MegaUpload: When it Absolutely, Positively Has to Be Kept From Getting There

Monday, June 26, 2006

Today, I was reading a blog that had a link to download a song. The song was available via MegaUpload.

Ok, available is a strong word.

I clicked the link and was taken to MegaUpload. There I saw ads. I scrolled down a bit, looking for the download. I found more ads. I continued to scroll, passing more ads, the remains of Jimmy Hoffa, more ads, and finally landed on a description of just how easy MegaUpload is to use and oh, did we mention we are entirely ad-supported?

No kidding.

So I scrolled back up and finally saw… something. It wasn’t a download link. Instead, it was a CAPTCHA, nestled snugly in the loving arms of the MegaUpload logo.

I proved my humanity and then saw… something else. It wasn’t a download link. Instead, it was a countdown. I had 45 seconds to admire their ads before they would give me the download link. Because, otherwise, I might not have noticed the ads. With about 15 seconds left to go, another ad popped up. You know the kind — JavaScript ads that appear on a page on top of the content. This particular one followed my mouse cursor as I moved it around the page. Remember how that was funny when that one web site did something like that? Yeah, that one, from 1998.

The countdown ended and I saw… a download link! Hooray! I went to click on it, and couldn’t. The little pop-up ad was still following my mouse and blocking my attempts to click the link. Ironically, it was blocking my attempts to click on anything. I couldn’t click the ads on the page — I couldn’t even click the ads in the pop-up because it would move out of the way.

I was finally able to click the download link thanks to the Web Developer toolbar — the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook of Firefox extensions (5 points if you know the reference). I disabled JavaScript and the persistent little window stopped dead in its tracks.

If you’re uploading a file for others to download, please do not use MegaUpload. I’ve successfully used YouSendIt before, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about DropSend. MegaUpload has a lot to learn about usability before they can be considered a useful service.