November 21, 2008
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.