I buy a notebook and I expect my notes will survive longer than I will. I print a photo of my family and I trust that even with colors fading, the people will still be recognizable 30 years from now. I back up my data to Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or any other major online backup service, and… I fear that my data could be gone in a few years.
With current payment plans, data backup services expect to receive monthly or annual payments from an existing credit card. If the user’s credit card expires, and the user is not available to renew the subscription with another credit card, within a few months the account will be deleted and the data will be lost forever.
This could happen in a number of cases – updated email spam filters could block the payment reminders, the user moves to another email service and misses the reminders, the user suffers a serious injury and is in a comma, is held captive as in the case of Bowe Bergdahl by foreign powers, or is held captive by domestic powers – in jail.
Or, the user simply wants to take care of this problem once and for all, and not have to worry about it year after year (guess which of these is the author’s case).
A viable alternative could be for backup services to provide a one-payment option. That is, the service calculates the present cost of storing X gigabytes forever, or for some long period of time, such as 50 years. The user pays the fee once and never ever has to worry about it.
Consider Google Drive – as of June 14, 2014, the cost of storing 100 GB of data is $2 USD per month or $24 per year. Assuming storage costs continue to drop by half every 18 months as the current long term trend has been, the present cost of storing 100GB “forever” could be between $70 to $100 – or less than five times the cost for one year.
While this offer may be less attractive from small companies who may not be in business a short number of years from now, one could reasonably expect companies such as Google, Microsoft, or Amazon to do good on long-term promises.
Wouldn’t you want the option to pay $100 to a well-established company once, and not have to worry about your data for the rest of your life?
Please upvote or comment if you like the idea and would be willing to pay a “forever” fee for your data backup.