Dear ISPs: When Launching Value Added Services, How About Actually Adding Value?

from the just-a-suggestion dept

At the beginning of January, I thought it was amusing that Verizon was launching its own backup service for a stunning $31/month (with a limit of 50GB of backup storage). That seemed fairly ridiculous, given that you could get an unlimited backup service from Carbonite or Mozy for $5/month, or using JungleDisk with Amazon's S3 for exceptionally low prices as well (depending on how much you use -- but 50GB comes in at way less than $31). Now comes the news that Comcast is also launching its own backup service, with a few different price points, but starting at $5/month for only 10GB and going up from there. It's not a bad service to offer -- and, surely, Verizon and Comcast see these as ways to lock in consumers, since it now has possession of their backup data -- but it seems quite odd that these companies would offer "value added services" where the prices are more expensive than rolling your own, which doesn't come with the lock-in. And, as noted, with Comcast, using the service counts against their new broadband caps, so there isn't even a benefit there. These ISPs seem to be missing the point of these value added services. If you want to get people to use them, they should actually add value.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    thomas, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 7:24pm

    For the techno-illiterate

    $31 a month is $372 per year. For $100-150 you can buy a 500 gb backup disk. Why in the world would you pay Verizon to hold your backup data hostage?

     

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  2.  
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    AMusingFool (profile), Jan 27th, 2009 @ 8:04pm

    rolling your own...

    is pretty much always cheaper than buying someone else's service. But that's a minor quibble. I certainly wouldn't consider paying for either of those "services". Then again, my rsync-fu is pretty strong. :)

     

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  3.  
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    Jesse, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 8:30pm

    Aren't they offering to keep your backed up stuff online? Say for crossing over borders?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 8:33pm

    might as well use webmail, last I checked yahoo had 10GB storage gmail displays 7.2 GB I think hotmail is at 5GB

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 8:55pm

    Re: For the techno-illiterate

    Um, because an offsite backup doesn't get destroyed when your home or office burns down, or when a power surge fries everything hooked up, including your backup drive.

     

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  6.  
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    hegemon13, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 8:57pm

    Re:

    Webmail limits attachment size, and backing up all your files by sending them attached to emails is a pretty inconvenient solution. Offsite backup services usually provide a software that automates the backup process.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: For the techno-illiterate

    That is really lame.
    There are many alternatives which would cost much less and not put your data in the hands of those who are not to be trusted.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Inquiring Minds Want to Know, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 9:07pm

    Just Asking ...

    Are these the same ISP dudes that want to sell your clickstream data ?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 9:45pm

    These offerings are especially pathetic considering the size of hard drives these days. Backing up 50GB of a 1TB drive? Gee, which 5% do you choose to back up?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Michael B, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 9:54pm

    Even Microsoft Gives Some for Free

    Even Microsoft is giving 25GB of free online storage with its SkyDrive service (skydrive.live.com). I haven't tried it yet, and am not endorsing it but, heck, its free.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Fake MCP, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:39am

    Comcast vs. Verizon

    The only real competition between these two giant douchebag companies is which one can pull off the biggest screwjob of its customers while claiming it's a bonus/feature/service.


    End of line.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Keith, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 3:39am

    Re: Re: For the techno-illiterate

    So you make your backup on your drive and take it to the office the next day.

     

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  13.  
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    Spectere, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re: Re: For the techno-illiterate

    So that you take a risk of dropping the enclosure? Take a chance that it might get stolen (workplace theft is far from uncommon)? No thanks. Besides, the whole point here is that most online backup services are very affordable and don't try to gouge the customer like Verizon and Comcast are doing.

    When you're paying for a data backup service you're paying for a service with various failsafes. Such a service would have redundant disks, possibly an additional backup (on magnetic tape), and data security. The backup data is most likely encrypted. No need to worry about someone just stealing your external hard drive and poking through your files.

     

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  14.  
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    FEDUP, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 5:10am

    Comcast!

    I was notified on my last Comcast bill that my promo rate for the year was ending, So I called them to find out what the new rate was going to be.....Your Kiddng Me I said..so can you offer me another promo rate I asked, then they told me they could only offer me a promo rate that lasted only six months and they couldn't really offer me anything or setup anything until Feb 21....to which I replied...will you have a better promo then.....they replied they didn't think so...so I replied well then, guess I will be going DSL or even back to dial up and putting a antenna on my house, getting two DTV boxes with the government coupons and say goodbye to you Comcast....to which she replied, that was my right, they couldn't discuss or do anything until Feb 21 anyway....to which I replied I won't be calling you back...but will be on your doorstep with my two digital boxes and cable modems in a box to return them Feb 21st.... that's when she wanted to talk turkey....my mind is made up, I have had enough of these ISP's teaser rates, having to call every year to get a new promo rate. I'm done with Comcast as of Feb 21....Hello DSL, Hello rooftop antenna... Bye bye Comcast and your outrageous prices!

     

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  15.  
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    jaffs, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 5:56am

    Overkill?

    DVD + fireproof safe = what else do you need?

    Burn a DVD (or 12) with your "important" data.
    Who really has 1TB of "critical" data at home?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 6:11am

    Re: For the techno-illiterate

    I wonder, how that pairs with Comcast limit on monthly traffic? Are online storage users getting an exception?

