RapidShare Shuts Down

RapidShare, one of the first file hosting services on the Internet, is shutting down next month. After March 31, all of its user accounts and data will be deleted.

The Switzerland-based service went online in 2002 and saw hundreds of millions of monthly visitors during its glory days a few years ago. Chances are, most of them didn’t come to download the latest Creative Commons-licenced folk album, but unlike Megaupload, RapidShare managed to stay on the right side of the law. The service saw a surge of new users after the Megaupload shutdown in early 2012 and even had to limit download speeds to cope with demand for a while.

2015-02-10_0917_001In the wake of the Megaupload raid, though, RapidShare tried to rebrand itself as a cloud storage service and stepped up its anti-piracy policies. That rebrand didn’t go well and the company fired 75 percent of its employees in early 2014 — just around the time it also shut down its free service.

With prices that started at 50 euros per month and an extremely competitive field, the service probably had a hard time convincing users (it never went after the enterprise market) to pay for a service that used to be free.