RapidShare has made the shock announcement that its file hosting service will be shutting down at the end of March.
The closure could leave thousands of users that rely on the service for sharing their files stranded, with users urged to relocate files as soon as possible.
Once a favorite hosting destination for pirate sites, RapidShare chose to take a different approach to all other file hosts by being the toughest on piracy. This change of direction was taken well before rival file host Megaupload was infamously shuttered by the US government on copyright concerns.
Instead, RapidShare sought to become an industry leader in file hosting anti-piracy. But it appears this experiment has failed, and not only was RapidShare'sefforts unrewarded, it appears their "clean" business model was unsustainable too.
Traffic to the site had been dropping quite alarmingly ever since the tougher anti-piracy measures were introduced in 2012, but the closure would still have come across as a shock to RapidShare's paying customers, some of whom pay up to 100 Euros per month to access up to 700GB of online storage.
Visitors to the site are now met with a pop-up prompt, detailing the planned closure of the site's services.
"Kindly note that RapidShare will stop the active service on March 31st, 2015. Extensions of STANDARD PLUS and PREMIUM will be possible until February 28th, 2015," states the message on the site.
"We strongly recommend all customers to secure their data. After March 31st, 2015 all accounts will no longer be accessible and will be deleted automatically."