WTH Minus? A good app goes down

So the other day I wrote about a new cloud service, Bitcasa.  And you know I love the cloud.  I make databases about it!

And a long time ago I had written about one of my favourites.  Minus.  It was a great app.  Such that in recommending it so highly I quickly gained the maximum amount of referral bonus you could get.

Yesterday ... they did something pretty terrible (imho).
Minus was awesome, once upon a time.

I recommended it to plenty of writers, and people who managed websites etc... You could store 10GB for free in the web.  And most of those files you could have previewed on the web via the 'rendering'.  (i.e. upload a pdf to the folder, get a share link for the file, get the embed code, and then put the code on your site and then the PDF is rendered in place...GREAT STUFF).

Then they changed to a 'photo' only service.  Files like DOCX or PDF weren't allowed.

Sucked, and was a tough pill to swallow, but I did it.  It was still great because what I primarily used it for was to build a gallery of sample photos from phones I used.  I'd take shots, upload them via the app to a specific folder, get the embed code for that online gallery, put that gallery in a post.  It was way easier than individually uploading a ton of photos to the site, eating up that space, then positioning etc... tedious.

Minus made things easier.  It was 'minus' the work!

Yesterday's announcement and app update revealed a new branding for Minus.

Minus - Make Friends Near You!

Not only does it sound 'sad', but the whole premise of the change is, what I think, a huge depart from what they were really good at.  Here's the statement:

Today is a big day – probably the biggest in the short history of Minus. We started with a mission to reinvent photo sharing through simplicity and drag-n-drop in the browser, and today we are doing it again on iPhone and Android!
So you ask, what is the new Minus?
The new Minus is all about chatting and sharing photos with people nearby on your phone, in realtime. Think of it as a fun way to chat with new friends and share awesome photos with people around you. The idea of saying “Hello” to someone unfamiliar, a stranger has always been taboo. We hope to change that and help everyone build a new level of connection with those around them through chat and photos. Whether you just want to  chat with a new friend,  see what’s happening near you right now, or take a photo and share it with everyone near you instantly!
Here’s how the new Minus works!
✔ Share your photos to everyone near you and see what others are sharing nearby.
✔ See who’s around you now, browse their profile photos, interests and say hello.
✔ Chat with users in private, instantly and send photos too.
This is the new Minus – reimagined and reinvented for mobile, to help you connect with the people and world around you. We love the new Minus and we hope you do too!
Thanks again for your support and please send us feedback to info@minus.com or chat with @minusapp in the app.

Funny they say send them feedback.  But if you click the button in the app it comes up with just a blank email draft (no email address, I guess you're supposed to hunt for that yourself, or know that they had it on their blog).  And, my continued comments on their Facebook page keep getting deleted.... odd.

The new service is a 'share your photos to those close by' type.  So you upload and those in your vicinity can see them (I'm sure there's a privacy thing enabled... right?).

I fire it up...

Absolutely weird...   But where's my photos?  It shows some photos 'nearby' (if nearby is 200+ miles) and there's a disturbing amount of personal pictures ... nothing offensive or scary, but still.

Now where's my photos?  There's a huge stream... but I can't see folders.  This is insane.  This is not what I signed up for.

Sure enough, you can get the web to look similar to the older, but it's as though it was an afterthought to keep all the stuff we had previously put in there.  It's such a huge departure from what it was before.

When I complained the last time about their 'update' to photos only, I was told "suck it up" essentially.  I reached out again, and here's the response:

Hi Ryan,
Thanks so much for the email and really appreciate the honest feedback.
The biggest problem is we simply were not different enough when competing with other photo sharing and file sharing services, and to have a sustainable business model while lot of users simply hot-linked our files and images.
We want to break down the barriers and introduce a new category of photo sharing with location focus and chat, and the mobile pivot made the most sense for us.
Think of the times you see the same person at a café, but never had the chance to say hello. Or someone in your college lecture, on a campus of 10,000+. We want to make it possible to say Hello to 'strangers' and build friendships with people around you.
We're hoping to use Chat & Nearby Photos to connect people on the mobile experience.
Think of it as a Real-time Location-based Chat & Photo Sharing App
Would be happy to answer more questions too!

So, it's kind of the creepy way to reach out to the girl at the cafe you're too shy to talk to?  Hoping she's also on there?  Whatever.

Sure, it's free... but still.  This is a pain to enjoy something for so long and then to have it yanked out from beneath us.  Ah well.

For me, Minus is off the table now.  Which is alright, there are other options, but I just liked Minus.

For now, I'm going to switch to CX... read my next article to see why.


  1. I too was thrilled with Minus. Thrilled! So, for the purpose of making themselves "different", they've "downgraded" themselves!? Isthis progressive or regressive!? I'd have to say 'regressive', because things are NOT better! ..Andstill no mention about what happened to the views! grrrrrr Thoroughly, THOROUGHLY... DISAPPOINTED! So now I have to find another site to upload my art too. :'(((


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