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We initially came across Divshare when they won the first free advertising slot on CenterNetworks last year. We interviewed Divshare Co-Founder David Altschul as well. In November the site went up for sale but it looks like a deal never closed. Last month it appears that Divshare had a security scare.
David tells me that this week, version 3.0 of the Divshare application launched. They have redesigned the user dashboard, created a "desktop-feel" to the application to make it easier to upload and share. The sharing function has been simplified and seems similar to basic php upload scripts – which is a good thing. David also noted that all videos, photo galleries, MP3s and documents are converted to an individual embeddable Flash player, while the original file is retained and downloadable. You can also choose to keep all files private. This seems similar to what drop.io offers.
David shared the following stats with us: 600,000 registered users (no active number provided) and 100,000 new users monthly. He also noted that the Divshare service is being used by record labels, DJs, web designers and churches.
With the enormous number of file sharing services on the market today, innovation and differentation is key.
DivShare has added another new feature to their service. I say another because last week they added group funtions to their already pretty-impressive feature set. Divshare is known for their file upload capabilities. The new feature is shareable, high-res, streaming flash videos.
David Altschul, co-founder, sent over the following feature list:
- 560×420 resolution
- Upload videos up to 200 MB
- Upload unlimited videos
- Quick conversions with email notification
- Download original video file
- Upload in three easy steps from the front page, no registration required
- Embed videos in resizable 425×320 res on MySpace and any other site
It loads quick and I really like their link options on the main video page even providing a link option for forums to save you time in embedding the video.
Here are my "things to fix" with the service:
- No commenting or tagging
- Share button is only at the end of the video. This is the same issue I had with SplashCast last month.
DivShare was the first pick in the free advertising I ran in March and you can check out my interview with David from March as well.
Divshare was awarded the first weekly spot for free advertising here on CenterNetworks. I thought it would be interesting to see what Divshare is all about and what's next. David Altschul, the co-founder of Divshare was kind enough to spend a few minutes with me. The timing was perfect (I had no idea!) in that they just released a new file-sharing plugin for WordPress. Check out our discussion below and it is easy to tell that David is very bright and has a solid plan for Divshare.
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Allen: Can you provide a brief background about yourself?
David Altschul: I'm David Altschul, and I'm the co-founder of DivShare.com and Creative Director of Diversion Web Publishing (the company behind DS). I've been designing and launching successful Web sites for years, and DivShare has quickly become my favorite – the one I feel can make the biggest difference in making people's lives just a little bit easier and more organized.
Allen: What is Divshare?
David: DivShare is a site that allows anyone to host, manage, and share an unlimited number of files that stay online forever, all for free. No registration is required, and the site has plenty of useful features, such as image galleries, streaming MP3s and an embedded flash player, file privacy options, an intuitive member dashboard, and a whole lot more.
Allen: Where did the name come from?
David: The name DivShare is a mash up of our company name (Diversion) and one of the main purposes of the site (sharing files).
Allen: Is there a team at Divshare? If so, what is the makeup?
David: DS is produced by Diversion Web Publishing, headed by developer extraordinaire Rob Howard (the other co-founder of DS) and myself.
Allen: Who is using the service? Is it geek-only or mainstream?
David: We've gotten an amazing response from both the tech savvy and mainstream crowds, and even from those that usually only get on the Internet to check their email and do minimal web surfing. I think the site's simplistic, yet highly functional approach has really resonated with people.
Allen: Do you monetize Divshare? If so, how?
David: DS is monetized entirely by Google AdSense, with minimal, non-intrusive advertising throughout the site. Most people don't even realize there are ads on the page, yet they continue to perform quite well.
Allen: Who are your competitors?
David: There's no doubt a lot of sites doing what we're doing, but we are constantly distinguishing ourselves from the crowd. Sites like YouSendIt, ImageShack.us, and Flickr are all similar to DS, yet none of them compare to our offerings or ease of use.
Allen: Why should I store files with you versus on my own server?
David: Why pay when you can get if for free? Imagine all your files well organized, easily sharable, elegantly displayed, all in one place, accessible from any computer in the world. The site is especially useful for the everyman who wants to backup his or her files and share them with his friends, family, and co-workers with a few clicks, but doesn't want to pay for it or deal with severely limited or otherwise obnoxious sites. Our co-branding options and recently released WordPress plug-in also make it ideal and easier than ever for bloggers to host pictures, videos, podcasts, and other types of files without worrying about dealing with a hosting provider.
Allen: When Mashable announced your launch, they noted that files not viewed in 30 days are deleted, is this still the case?
David: That was our original policy, which lasted only a few days until we realized that it was ludicrous. There's no reason why your files should have an expiration date or mandatory "one view per 14 days" to stay online like a lot of other sites demand. All files stay online forever, and you'll never be forced to pay to use the service.
Allen: Is Divshare funded? Can you share any info on the funding?
David: We're currently self-funded.
Allen: What's coming in the next 6-9 months for Divshare?
David: DivShare is evolving so rapidly, that what's coming in the next 6-9 weeks, let alone the next couple months is going to redefine the way people share files. We'll continue to pioneer online file storage, while introducing new stuff into the site like social networking, premium services, and some other really cool stuff I can't talk about just yet.
Allen: Where do you see the file storage sector going this year? Do you see free or paid services gaining ground?
David: I think 2007 is the year that the mainstream starts to embrace online file storage. And when putting files online, they don't just want to be able to easily access and manage them, but they want to be able to easily share them as well. I believe that both free and paid services will continue to grow rapidly in the next year. While the average person doesn't want to pay for this type of service, businesses that need to send especially large files (around a gig and over) will be willing to pay a nominal fee to do so quickly.
Allen: What do you believe are the most important things that a startup must have to be successful?
David: As cliché as it is, passion is an absolute must. I've been a part of several startups, and there's no question that the ones that really succeed are the ones that have people behind the scenes that truly care about the product and use it themselves. Along the same lines, ambition to change things for the better is up there too. There needs to be motivating factors besides the money.
Allen: What is the greatest business lesson you have learned in your career?
David: Don't half ass it. That's a general, recurring theme, but I definitely think it has had a major impact on the way I work. The old saying that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well, is one of the most important things I've learned in my life.
Allen: What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a business?
David: Do your research, set some goals, figure out an angle, and stock up on Red Bull. You have to be ready to put your heart into your business. If you aren't ready to do that, you've already lost.
Allen: Which new RSS feeds are you reading these days?
David: While my RSS list is larger than I'm willing to admit, I'm a big fan of sites like Lifehacker, Techmeme, Fark, and Digg. The geek inside me needs to know the second Apple offers a new product, or how to remove chewing gum from my shoe with a common household item.