adjust settings for other users, which even reaches to password parameters and renewal requirements. Other features include reporting, group permissions, and custom branding, though whether that includes custom url is unspecified. Box’s personal level is free and offers 5 GB of storage, with an individual file size of 1 GB. A huge jump to 500 GB of storage costs $15/user/month (per user!). Custom packages with unlimited storage require quotes. I didn’t bother getting any quotes. Sorry.

If collaborating isn’t enough, and you want to sell your files, too…

Docstoc has that feature. As such, it is publicly searchable; but, you can make documents private, at your choosing.

Scribd, like Docstoc, allows you to sell files, and is more like a public research forum. Again, a simple checkbox allows you to privatize your documents (can the word “privatize” be used like that?). Scribd, however, automatically linked to my Facebook account to recommend stuff for me to read. Creeped out. The end.

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