     

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  17.  
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    Buzz, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 7:28am

    *facepalm*

    ISPs have always struggled in this area. It is hard to sign up for any ISP without it offering its proprietary email address, $5 per month spam blocker, $5 per month antivirus scanner, $5 per month per addition GB of storage, ... orrrrr I could just use Gmail and get everything I need for free.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Tony, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 8:03am

    As usual...

    The tech-geeks (that would be pretty much everyone here) are completely missing it.

    Yes, it IS cheaper to handle your own backups, or to use a different service. Verizon KNOWS this.

    But they also know something that the typical techie tends to forget: MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ANY BETTER.

     

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  19.  
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    wiggins, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 8:12am

    value pricing

    When you are setting a price on a product, you price it for the perceived value for your target market. You don't just stick a markup on your costs. People who are going to pay comcast/verizon for backups probably had never considered a backup strategy before and have never priced one. And comcast/verizon prices are probably acceptable for them.. I don't kknow much about economics but value based pricing seems like a pretty obvious point here

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Yakko Warner, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: For the techno-illiterate

    Read the link. Apparently a Comcast rep confirms that it does count against your cap.

    I guess it's so they don't get branded as being anti-competitive (offering preferential treatment to their own service), but it's not like that stops them from doing the same with their VOIP or video-on-demand services. *eyeroll*

    Depending on the frequency and size of your backups, you could hit that 250GB limit pretty darn quickly....

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 11:06am

    Check out slashdot, Carbonite has been posting fake reviews for years. http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/27/2349217

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Jerkface, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: For the techno-illiterate

    Is it that difficult to put your external HDD in a firesafe box when it's not in use?? You should already own one for all of your important paper documents.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    Dear ISPs, stop trying to 'add value'.
    Sell consumers unfiltered, uncapped fiber-to-home at a reasonable price.
    That is all.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Almost Anonymous, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 3:19pm

    The suspense would kill me...

    wondering what would happen to all of my data after the third strike. Do you think they would send it back to me, or just have a fire sale?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Yakko Warner, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 4:11pm

    Re:

    Dear ISPs,

    What he said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    teknosapien, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 4:55pm

    and do we really

    trust them with out data ????

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Gene Cavanaugh, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 6:03pm

    Backup

    I use gmail - I just email to myself, and with 7+ gB, I find that in backing up what I really want to save, I am still using only a fraction of the space allotted to me.
    AND, it is free.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    David Miron, Jan 29th, 2009 @ 8:11am

    Beware of Carbonite

    If you are considering Carbonite please take note that they have just been caught reviewing their own products on Amazon. What's worse is they've known ths was going on for months and have not bothered to do anything about it. Only now after the New York Times exposed them did they remove the fraudulent reviews but all hell is breaking loose around them. Get a better picture and a nice cartoon here: http://www.pcdisorder.com/2009/01/carbonite-belkin-pc-frustrations.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Jerry Leichter, Feb 1st, 2009 @ 5:48am

    Different values to add

    For years, telco's have sold a "value added service" where they charge you a "small fee" for "inside wire insurance" - they'll fix problems with your inside wiring "for free" if you bought the insurance. If you haven't, they'll charge you a very high per-hour rate.

    Of course, in many cases you can fix it yourself - or hire some local guy to do the same work for much less.

    Still, people buy the service. Why? Because it's simple, convenient, looks trustworthy - and when there's a problem with the phone, it's nice to know that you only need to call the phone company and they'll fix it; you don't have to go search for a local fix-it guy.

    Is it "worth it"? That's something that each consumer should decide for himself! For the typical reader of this list, who can probably fix most problems himself, certainly not. For a non-mechanical 75-year-old retiree who depends on his phone service - quite likely.

    There are many people who can't "roll their own" backup. I have no problem with ISP's offering such a service. I don't even have a problem with them asking "exorbitant" rates! It's the market that's supposed to determine the *appropriate* costs for things.

    That's not to say there can't be problems here. Is Verizon's advertising fraudulent or misleading? Are they abusing their near-monopoly position to gain advantages? (If, for example, the data cap did *not* apply to backups to their servers, I'd say that was an abuse.) Are they charging the advertising and marketing costs for this non-regulated service against their regulated services? All of these things need to be watched for dealt with. Absent that, if you believe in the market - go out there and sell a competing product! (Oh, you think you don't have enough money to get started? How about a service helping people who find "roll your own" too difficult? The world probably doesn't need more backup services - but it certainly has room for easier to use ones!)

    -- Jerry

     

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  30.  
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    ChiliPepr, Nov 30th, 2009 @ 5:08pm

    Mozy

    MozyHome works pretty well for me – on both Mac and PC. It is very easy to configure and takes very little resources on modern machines. MozyPro needs a lot work, however – the interface is extremely convoluted and not user friendly at all. Use the following link to get 20% more space on a free MozyHome 2 Gb account: https://mozy.com/?code=D685JF Click the above link, click the "Sign up now" button under the orange "Home Users" banner in the upper right. Fill out the form, download the software and complete one backup to get the extra space.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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