It’s darn impossible to send out a video via email attachment these days, because of how large video files have become.
(Everything is HD… on its way to 4K!)
Sure, you might be able to get a really short clip through, without blowing up your email program.
But anything more than a couple minutes worth of content…you can forget it.
Yes, there’s the magic bullet of file compression, but that’s an added step and a story for another day…
Instead of attaching a cripplingly large video into your email,
one solution is to include a web link that your recipients can click on.
They’ll be directed to a web page that hosts your video and then downloads your file.
Before you know it, they’re happily* watching the video from their desktop!
(*Blogger not responsible for actual download speed experience!)
Downloadable Video Links Vs. Streaming
In this golden digital age of easy-upload and stream websites like YouTube and Vimeo, you might question the very need for a service that downloads your video first before you can watch it.
And if you’re feeling a little twitchy about privacy and want to keep the video away from the public eye, simply password-protect your video page.
But in the video creation/collaboration business, there are usually multiple drafts of a video before the final version crosses the finish line.
A good method for offsite collaboration on these kinds of projects is via downloadable links.
Plus, if you simply want a video to get from Point A to Point B, streaming it isn’t going to get the job done. You’ve still got to download it!
If you’ve ever downloaded a video file from a web link, there’s a good chance the link was generated by a company called YouSendIt.
They’ve been around since 2004 and currently have over 40 million users.
This month alone, they’ve shared more than 100 million files.
But if you haven’t heard, you’ll never get a link from YouSendIt ever again.
Don’t panic. The friendly folks from YouSendIt are still there.
They’ve just been going through an identity crisis of sorts, and they’ve “rebranded” themselves.
YouSendIt is now ‘Hightail.’
Yes, it was a surprise to me too.
An email from them would have been nice…
Everyone knew what a YouSendIt link was…
(It was almost a verb unto itself.)
Now a ‘Hightail’ link?
(They seem very excited by their new name. I’ll leave it at that.)
They claim their business model needed to change, as there are dozens of competing choices clouding their future.
To survive, they have to grow beyond a simple file-sharing service.
Today, it’s all about being a collaboration and file management tool.
I get all that.
The Cost of Progress
I just want to know if their shiny new kitchen can still brew a simple cup of coffee.
Today, I just want to make my video links.
Drum roll, please…
Yes, you still can, but there have been some ‘modifications’ to their subscription plans.
My existing YouSendIt Pro account plan cost me $49.99/year.
(They were running a deal when I renewed it…)
The Pro plan gave me a maximum sharable file size of 2 GB with 5GB of total available storage.
That’s plenty for what I need.
Both YouSendIt’s old free plan and Hightail’s no-cost ‘Lite’ plan give you just 2 GB of storage.
But the killer with this free deal remains the per-file size limit…
Only 50 MB.
That doesn’t get you very far with video.
Hightail’s value proposition is its new Professional plan which offers you unlimited Cloud storage for all your files.
That’s a real wake-up call to the competition.
(And you can still share files up to 2 GB.)
But all this goodness is going to cost you $159.99/year.
That’s a chunk of change.
And a lot more than I’d prefer to pay.
Is Free Really a Deal?
There are so many free ways to send out links these days.
So why pay anything?
Well, call me old school, l but I still subscribe to the concept that you get what you pay for.
If sending out a video link is really important, then you might want to use a company you know with a good track record.
And you may have to pay something for the privilege.
The question is how much…
I‘ve been willing to pay $50/year for peace of mind, but three times that?!
For the record, I’ve been completely satisfied with YouSendIt, and I’m sure Hightail will be equally wonderful…
I just don’t want to spend $160.
(Especially when the onward march of tech innovation is supposed to decrease pricing!)
So what now?
Time to shop around and look at the competition…
Starving with Too Much Choice
As I considered the cluttered landscape offering to help me create my links,
I quickly grew frustrated with all the choices.
Others have already gone through this lengthy exercise:
- Tripwire Magazine went through over 20 options
- CNET’s got their list
- Makeuseof.com has their own 8 selections
Yes, Google Drive keeps popping up everywhere, and it’s free.
Plus, they give you 15 GB, which is hard to beat.
But it’s a service that requires you to download yet more software onto your computer.
That said, I realized I’ve got Dropbox on my desktop.
And I’m already happily creating links with them.
(Dropbox gives you 2 GB for free…and a little more when you get friends to join.)
So, problem solved… right?
I’d Like the Burger Deluxe, Please
I’ve realized I enjoy some of the cushier bells and whistles I had with YouSendIt.
- You can set the link’s life span from a few days to a few months
- It’s also nice to have the option to see when your file has been viewed
Then I found Adobe SendNow.
They do all that and more for only $20 a year.
- Maximum file size of 2 GB
- Maximum storage of 20 GB
And Adobe is no mom-and-pop operation.
(What can I say… I like a well-known brand.)
Put your Jackson to work, and problem solved!
Hightail it or Hightail it?
So is it time to leave Hightail?
I think so.
I’ve still got more time on my legacy YouSendIt plan.
But if Hightail can’t get more competitive against Adobe SendNow or another similarly featured service, (any other suggestions?)
…I’m hightailing it elsewhere!