Tapping into file sharing with HTML5

Few services can claim to have generated 100,000 visitors in three weeks with no advertising and minimal promotion, but this milestone is just the beginning for 23-year-old Aussie developer Dominic Holland.

Few services can claim to have generated 100,000 visitors in three weeks with no advertising and minimal promotion, but this milestone is just the beginning for 23-year-old Aussie developer Dominic Holland.

During a 15-minute phone interview, another 1500 visitors came to the site for zero-click web-based file sharing service Fyels.com, taking the day's total to 28,500 visitors. So far, there have been about 30,000 files shared, generating a combined 70,000 downloads, according to Holland. By the end of June, he aims to hit the million-download milestone, which he describes as an "overly conservative goal".

The service is hosted on Amazon's EC2 storage cloud, and the front-end has been built using HTML5, despite the fact that this can't be accessed by all browsers. The use of HTML5 allows people to drag-and-drop files directly into the browser, which then provides a link that can be used to directly download the file.

"Initially, the whole idea of Fyels was creating the world's simplest file sharing service," Holland said.

"To get files from your computer to another computer should be simple. Other services introduce financial difficulties, or waiting time to download files, and are slow and cumbersome."

So far, there has been no evidence that the service is being used to share and download pirated material, and he is keen to work with rights holders if required.

About 4000 people have signed up for a free file drive — a new product launched about five days ago that offers unlimited storage and sharing, and users can register using their Twitter accounts.

Holland's next target is to become the most widely used file sharing service for social media, displacing the likes of Twitpic and yFrog.

"We have a faster, simpler product, so we aim to steal a lot of market share from Twitpic and yFrog and converting most Twitter users onto our file sharing service."

His strategy for success is to "reinvent the market" and then make money by outsmarting the competition.

"It's about developing the best monetisation strategy to match," he said, pointing out competitors who used advertising, membership system or pay-per-download models.

SWOT analysis

Strengths

Based on HTML5, zero-click enables the simplest user experience.

Weaknesses

There's no monetisation strategy, and there are potential piracy threats.

Opportunities

There is growing demand to share files over social media, with no dominant leader in the space. The other offerings have shortcomings and limitations.

Threats

It would be very tough to compete if another popular provider extended existing services to offer this functionality, for example, Google, Amazon, Facebook or Twitter, the latter of which will launch such a service this week, a report has said.

Conclusion

The use of HTML5 provides a simple and easy experience, and the figures show that users are responding. It looks likely that the company will take a stake in the growing file-sharing market.

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