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Please take a sneak peek at my new service for sending files that are so large your e-mail can't handle them. It's called dilbertfiles.com. I'd like your opinion before I do a general launch.

http://www.dilbertfiles.com/


First, some background. I often used a service called sendyourfiles.com to move my own large art files to United Media (my syndicator), to my publisher (Andrews McMeel Publishing), and other business associates. I also used the service to send large photos and videos that e-mail couldn't handle. Every person who received a large file from me in this convenient way said some version of "Hey, I could use this myself."

So I contacted the owners of sendyourfiles.com and worked out a deal for a branded version of their service that we call dilbertfiles.com. They do the business end, and I help spread the word. It's a great tool, so I enjoy letting people know about it.

As the more technical among you know, there are a number of options for sending large files. Some of them are even free, although without the features or convenience of dilbertfiles.com. For example, with Dilbertfiles.com you can download a plug-in for Outlook and send large files without even going through a web page. And if you do use the browser interface instead, you get to watch some free Dilbert comics while your file is transmitted. You also get to watch Dogbert vigorously whip the progress bar, which feels better than you'd imagine.

As the number of traditional newspapers continues to shrink, this is the sort of thing that will help keep Dilbert free online. If you know anyone who moves large files around for work, or for fun, please do them and me a favor by forwarding the link.

[Update: The link was broken when I first posted. Now corrected.]

 
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Nov 24, 2008
Sounds like a great service. Circa 1998. Seriously, I don't know many people that have much need to transfer large (> 10 MB) files. The few that spring to mind have a persistent internet connection and a server. The era for services like this is kinda behind us.

Even if something were to crop up, everyone knows someone like me -- someone with a public server sitting on a FiOS connection with 4 TB of disk space and Windows SharePoint Services (or similar collaboration software). I don't mind sharing my server with friends and family, and I have plenty to spare. I mean... a 1 TB hard disk costs $140 in a retail store. Storage is almost free, anymore, and "real" bandwidth isn't expensive, either.

[You don't think people would be willing to pay $10 per month to avoid calling you? -- Scott]
 
 
Nov 15, 2008
Hi Scott, - perhaps too late to post a comment to this blog entry, (sorry, I have been swamped) but I am going to do so anyway. First, I see some others have already pointed out the pricing is slanted at folks who have no clue that such services are generally either free or next to free. That said, I think there IS a market for services like this but they will need to be innovative in order to take off. By innovative, I don't mean having Dogbert whip the progress bar.

For years we've been hearing that "micropayments" were going to be a big thing. Some of the statements around them were silly like "1 penny per email to stop the spammers" (who would then just hack real people's accounts and the real people would get the bill". However, a micropayment system with no monthly fee would make sense for the casual user. Advertise it like "25 cents per file that is under 10 MB" or something. I realize that the specs you show on the pricing page are around more permanent storage (1 person uploads and maybe it gets downloaded many times to many computers - which costs in bandwidth). However, the true "send someone a file" doesn't result in permanent storage. So, a "per file" plan with maybe 3 downloads allowed and then the file is deleted may be attractive to some. This would not include the 'backup' part of the existing service. Most people are tired of cell phone like plans where you pay even if you don't use the service.

Another thing - if there is any decent security on this to speak of you should call that out right up front. (You have it in the FAQ, but I shouldn't have to go there). Even call it out in the "movie" where Dilbert sends Alice a file: have Wally try to hack it and get rejected (and have him get some consequence - darned by Phil, wedgie by the dino guy, etc.). And, you probably want to call out what your privacy plan is. For example when you start talking about "huge files", you have to know that besides comics Photoshop files you will be getting copyrighted material, and let's say "less than legal" material - something about kids. People will want to know if you will end up giving your logs to the first government agency that requests them. Privacy policy - you need to have that up front, in bold.

Last comment. You mention Windows a lot and Outlook, etc. You also say "web browser", but you don't mention other operating systems specifically. You say that you can always use the web browser, but it actually sounds like that is slanted at Windows '95 users (the 2 that are left). You should call out, "works in Firefox on Ubuntu Linux" or "Works in Safari on Mac OS X" or something so that those of us on other Operating Systems know. For example this post was done from Firefox on Ubuntu.

Anyway - innovate and you should be fine. Just copy something already available in sufficient quantity with the only real change being your Dilbert characters and its an also ran.
 
 
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Nov 14, 2008
Definitely looks like a service created by Dogbert. I would suggest extra additions that would be irresistible to his favorite market niche. Have the files arrive in your favorite designer color; increase security by sending the files upside down; include a free virus infected ringtone that sells your text message address to the Russian mafia; little things like that.

I was paying comics.com $10 a year to get the comic delivered in e-mail and was happy to do so. As a nice filip it came with other comics. Now the whole thing is free complete with new animation features and ad supported just in time for the advertising recession. That looks like a business plan from a certain pointed haired person.

I think a better idea could be ripped from the late Oral Roberts. Announce you are going to retire to Fuji unless everyone ponies up a donation via Pay Pal.
 
