Following in the great web 2.0 tradition of having a cute name and throwing some awesome launch parties, New York based Drop.Io has started to make a splash on the scene after receiving their second round of funding in March and opening themselves up to the public. The question remains however, what exactly is the site and why should we sign up for yet another 2.0 service?
Simple File Sharing
The idea behind drop.io is that the user can have simple, private file sharing with no fuss. The user doesn't even need to have a valid email address to send a file to the service and if you really want it to be open, it need not have a password. What is a Drop? Files, or "drops" as they are called can live on the site anywhere from a day to a year and have a unique URL, which you either make up yourself or have randomly assigned by the service.
What really sets the service apart from the traditional file sharing site is the myriad of ways that exist to send information to the service and the inclusion of notes, which elevate the site into an attractive way to manage projects or collaborate. Files can be sent via the Web, via cell phones on a MMS or SMS and even, if you can believe people still use these, via fax machine or voicemail. Uses for Drop.io The company was founded by Sam Lessin and Darshan Somashekar after they realized it was tedious to share files using traditional FTP servers and they wanted an easier (likely more attractive) way to share files. Potential uses for drop.io could be small start ups with little resources, students doing group projects and independent professionals who need to access data and don't want to have to carry around easy to lose flash drives or bulky extra hard drives.
There's also the added advantage of privacy: the terms of service state they won't monitor drops and since you don't have to give them your email, all they'll have is an IP address.
Challenges For Drop.io
Unmonitored File Sharing The biggest obstacle I can see for drop.io is the huge potential that exists for people to share illegal files. The terms of service explicitly state that your drops are private and they won't be monitoring the content of the files, so this could become a problem for them in the future if they are not careful. Making Money Naturally the biggest question whenever a hot new startup comes on to the scene is how do they plan on making money? Right now, drop.io is offering "premium drops": $10.00 for 1GB of storage, shorter domain name and up to one year of access.
With the ink barely drying on the check of their second round of funding and the fact that they are so new, it's likely that drop.io's founders are more concerned with getting a user base than with how they are going to pay the bills on their new office space in Brooklyn.
For now, they are getting some positive attention from blogs like productivity gurus Lifehacker who not only have been covering the site pretty extensively; they just nominated them for "Best File Sharing Service".
While Lifehacker's obsessively organized audience will likely take to the service in their endless quest for the next project management high, it remains to be seen whether or not it will catch on with people outside of that circle.
Hopefully, such a useful, well designed site with so much potential will be used for good and not evil and won't get bogged down.