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.

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Companies: carbonite, comcast, jungledisk, mozy, verizon

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Comments on “Dear ISPs: When Launching Value Added Services, How About Actually Adding Value?”

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30 Comments
Spectere (profile) says:

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.

Yakko Warner says:

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….

FEDUP says:

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!

wiggins says:

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

David Miron (user link) says:

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

Jerry Leichter (profile) says:

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

ChiliPepr says:

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.

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