Bye bye Dropbox (soon), your feature bloat is a hassle

Bye bye Dropbox (soon), your feature bloat is a hassle

05 September, 2023 2 min read
file storage, self-hosting, open source, feature factory, disruption, software

At TECTRA Ltd we’ve been using Dropbox for some years to share “view links” for product documentation with customers. I’ve been managing our files library with Maestral on Linux Maestral and sometimes by using Dropbox’s web UI.

To be clear: we are not a paying customer, but have access to almost 11 GB from way back when Dropbox was driving customer acquisition through promotional bundles with digital camers, scanners, etc.

However: Dropbox’s UI has kept getting slower and worse over time, with nags and inconveniences aimed at upselling.

No, Dropbox, I am not interested in automating my folders.

No, Dropbox, 99.9% of the time when I “create link” I want a view link, not an edit link (it used to be different in the past).

No, Dropbox, I don’t want Dropbox for Business or to pay every month for storage that is dirt cheap if I self-host my files.

Moreover, the UI has been accumulating more and more features for years, in an attempt to offer more things to justify the attempts to upsell, as Dropbox increasingly became synonymous with online file storage for the layperson.

For our needs, our ~11 GB allowance on Dropbox is plentiful, but the platform’s feature set has long overshot our key need as an SME: upload files and organize them into directories, share a view link to a file or directory, optionally with expiration and password protection.

I don’t envy the job of the Head of Growth at Dropbox. Growth of what, anyway? Revenue? “Revenue is the idiot’s KPI”, as a friend of mine likes to say (I’m not implying anything about the Head of Growth herself here, but about whomever sets revenues as someone’s KPI).

What about profit, in aggregate and per customer?

What about customer retention and conversion?

The product is mature, its key offering has long become commoditized, and its feature-factory-generated UI probably takes too many software developers to maintain. Everyone knows the product and there are so many freeloaders that Dropbox recently pruned old and inactive accounts (which, BTW, makes total sense).

Meanwhile… The open-source File Browser ticks all our requirement boxes, doesn’t try to upsell me at every page load, is speedy, and is a breeze to self-host.

Thus, very soon the image below will show “0 GB out of 10.75 GB used”.

Dropbox storage