Update 7-6-2015: I switched to Dropshare, scroll down for more info.

I've been a happy user of screenshot-sharing service CloudApp for years now. I say screenshot service because, although you can upload "drops" of many kinds (links, screenshots, files etc.), the thing I used it for exclusively, was for automatically sharing screenshots I made.

It goes something like this: everytime you make a screenshot, using ⌘ + ⇧ + 3 (or 4), CloudApp automagically uploads your screenshot to their servers, creates a short-url and puts that on your clipboard. One ⌘ + v later it's on Slack/email/where-ever-you-want.

Not so free

I've been using the free version of their service up until now, and today I got an email that they would put more limitations on their free tier. Now, this is completely understandable, because running a service like that costs money (server costs, development costs etc.) and let's face it, CloudApp wants to make a profit. Most importantly, their service is actually really useful! And I believe in paying for stuff that is useful to me.

This is the email:

Hi,

Your CloudApp account is changing on April 2. Most importantly, all free accounts will have a drop limit of 10 drops per month.

The good news is that there are three easy ways to increase your limit and we have some exciting new features coinciding with these changes.

The easiest way to get unlimited drops is to upgrade now.

As an active CloudApp user, we would like to extend a 33%-off coupon for you. That's 12 months for the price of eight — effectively dropping your monthly rate to just $5.50, less than the price of two cups of coffee.

They're trying to get me to pay for their service, and give a good discount in the process. But their price is the real reason I'm writing this.

Too much for too little

Looking at their plans page, you can see that their cheapest plan is $10 per month. Of course you can choose to be billed yearly, which drops the price to $8.25, but frankly, I don't want to pay that much at once. Using the coupon, the price is finally lowered to just above $5.50 per month, but only if you pay yearly, which I don't want.

Now let's see what that gets you:

  • Upload and share screenshots
  • Upload and share files
  • Record (a portion of) your screen, upload and share

Yeah... that's basically it. Let me emphasize here: you can upload and share files, and it works great!... but that's all you get for $10 per month.

So, I said I was willing to pay, and I actually do pay for services that are both valuable to me and attractively priced:

  • Evernote: for $5 per month I get
    • Awesome note taking platform, with tons of features
    • Apps across platforms
    • Share notebooks with others and collaborate
    • Amazing search
    • OCR any photographed or scanned documents and make them searchable
    • Presentation mode
  • Netflix: for $7.99 a month I get
    • Awesome move & tv-show streaming service
    • Tons of content
    • Unlimited watching
    • Apps on many platforms

So here's Evernote, as service that costs a lot less than CloudApp, and offers so much more. Then there's Netflix, which is a tad more expensive than the cheapest (one-time deal) CloudApp plan but still cheaper than CloudApp's regular monthly pricing, and it also offers so much more for that price.

I know that their services are not comparable at all to CloudApp, but I'm trying to make a case for value-for-money here. Arguably, CloudApp has you pay a lot for only 1 feature: file sharing. And that's not even real comprehensive file sharing, like Dropbox and Google Drive offer (the latter for a lower price than CloudApp, I might add).

What makes CloudApp so expensive, I wonder? Netflix definitely has more operating costs, looking at all the licensing fees they have to pay to content creators. Evernote might be looking at the same kind of costs as CloudApp - basically they pay for infrastructure and development - although one might argue that Evernote's more complex service offering, also demands more of their infrastructure than is the case with CloudApp.

Conclusion and proposal

I can only conclude that the folks at CloudApp have vastly overestimated the value of their service. At least from my perspective the service is not worth the money they're asking. I'm really curious to the underlying reasoning for their pricing model, and how it compares to other online services. Why do they think their service is worth more than, for instance, Evernote, Google Drive or Netflix?

I have a proposal: if CloudApp offers their "Rain" plan to me for $5 per month, paid monthly, I'm in! Because I like their service :)

Update 7-6-15: After doing on research on alternatives, I settled on Dropshare. Dropshare does exactly the same things as Cloudapp does, but on hosting of your own choice. They offer a nice trial, and during the CloudApp "crisis", they even put the app on sale. What you get is a Mac app that will do automatic file uploads (including screenshots) to whatever hosting solution you configure. I already had a VM running that this website is hosted on, so I quickly got up and running. In the scenario where you already have hosting, paying a one-time fee for Dropshare is lots cheaper then having to pay a monthly fee. Since last week it even includes screen recording!



Comments

comments powered by Disqus