The file hosting company Rapidshare AG just announced that it will shut down its services on March 31, 2015.
The notice, published on the service's front page on the Internet states that the company will stop its "active service" on the day and that accounts won't be accessible from that day on.
According to the information, accounts will be deleted and data won't be available anymore.
Rapidshare recommends to download files before the deadline to secure a copy of the data before it becomes unavailable.
The service, once one of the most popular file hosting and sharing destinations on the Internet, was in decline for years.
Back in 2012, it switched its business model to a file owner model where uploaders and not downloaders paid the company for the distribution of files.
While great for users who only downloaded from Rapidshare, use of the service dropped shortly thereafter when users who shared files using the service moved to alternatives on the Internet.
The Megaupload raid and takedown happened at the same time and many file hosting sites were suddenly in trouble because of their business model (limiting downloads, getting users to buy premium accounts, affiliate systems that allowed uploaders to benefit from the system).
The company had to lay off staff members just five months later and dropped its unlimited plans at the same time which irritated users who subscribed to it as they were now in a position where they either could pay a lot more to host their data on the site or migrate away from Rapidshare.
Then in May 2014, it dropped all free plans and increased the pricing of paid plans significantly (by the factor six) at the same time.
Back then it looked like a last effort to turn the company around but even then it was clear that the company could not find success with what it announced.
Today now the notice on the Rapidshare website. If you look back, it looks as if management made several ill-advised decisions that turned the company from being one of the most frequented destinations on the Internet into an unsustainable service.
But that is only a partial answer. Strong competition in form of file syncing solutions from companies like Amazon, Google, Dropbox or Microsoft became alternatives for users who just wanted to host their files on the Internet.
If you check Rapidshare's Alexa trend you notice that it dropped many places in the past two years and even left the top 10,000 sites mark in the United States recently.
Rapidshare users who are looking for alternatives may find the following services useful
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