Box Makes a Big Move

Pricing finally works for nonprofits!

Box_net_Box has always been a great service for online document storage, file sharing, and collaboration. In particular, it works great for project collaboration, something the competing product, Dropbox, does not attempt to do. But the monthly fees for Box have always been beyond the reach of many nonprofit organizations — until now. With last month’s major change in the pricing structure, Box may very well be the best option for nonprofit organizations.

On August 21st, Box announced a major revision to their pricing policy, offering 10 GB of free storage, and 100GB of storage for $5 per user per month. The solution that many of us currently use, Dropbox, provides 2 GB of free storage or 100GB of storage at $10 per user per month. Dropbox’s pricing advantage just went right down the drain.

Though many of us have come to rely on Dropbox as a tool for document sharing and online backup, it is not without its shortcomings. There is only one level of sharing, which means that if you share a folder, and the other person mangles the file or deletes the folder, it’s gone from your computer as well. If someone edits a file at the same time you do, you are left with a conflicted version that might not be discovered for quite some time. And if you link to a Dropbox file from your website, and you later move or rename the file within Dropbox, your link will be broken.

Many of these problems disappear with Box. You can manage folder sharing permissions, from view-only to full editing privileges (with more options with the paid version). You can lock files to limit other users’ ability to edit the file when you are working on it (paid version only). And most awesomely, the perma-link to your Box documents will still work no matter how many times you move it around different Box folders.

If want something dead easy, Dropbox definitely fills the bill, albeit with some frustrating compromises. But Box brings some nifty additional features for less money than Dropbox. And since the 10 GB version is free, there’s no harm in giving Box a try and seeing if it works for you.

If you fall in love with Box, the one big problem you will have is what to do with all those Dropbox folders you are already sharing with a million colleagues, friends and family members. One option is to get all those shared folders under 2 GB, downgrade to the free version of Dropbox, and move your document storage to Box. And you can even go the totally free route, because between Dropbox and Box, you can have up to 12 GB of free storage, which will cover a lot of people’s needs.