Rapidshare announced Wednesday that it plans to shut down at the end of March.
“We strongly recommend all customers to secure their data,” Rapidshare posted in a message on its website. “After March 31st, 2015 all accounts will no longer be accessible and will be deleted automatically.”
Rapidshare was once one of the dominant players in the cloud storage industry. Back when the service was first launched it only shared a market with MegaUpload, and business was good.
But now the market is crowded, and regulators are much more strict with services that allow users to host and share pirated content. Now Rapidshare has to compete with the likes of Google Drive, Dropbox and the re-launched Mega. In addition, Rapidshare executives added a suite of anti-piracy measures — to avoid the legal assault that was inflicted upon its competitor MegaUpload — which were unpopular with users leading to a big drop in traffic.
At one time Rapidshare was one of the top 50 visited sites on Alexa, bringing in hundreds of millions of pageviews per month. Advertising from that funded the site’s free service, ensuring a steady supply of new users. Now, in its last year, the site dropped down to the hinterland of a 5000 ranking as users abandoned it for providers more tolerant of piracy.