My docs online switches from free to fee

If you're one of the few Web surfers still looking for free stuff online, you will no longer find it at My Docs. The three-year-old Web storage company has discontinued its free service, switching entirely to a paid model.

My Docs Online Inc. customers must now pay US$9.95 per quarter for the premium service, which provides 50MB of storage space instead of 20MB. It also includes a Public Folders feature, which lets you share your files with other surfers; and a wireless feature, through which you can access and e-mail files from any Internet-connected wireless device.

My Docs is not alone in making the move to a paid model. Many of its one-time competitors have already begun charging for Web storage. Driveway Corp., one of the most popular online storage services, discontinued its free service in March, and did the same in June.

My Docs gave its customers about two weeks warning, via e-mail, of its policy change. However, the company had announced earlier this year that it would stop accepting new users for the free service. My Docs then pledged to continue supporting users who already had signed up for and were using the free service.

Lack of bandwidth

"We had a conflict," says Steve Dempsey, My Docs Online's president, explaining the decision to end the free service. "Our free users were competing for our resources, the same resources that our paying customers were spending money on. We decided that this move was in the best interest of our paying customers."

Users of the free service were draining the company's available bandwidth, causing performance problems for both free and paid users, Dempsey says.

"Uploading and downloading files, especially the larger video or MP3 files that a lot of the free users were storing, requires a lot of bandwidth, and bandwidth is what people notice," Dempsey says.

Instead of making money from advertising, as was My Docs' original plan, the company now is positioning itself as a service for mobile businesspeople.

"We started as a very Web-centric company, but our focus now is very much on wireless. We help businessmen and -women access the files they need, wherever they are and on whatever device they may be using," Dempsey says.

A FreeDrive no more?

The scenario is familiar. Even FreeDrive, a holdout in the free storage space arena, seems to be reconsidering its business model. In March, Mike Ferconio, FreeDrive's vice president of corporate development, said the company would "always offer a free service."

Ferconio is no longer with the company, but the current vice president of marketing, Donna Williams, won't make the same commitment.

"I don't think any company can say 'always,'" she says.

FreeDrive still offers a free storage service, although customers only are allowed 5MB of space. When the company was launched in 1998, it offered users 50 MB of space. Williams says FreeDrive may discontinue its free service, but declines to give details, saying only that it will take appropriate steps to notify customers when and if that happens.

FreeDrive supports its free service by requiring users to sign up for e-mail newsletters, Williams says. The company earns money by selling the advertising space in those newsletters.

Ready to pay up?

Will users, accustomed to online freebies, be willing to pay up? The folks at My Docs Online know that not everyone will be. Fewer than 5 percent of the company's home users upgraded to the paid model in the first days after they were notified of the change, says Steve Campbell, the company's product manager. But nearly 60 percent of the business users have upgraded, he adds.

Dempsey and Campbell both consider the switch to a fee-based service only a step in the right direction.

"This is absolutely a positive step," Campbell says. "It says that our paid version was successful enough that we simply had too many free users."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Liane Gouthro

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?