MediaFire today went live with its Desktop cloud storage service, offering offers users up to 1TB of capacity for just $2.50 a month for newcomers. The service normally charges $5 for 1TB of online capacity, but chopped that price in half for a limited time as part of its initial launch.
MediaFire offers up to 50GB of free space, compared with 2GB offered by other popular services.
For example, Dropbox offers an initial 2GB of free space; by referring others to the service, users can obtain up to 16GB free capacity.
But, MediaFire's 50 free gigabytes comes with a large hitch. Users begin with 10GB of free storage and in order to get the full 50GB, they have to download MediaFire's mobile app, desktop app, and link to Twitter or Facebook.
"This should get users up to the 25 gig mark, the rest can be collected through signing up friends," said Brent Brucci, a spokesman for MediaFire. "I understand that this is a complicated process, and we are looking to phase it out over time, however, it does encourage consumers to use their cloud storage in a 'social' manner, which makes them more likely to sign up for a paid account."
Users have the ability to purchase storage a year up front and secure the $2.50-per month, per 1TB pricing.
"We went after a flat pricing model to make it as simple to use as possible. Our special will be running until late August, and may continue on if our registration numbers continue to be strong," Derek Labian, CEO and founder of MediaFire, said in an email response to Computerworld.
The Houston-based MediaFire, founded in 2006, said it owns all of its servers and network infrastructure, which allows it to undercut the cost of competitive services such as Dropbox, Carbonite, Google Drive, Apple iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive. It also claims its service is more secure than competitors who rely on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
In a blog post announcing the service, MediaFire singled out competitors that rely on AWS, which it called "cost prohibitive" and a potential security and privacy risk.
Labian said the company encrypts data in transmission via the Secure Sockets Layer protocol.
"Data is securely stored on our own equipment which we maintain direct physical control over as opposed to being stored on a 3rd party service," Labian said. "We never have and never will share user data with any 3rd party service. Unlike Google, we do not mine your data in or order to show you contextual advertising."
Last month, Google slashed the price of its cloud service by as much as 80%. The price for 100GB of capacity on Google Drive dropped from $4.99 to $1.99; the price for 1TB of capacity plummeted from $49.99 to $9.99; and the service is now offering 10TB of storage for $99.99.
Dropbox charges $9.99 a month for 100GB.
MediaFire's service has virtually no limits on file sizes for uploads. Users can upload files up to 20GB in size, "when using native 64-bit browsers such as Firefox."
MediaFire Desktop, a free application for OS X and Windows, allows users to upload, store and share content in the cloud, directly from their desktop and mobile devices. The service synchronizes data to a customer's OS X and Windows computers that are also connected via the application.
As with other file-sharing services, MediaFire allows multiple users to collaborate on projects by sharing folders and files and offering controls on who can edit and who can view content. Users can invite others to connect through the service by sending a link through Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloggr or email. There is also embedded-link sharing for online blogging platforms.
The application also has an "Activity Feed" that keeps track of a user's activity on MediaFire, including updates to files made by other users, new files received and system status messages.
The service automatically tracks specific file versions. Files can be organized by date, edit history and type. The service also has an automatic duplicate removal feature.
The company said it is also developing applications for iOS and Android mobile devices to use the service.
"These will be available over the next few weeks, and will introduce a host of new features, including automatic photo-syncing directly from your Android mobile device," the company wrote in its blog.
The service also offers a tool that allows users to take a screen shot and automatically share it with other users of a file sharing list they create.
Since launching a beta in November, MediaFire claims more than 2 million users have used its Desktop application.
As part of its service's launch, the company also announced upgrades to its beta, including an overhaul of its APIs and Developer Resource Portal, a software development kit (SDK) to enable integration of the service directly into applications.
"Native SDKs will be coming for all major platforms and languages. For more information, or to enroll in our beta development program," the company said.
Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.