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Recently I asked you to take a sneak peek at www.Dilbertfiles.com. It's a subscription service that lets you send, receive, and store huge files online.

Your comments were hugely helpful. Thank you for taking the time. Most of the comments were along the lines of "Why would anyone pay for something they can get for free from a dozen different web sites?" There is a good answer, but evidently it wasn't obvious from the site. So we totally redesigned the interface to service that question.

The fast answer is that the free file sending services are a good substitute for dilbertfiles.com in the same way that walking is a free substitute for driving a car. Walking works perfectly until you want to go shopping out of town on a rainy day. It's a features and convenience thing.

The free file sending services are fine if all you want to do is send a photo of your cat to your mom. And the file isn't too large. And you don't care who might see it. And you don't mind the extra steps. And you are sending, not receiving. And you don't want to store the file online for long. And you only want to send it to one person.

But if you are in a business where you routinely send and receive huge files, you'll want an extra level of security and convenience. And you'll probably be moving files that are much larger than the free services handle. I use Dilbertfiles.com to move my own artwork to my syndication company and to my publisher.

This week I bought the rights to a photo that had been taken of me for a magazine. It was an especially good picture and I needed an updated one for publicity purposes. The photographer's company sent me the photo on a CD, via Fedex. What a pain. If they had Dilbertfiles.com, and used the Outlook plug-in, they could have e-mailed me the file with just a few keystrokes. (None of the free services could have handled files of that size.)

I figure there are several million businesses that move huge files around daily and don't know this sort of service would make their lives easier. If they pick Dilbertfiles.com, they get all the benefits plus they can watch a free slideshow of Dilbert comics in the interface while their file is being sent.

I got involved in this project to justify writing a free blog every day. I searched for a type of online service that could help a lot of people if they simply knew it existed. The beauty of this business model is that if you simply forward the Dilbertfiles.com link to a colleague who might find it useful, you will, for all practical purposes, be leaving me a digital tip for my work without spending any of your own money.

Is this a new business model? I haven't seen it in this precise form.
 
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-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 21, 2008
Great job! Have you considered pitching this to government and other public institutions trying to conserve bandwidth? In an environment when everybody dog is required to review that Word document, PowerPoint or PDF, it's something that's required. Maybe offer the service with non-Dilbert branding (because you know lawmakers couldn't justify letting government employees read Dilbert comics).

 
 
Nov 21, 2008
I have ambivalent attidude to this service. I could use it (I don't think that anybody - from my client - is so mean, or stupid, to be offended by picture of Dilbert), but in my opinion it is too expensive - in comparing with others services like Carbonite back up (two-years of unlimited back-up for $89,95) or rapidshare (premium account for €54 / year)...
 
 
Nov 21, 2008
The question that you (Scott) should really be asking is: what unique value am I adding to this function that makes it more attractive than a competing system?

In other words, if this wonderful file-sending-system turns into a huge runaway money-making success, then it is going to be copied. When a company like Google, Microsoft or Yahoo, who have $millions in resources decide to duplicate the functions of your service, what are you providing that will keep customers using your service?

In your case, it's a picture of Dilbert. I'm not sure if that's enough extra "value" for your business to succeed.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 21, 2008
In the example you give from your pesonal experiance, the problem is not with the guy mailing you the photo, but with you not having the "dropbox" fiture that is only available to busness users! You are a small busness of one(?)... you should get the busniess plan :P . Why isn't the drop box feature part of the personal plan? I could use that.

I have been intrigued with the idea of online storage for personal use, but am leary of the free services for security and priviacy reasons. The same with online applications. What does the fine print of your service say regarding these issues?
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 21, 2008
Аctually, right now I am sitting in the office. 7.30 pm here. Friday. Everyone else is enjoying this year's first Boujoule. I am waiting for the client to bring the USB stick with missing Data Room files.

FTTP option was denied as not safe enuogh.

Would I like to use secure, fast system to send huge files on-line right now? Yes. Would I be able to bill the costs on the client? Probably. Would my office cover my expenses anyway? Yes.

Would I use the secure, fast system, sharing the title with my beloved comic strip for communication with a client? NEVER.

I would not mind if somebody sends me a file with a guy shaging a donkey while file loads, as long as the system works. But as an associate in a leading (regionally) legal firm I can't be that casual with clients.

ps: English is not my native language, but it seems a few people misunderstood 'justify' in Scott's blog.
 
 
Nov 21, 2008
Since one of the common reasons new ventures fail is because owners dont do the appropraite research and over estimate their market size, I'm curious if you've done any reasearch to substantiate what you figure to be millions of businesses moving large files around. (I agree with your assumption, just curious if any actual research was involved.)

Add to that, how many of those businesses will pay for services that add to their employees convenience and personal enjoyment, as i'd assume thats what sets you apart from the competition, whose premium service offerings are probably fairly similar to yours (or will be shortly if they prove successful with your venture.)
 
 
Nov 21, 2008

My organization uses MoveIt to accomplish this task. See the following link:

http://www.ipswitchft.com/products/moveit/central/

It can "push" or "pull" large files either automatedly or on-demand.

-- DaveSlash
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 21, 2008
FTP is only a good solution if you set up a new FTP account for every one of your clients, and if you have a good secure FTP server. That's a viable option for some companies, but its less intuitive for most clients, and its not an option at all for many of the companies Scott is targetting.
 
 
Nov 21, 2008
FTP
 
 
 
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