RapidShare, a one-click file hoster out of Switzerland, has rolled out some significant changes to its premium accounts that aim to appease rights holders. One of the biggest changes: For some €70 (about $87) a month, customers get access to a license manager that will enable them to sell their own files through the site.
RapidShare will also discontinue its Rapidpoints loyalty program, which has been used to reward uploaders for popular downloads. Rapidpoints could be converted into paid premium accounts, making it essentially possible to pay for your account by generating traffic — a feature that some rights holders have viewed as encouraging piracy.
Rapidpoints are being replaced by a new, prepaid payment unit called Rapids: 400 Rapids cost €4.99, while 20,000 Rapids are €199. Users have a choice of five different service models of file hosting, and are billed daily, making it possible to switch back and forth between different hosting plans on a day-by-day basis. The two most expensive plans also offer the ability to sell files.
RapidShare has been working on premium content partnerships for a while now. The company opened a movie download site in cooperation with Warner Bros. at the end of last year and has since been reaching out to rights holders to sell content. A company spokesperson told us last December that the missing piece to the puzzle for paid downloads on RapidShare was a payment solution; the new prepaid points model appears to be just that.
Related content on GigaOM Pro: The Quest to Monetize File Sharing (subscription required)