4 reasons why we are leaving Dropbox
I have been using Dropbox almost since its incubation back in 2007, ultimately ending up using 320+ GB for business and 375+ GB of personal storage.
We are about to migrate everything away and here is why:
- Literally no innovation at its core.
Over the years, the Dropbox team clearly shifted its focus away from “the best file syncing and sharing that just works”. The list of acquisitions speaks for itself.
This means, we are stuck with a desktop client that hasn’t improved significantly for a long time. Hence, the release notes are mostly about fixing minor bugs or “addressing performance issues”, the ubiquitous placeholder task, that we see everywhere, since App Stores have taken over software distribution.
The same holds true for the Web based user interface.
2. The desktop client sucks.
I’m on the latest Mac OS X using the latest Dropbox client (v3.4.4). It has been stuck in “Downloading file list…” mode forever.
There is no visual indication of progress. No clue about any ETA. No system logs. No detailed activity window.
It’s just sitting there, wasting CPU cycles, leaving me completely in the dark as to what it’s actually doing and how long it’ll take.
Finder integration shows green icons for folders that haven’t synced at all. Others are marked as in progress but completed a while ago. That doesn’t foster a trusted relationship.
It’s a mess and when it comes to your data, it’s one you can hardly stand.
Not to mention how CPU hungry the little sync client gets from time to time.
3. The Web UI is painful, to say the least.
Try doing any reasonable bulk operation on a larger set of files:
- Move folders around.
- Delete folders.
- Unshare folders.
- Download folders.
In other words: The usual stuff you do with files and folders.
All of the above fails with annoyingly sparse error messages and no alternatives offered for folders, which contain more than just a couple of hundred files.
Most of the time, the entire Web UI freezes, leaving you in the dark as to what went wrong with only a page refresh getting you back to normal.
If you have to execute bulk operations, your only option is to first sync everything to a local machine, then move stuff around there (or delete it) and wait for the low performance desktop client to shovel everything back up upstream.
It’s such a flawed design.
One major advantage of cloud storage and selective sync is that I conveniently want to be able to re-organise files and folders through my Browser, without actually being forced to download everything first.
Well, Dropbox thinks differently.
Want to try something differently: Go and check your list of linked devices.
If you’re a long term Dropbox customer, chances are, it’s pretty long with many devices outdated.
I had to delete 14 devices.
The way every other web based user interface on the planet handles this: You click on “Select”. You tick 14 checkboxes. You click “Unlink”. Done.
The Dropbox way: You click the tiny litte “x” for the first device. A popup is displayed. You move the mouse all the way to the “Unlink” confirmation. The popup hides away. You move the mouse all the way back to the next tiny little “x”. You repeat this 13 times.
A task taking 15 seconds on Amazon’s kindle website, takes 15 minutes on dropbox.com.
It simply is a usability nightmare and one which clearly indicates, that none of these areas have been getting any attention or love from the Dropbox team recently.
4. Dropbox support isn’t good enough for business.
We recently ran into a problem where Selective Sync stopped working entirely and opened up a support ticket.
Given that we are a customer who is paying 4.900 US$ annually, we thought our support ticket would get some reasonable attention.
Little did we know.
It took Dropbox almost 24 hours until first response and all we got was an excerpt from the Dropbox knowledge base, which we obviously had Googled ourselves before.
This felt as if Dropbox outsourced its first level support to a third party provider, who takes care for dispatching stuff from level to level, hoping that by the time a ticket finally reaches somebody inside Dropbox engineering, the customer might have solved it on her own.
Side note: We also ran into a problem with Google Drive and opened a support ticket. It took Google 4 minutes trying to call us (we missed it) and 6 minutes later we received a follow-up email with detailed troubleshooting steps tailored to our specific situation.
I’ve been a huge Dropbox advocate. Once the money flew in, I had high hopes.
Dropbox has lost it’s focus. And now it’s losing me.