RapidShare is one of the most well known file storage and transfer services on the web. But today it’s angered a lot of users by introducing severe new limits on free account downloads.
Remember the days of dial-up Internet? Well, RapidShare is taking free account holders back to those days by limiting downloads speeds to just 30kb/s. If that wasn’t enough to make that multi-gigabyte file download painful, if it stops downloading for some reason e.g. your connection times out, you no longer have the option to resume as that feature has been disabled.
As a final kick in the teeth for free users, it looks as though RapidShare has also introduced pauses to every download. So while it may look like a download has stalled, it is in fact RapidShare pausing the download on purpose, which makes downloading take even longer.
Of course, there is a very easy way to bypass all these problems: pay for a premium RapidPro account. It looks as if all these hurdles to downloading using a free account are meant to act as a big hint to users that they should upgrade and pay for the privilege of using the service.
I suspect many users won’t take the hint and instead will look to other services for downloading and sharing large files. After all, RapidPro isn’t exactly cheap. 30 days costs $12.90, 150 days is $39, or you can get 2 years access for $130.
RapidShare will no doubt monitor how the changes to the free account impact use and upgrades. If they see more people leaving than upgrading, I’m sure the download speed cap will be increased and resume functionality re-implemented.