Insuring Your Lifestream

Posted on February 28, 2009
Filed Under Business |

A few months ago, Charlie O’Donnell told me someone should build an easy way to back up Flickr accounts online. I told him no one would pay for that, but he insisted that yes, some people would. Over the next few weeks, 2 other people told me similar things. That was enough to convince me that this was a possible business opportunity.

The more I thought about it, I realized that maybe Charlie was on to something even bigger than what he initial thought. I upload videos of my daughter to Photobucket for friends and family to see, and while I have copies of those videos elsewhere, they are spread out on various computers and hard drives. If I could pay just a few dollars a month to back them up somewhere else, somewhere outside of my own computers (which could go down from viruses or a house fire or simple human error), the peace of mind would be worth it.

Four months later, Lifestream Backup is ready for private beta testing.

It’s probably a little early. The “backup your hard drive online” space has started to explode, so I think the “online to online backup” space will be next. Think about it. We are leaving more and more pieces of our lives at various places around the web. I use Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, Basecamp, Google Docs, Youtube, Flickr, and Photobucket regularly, and I am not even a heavy lifestreamer. Many of you use them much much more.

These services have their own backups and are pretty safe, but, there is always the possibility of hacked accounts, server crashes, human errors, intentional human errors (think disgruntled employees), and more. If I can sell insurance by backing up your stuff somewhere else, if it is easy to set up, automated, and cheap, would you sign up? Well, ReadWriteWeb picked us up a while back while we were still in development, and nearly 200 people filled out our survey asking to be notified when we launched. So, I think at least a few people are interested.

With everything else that has gone on in the past few weeks including the Ma.gnolia data loss, the gmail outage, and the Facebook TOS issue, I think there will be plenty of stories that make people think they should have their data backed up somewhere in case they suddenly want to leave one of these services, or it suddenly becomes unavailable.

So, what are the details of the service? For now, we backup Flickr, Photobucket and Twitter. Wordpress backup and Facebook backup are coming soon, then Google Docs and Youtube. Over time, anything and everything with an API can be backed up. Once we have enough APIs supported, we will offer a business level service for small businesses who use many of these free online services to store their customer information, documents, and other data. We also offer the ability to use your own Amazon S3 account, if you are tech savvy enough to sign up and retrieve your keys.

We have done “friends and family” testing, and are already redesigning the site based on their feedback. (Below is a screenshot of the current backup settings page.)

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Since those of you that read this blog are most likely long time readers of my old blog, I thought you would be the perfect group to sign up during private beta and send me feedback, and requests for which services to support, etc.

Our standard pricing is going to be $5.95/month for 10Gb of storage, or $49/year. We can’t offer the service for free because we have real costs associated with the storage of all this data, but we are giving all our beta testers a discounted rate to start of $3.95/month or $25/year. If you want to sign up and test it out, you can enter ‘betabackup’ on the front page to get in.

Send feedback to rob-at-lifestreambackup-dotcom. Or feel free to use one of my other email addresses if you have them. Your feedback is what makes projects like this successful.

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