To celebrate the anniversary of New Zealand authorities raiding his $25 million mansion, cornering him in his “panic room” as he nervously yielded a sawn off shotgun, rebellious internet mogul Kim Dotcom celebrated the day by launching his new service Mega to exceptionally strong demand.
In its first day of business, Mega attracted 1 million users. According to PCMag.com, the site reached 100,000 in the first hour, swelled to 250,000 within the next few and reached the million milestone within its first day.
“250,000 user registrations. Server capacity on maximum load. Should get better when initial frenzy is over. Wow!!!,” tweeted Dotcom on Saturday.
In comparison Dropbox, which has one hundred million users, reached the one million milestone in seven months.
Demand was great enough to knock Mega offline for a number of users.
“If you are currently experiencing slow access to #Mega its because of the unbelievable demand. We are working on more capacity,” Dotcom tweeted in an effort to appease unsatisfied users.
Mega has resonated with the public for a few reasons. For starters, it offers 50GB of free cloud storage which is significantly more than Dropbox’s 2GB and SkyDrive’s 7GB.
Perhaps more pertinent than the value is the unique ‘on the fly’ encryption Mega offers its users. Right from the browser, files are encrypted as they’re uploaded and are only visible to the user. To make their files visible to other people, Mega users will have to share a unique encryption key alongside their files. Mega’s own administrators can’t even tell how users are accessing the service and this blind-eye is one way they evade liability when users upload copyright content.
“By using Mega you say no to those who want to know everything about you. By using Mega you say no to governments that want to spy on you. By using Mega you say yes to Internet freedom and your right to privacy,” Dotcom said at Mega’s launch.
Critics believe Mega has been designed to circumvent the legal issues MegaUpload fell victim too rather than addressing internet piracy. Before it was taken offline by authorities, Dotcom’s previous website, MegaUpload, accounted for 4% of all internet traffic.
However, Dotcom asserts Mega is “a platform for knowledge and education” and not a haven to internet pirates.
“It certainly isn’t our intention to provide any kind of piracy haven,” Dotcom confided in an interview with The Australian. “Copyright has been abused today and Hollywood is paying money to get laws created for them and to send law enforcement around the world to take people out. It’s imperial colonisation of the internet.”
Dotcom believes the pirating of content is fuelled by Hollywood’s out-dated business model.
“The business model of Hollywood is actually the biggest contributor to piracy. They are forcing people to download things for free. You can’t expect your customers to wait six months to get their hands on a product that is already out there in one market.”