One of the upsides of being injured is that I suddenly have a lot more time in my week. With a typical training week being anything from 8 to 11 hours, the time I spent on the road and the trail is temporarily freed up for other tasks. I’ve been cooking, I’ve been preparing muesli, I’ve been fitting in trips to the doctor and to the radiologist, too, but I’ve also been catching up with some of the organisational tasks that take a little time but can help out immensely in the longer term.
One of those small tasks has been getting out of Dropbox – dropping Dropbox, if you will – after a couple of years as a subscriber and happy customer. The reasons for quitting this rather useful service are multiple, but basically come down to the following:
- the annual costs
- the Dropbox offer
- competing options
First, Dropbox currently charges $99 a year for my Dropbox Pro subscription. For this, I get 1TB of space, the wonderful and reliable sync across all of my devices and operating systems, and a sort of store-and-forget-about-it-until-you-need-it workflow. I never thought I would fill up that 1TB but, after a few years, I almost got there as I topped out at the 850GB level.
However, while Dropbox used to the be the only name in town for cloud storage and sync, it’s no longer the case. And the $99 a year is competitive with other cloud sync services, but it is not the cheapest. Amazon offers a cheaper annual plan and Google Drive is the same price as Dropbox but offers more free storage space with the same sort of restrictions on file size as Dropbox. With money tightening up, I can’t justify spending $99 a year on Dropbox when I can figure out cheaper options.
Second, Dropbox has been chopping and changing their business up in a way that doesn’t give me a lot of faith in their management or their future direction. I was a happy user of the email app Mailbox, for example, which Dropbox recently canned after doing very little to push forward since they acquired it. I was also a happy user of Carousel, the photo app, which Dropbox also recently shuttered. Both moves could be a sign that Dropbox is focusing on their core cloud storage and sync business instead of some ancillary products. But it could also be a sign that management is cutting back on creativity as the reality of the cloud storage industry – no longer new and definitely more crowded – hits home. Will Dropbox even be a thing in a couple of years? Who knows – but I’m not going to be betting $99 a year that they will be.
Third, there are just so many other options out there that can fulfill my needs for cloud storage and sync. Google Drive, for one, offers me more than 30 GB of storage with my dylankissane.com account. Amazon, too, offers me cloud storage as part of my Amazon Prime membership, too, and Prime is something I use weekly to shop and to ship, so the cloud storage is a nice bonus feature of their offer. Dropbox, too, offers me some free storage space which, for the basics like my password manager vault and my custom dictionary, is more than enough.
So I have options, and over the last week or so I have been downloading the hundreds of gigabytes of data on my Dropbox to my Mac and then transferring most of it to an external hard drive. While it is obvious that the hard drive won’t sync with all of my devices and is not quite as convenient as having access to every file on every device whenever I want it, it’s also not necessary for most of the files I’ll store there. If I want to watch an episode of The West Wing or host a Rocky movie marathon I can copy and paste the files onto the DVR in a few seconds – or just plug the hard drive into the TV directly and browse hundreds of movies and a thousand TV episodes directly.
Dropping Dropbox will save me money, inconvenience me little, and I wouldn’t be surprised if others are in the process of doing the same, or about to. Thanks for the great service, Team Dropbox, but I’m leaving all the same.