 
Nov 14, 2008
Yes, as others have been saying, too expensive, and tech savvy people already know of good alternatives. Also, I notice that the price structure is exactly the same on the Dilbertfiles version, which leaves me no reason to prefer it to the original service.

Scott, I love your comic, and have bought many of the Dilbert books. I know that you want to make money by as many Dilbert spinoffs as possible, and I respect that; you're an entrepreneur. But the Dilbert trademark is not going to persuade me to buy some unrelated product.
 
 
Nov 13, 2008
oh boy ...

This really seems like a sell-out venture. Dilbert doesn't - okay, it may have a vague office link - really have a huge relevance in the site idea, and it really seems like a very obvious commercialisation of the comic.

Furthermore, the heavy price .. it isn't worth the money at all. Keep it free first, or the opportunity cost wouldn't be worth it -- the cash spent here could be better on other providers.

You need to come up with an edge to it, for example, secure backup, support to all file extensions, antivirus, etc., or make the Dilbert element more relevant, instead of giving users a feeling of "I could do away with this".

I might be giving terrible ideas (tell me if I'm using the term "opportunity cost" wrongly) ... I'm seventeen
 
 
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Nov 12, 2008
Great idea for the collaboration, and great execution too!

.. BUT, for this to take off, you need critical mass and for critical mass, you need a free lite version first.
 
 
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Nov 12, 2008
www.pando.com
 
 
Nov 12, 2008
I initially got a "when is it available?" from my colleagues until I looked at the proposed price. It is WAAAAAAYYYY too expensive and we would never sign up. Although the outlook plug-in is attractive.

At our data transfer usage level, we would have to use the Enterprise level, but at this point it is far cheaper (by a factor of 10 or more) to keep our FTP site and use the free services when our customers want to.

I initially thought from (admittedly quickly) scanning the article that the revenues were generated by adverts. I guess I should pay better attention.
 
 
Nov 12, 2008
I initially got a "when is it available?" from my colleagues until I looked at the proposed price. It is WAAAAAAYYYY too expensive and we would never sign up. Although the outlook plug-in is attractive.

At our data transfer usage level, we would have to use the Enterprise level, but at this point it is far cheaper (by a factor of 10 or more) to keep our FTP site and use the free services when our customers want to.

I initially thought from (admittedly quickly) scanning the article that the revenues were generated by adverts. I guess I should pay better attention.
 
 
Nov 12, 2008
I initially got a "when is it available?" from my colleagues until I looked at the proposed price. It is WAAAAAAYYYY too expensive and we would never sign up. ALthough the outlook plug-in is attractive.

At our data transfer usage level, we would have to use the Enterprise level, but at this point it is far cheaper (by a factor of 10 or more) to keep our FTP site and use the free services when our customers want to.

I initially thought from (admittly quickly) scanning the article that the revenues were generated by adverts. I guess I should pay better attention.
 
 
Nov 12, 2008
One small problem (at least for me) would be that my company blocks all websites that don't have a "category". I have no idea what that means, other than I can't get to the site from work - which would seriously decrease my use of it. Soooo... I don't know how one goes about categorizing one's website, but you might consider looking into it.
 
 
Nov 12, 2008
To be honest, it seems like a sort of bizarre collaboration.

There is a free service called DropBox (www.getdropbox.com) that I've been incredibly impressed with. They give you 2GB and it eliminates all the technical stuff like ftp, wget, etc.

Watch the video on their site. I hope it stays free. I think its far better than mediafire or sendyourfiles.com etc.
 
 
Nov 12, 2008
Much as we all love Dilbert, I think your business sales would increase if "Dilbert" wasn't in the product name. While the people who would actually use the product are probably Dilbert fans, the people who make the purchasing decisions are probably the same ones who get offended when their subordinates post your comics on their cubical walls....
 
 
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Nov 12, 2008
Linux fanboy here, I use mostly scp and wget.
They have the advantage that if it's something you have to do it often you can automatize it.
If it's for job, you don't want flash or animations or bloat in the way, and you can afford to learn the tools.
 
 
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Nov 11, 2008
Wow. The price is too steep. Scott, you've got to be at par with the competition.
 
 
Nov 11, 2008
I saw more typos than have been mentioned that I was too lazy to list. Sorry. I almost did, which is probably not something I should brag about.
 
 
Nov 11, 2008
It's very interesting. I like it. Probably won't never have to use it, but I like it. What happened to dilbert4sale.com?
 
 
Nov 11, 2008
Judging by the comments here, it appears that the success of a service like this relies on users not knowing there are free, sufficient alternatives already out there. [In the same way that walking is a free and sufficient alternative to driving a car. It depends what features you need. -- Scott]
 
 
Nov 11, 2008
Hhhmmm... does that mean I can finally take a picture of an elephant and send it over the Internet, without fearing someone will get squashed?!
 
 
Nov 11, 2008
Great Idea,

I deal with Audio and Video recordings and we always get asked "well can't you just email the files" when you are dealing with a 100MB file no one can send that large an email so we always go back to the physical media. this would be useful for that. I'm going to be passing this on to our IT Department now.
 
 
 
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