Tuesday, February 15, 2011

4Shared: Not.

If you're currently using 4Shared's service, I would caution you to not try to use it as a file sharing/download service for your readers.  Here's what happened to me today, and (from the comments I've read at another blog) has happened to plenty of others, as well.

4Shared has crafted their website very carefully.  If you're looking to upload files to share, it's as easy as pie.  Registration is quick and simple, offers a snazzy app to help you upload things automatically, and makes getting set up and sharing files a breeze.  I went through that part of the process a couple of months ago when I needed a quick backup option.

But.

If you're on the download side of the coin, watch out.  Sure, they say you can download for free.  After a wait.

Okay, I thought.  No problem.

So, I bring up a few download pages with files shared by a fellow blogger.  I click on the links, wait the prescribed 90-ish seconds, and then click "Download".  The first file starts great.  The second file even begins to download concurrently.  Then, when I click on the third, I'm given a message that I'm already downloading a file from my IP address, and will need to wait until it's done to start another one.  Ugh.  But, it's free, so I figure I'll wait.  Again.  I carefully look past the fact that there are three computers sharing an internet connection in my home, and we all use the same portal IP address, so only one of us could download anything from 4Shared at any given time.

At this point it's annoying, but still doable.  (Hint to businesses . . . the LAST thing you want to do is annoy potential customers who have come to your website . . . people who may have come wanting to give you money.)

So, I wait until the file finishes, and go to click on the next download link.  Apparently each page has some kind of session, and it had expired.  Clicking the download link reloads the page.  At this point, I notice the "Log In" link, and think to myself: "I'll just log in; that should make things better,"  Right?  Right.

I log in, am greeted by cheerful text at the top of the page, and then click on the first "Download Now" link again.  I wait (this time for 240 seconds).  I'm surprised by the four minute wait, and am now graduating past the "annoyed" benchmark.

I manage to get back to the page before the session times out and requires another page reload and another wait, (because I'm not going to sit there and watch 240 seconds count down), and click on the second "Download Now" link.  At this point I have very little faith in the "Now" part.  My browser grinds for about 30 seconds, and then the page loads to an "Unable to connect to  . . . yadda yadda yadda."  {Insert expletive here.}

I click back and reload the page.

Click the initial "Download Now" button (which I now understand really means "Download Eventually, after we make you wait even LONGER, and reload the page a few more times"), and see that the wait THIS time is going to be 381 seconds.

Yep.  That's 6 minutes, 21 seconds.  And a serious slap in the face.

I even managed to get back to the page after the elapsed wait time, but before the session expired, and try the download yet again.  With no results. (Another "cannot connect to" page.)

4Shared, do you think that you will EVER, at any point in the remaining 50-or-so years of my life, EVER get any of my money?  EVER????  Or that I will tell anyone to use your service?

Quite the contrary.

Your extortionate tactics have just made sure that you have not only lost a customer, but have a very unhappy ex-customer on your hands, who feels tricked and abused.  My time has been wasted, the files I was hoping to download (which would have proven very useful in my tasks today) are now firmly out of reach, and I'm going to do all I can to see if I can influence my fellow blogger to switch to some other service.  Advertising free downloads when, in reality, no download is possible (but the user only learns that after wasting their time), is absolutely beyond the pale.

And life is too short for that.

{/rant}

2 comments:

Thimbleanna said...

Hmmmm. I've never even heard of 4Shared. Sorry it's such a pain.

I laughed when I got to your {/rant} -- to be "grammatically" (or is that syntactically?) correct, you're going to need a {rant} at the beginning of your post! ;-D

Annalea said...

lol Yep. You caught my bad syntax. (Bad Annalea . . . wives of software engineers should know better!)