RapidShare is a one-click hosting service that offers only commercial services. Operating from Switzerland, it is financed by the subscriptions of paying users. RapidShare claimed in 2009 to have 10 petabytes of files uploaded by users to its servers and that it was able to handle up to three million users simultaneously.
One of the most popular sites on the Web is one that many people have not heard of. This site is Rapidshare, one of the world’s largest and most-used file-hosting sites.
Rapidshare is strictly a file-hosting site. In other words, you can’t use Rapidshare to find anything that other people have uploaded. Here’s how Rapidshare works:
- Navigate to Rapidshare.
- Click the “Browse” button to find a file on your computer that you’d like to upload.
- Click the “Upload” button.
- Your file is uploaded.
Once your file is uploaded, you’ll receive a unique download link and a unique delete link. The download link can be shared and downloaded ten times; after that, you’ll have to set up a Collector’s Account (free; you can earn points towards selected rewards) or a Premium Account (not free). You’ll also get an option to email someone your file download link directly from this page.
Once you share your file download link with someone, they will see two choices: Free User, and Premium User. If they’d rather not pay to download your file (most people choose this option), they can click the Free User button. Non-paying Rapidshare users have to wait from 30 to 149 seconds, depending on the size of the file, before they are able to download. Premium users do not have to wait, plus they have other benefits, such as simultaneous multiple downloads.
That’s about it – and that’s exactly why Rapidshare has become one of the most used sites worldwide. It’s simple, it’s quick, and you don’t have to jump through a lot of hoops to get your file uploaded and shared.
RapidShare was founded by Christian Schmid, who also took over management of the company after longtime CEO and COO Bobby Chang left in April 2010.
RapidShare’s original site was RapidShare.de, using the German top-level domain “.de”. Later a second site, RapidShare.com, was started. It operated in parallel with RapidShare.de for several years. On March 1, 2010, RapidShare.de was shut down, and users visiting the site were forwarded to RapidShare.com. Files hosted on RapidShare.de were no longer available for download.
Rapidshare has its central office in Baar, Switzerland
In 2010, RapidShare was said to have hundreds of millions of visitors per month and to be among the 50 most popular Internet sites.
Lawsuits by the owners of copyrighted content shared via Rapidshare, and the takedown of file hoster Megaupload, caused Rapidshare to revise its business model. The company changed its focus to B2B cloud storage services, but a drop in revenue led to a reduction in staffing by three quarters in May 2013. By 2014 its Alexa ranking had sunk below 1,400.
In late February 2014, the website PCTipp.ch, based on reports from a former Rapidshare employee “MarkusP,” stated that Rapidshare had presented a “quit or be fired” ultimatum to 23 of its 24 employees (already down from 60 employees just two years before) and that most had resigned. The rest, save one, were terminated. As of mid-March Rapidshare was reported as operating with only one employee, a support person who answers the telephone and manages the existing customers and accounts. The product development team was no more. On March 13, 2014, Rapidshare announced price increases for its paid services of about 150%. Free users would continue to be able to use Rapidshare but their download speeds and capacity were sharply curtailed.