In an announcement and email blast today, Bitcasa, the former Infinite Storage cloud service, switched all Infinitely-Free accounts to a 60-day Trial accounts.
Beginning today, Bitcasa will be offering 5GB of cloud storage through a 60-day free trial. Legacy users of our 5GB Free service will be given 60 days to upgrade or move their files before their accounts are deleted. Our paid plans will remain at $99/year for 1TB and $999/year for 10TB.
This is the second “downgrade” of the Bitcasa cloud storage service. They started selling their product as an Infinite Storage with free giveaways and promises. A few years later, the Infinite was dropped. Which was not surprising at all.
That was fine and expected. An infinite or unlimited storage (whichever terminology you prefer) is infinitely impossible (pun intended) in a world that revolves around money, especially if it is offered free-of-charge. There are things to consider like the salary of the engineers and scientists working on improving the product, to the operational costs of maintaining the servers.
There is also the fact that there are freeloaders who are uploading illegal materials. Since Bitcasa is encrypted, there is no way for the company to delete these materials even if the government forced them. A limited storage is not a deterrent to a freeloader, one simply creates multiple accounts.
Switching to a 60-day, 5GB trial account solves all these problems. Of course, freeloaders can still create new accounts but tracking the 60-day limit, one would need to establish a sweatshop. (A sweatshop employs underpaid kids whose task is to do one thing, in this case, transfer files to a new account before the 60-day trial expires.)
However, this also is not attractive to non-corporate users. There are other alternatives like ownCloud, Google Drive (Gdrive), Dropbox, and SugarSync. Each platform has advantages and disadvantages, so it all comes down to what is important to each individual. Is it encryption? Is it service lifespan? Is it trust?
In Bitcasa’s case, two downgrades is not something that can be simply ignored. They started off with an advertisement of Infinite Storage and backed out from it. Today, they effectively killed all free users regardless if one has been with them from the beginning but can not afford their paid service. (To them, it is cheap, but the Western world is only a fraction of our reality.)
The question then remains. If I pay for their paid service what is the guarantee that the price and storage will remain the same in the next ten to twenty or even thirty years? None. They may make statements and promises that it will be so, but again, it happened twice already.
It’s a business!
Yes, this is good for the company. Yes, they realigned their business model to offer a branded service. Which, ironically, is also the point, their main thrust is to provide a branded cloud storage to corporations. Individual paid users are secondary. The freeloaders at the bottom, and they said their farewells.
They said it themselves,
this change will impact a very small percentage of the data currently stored with Bitcasa. It is all about the numbers… and money.
Thus, we also can not fault them. They are running a business and they earn more with their branded service, and individual users paying on a monthly or yearly basis. Freeloaders are just that, freeloaders, or to borrow a terminology, useless eaters of resources.
With all that said. As a freeloader who wish he can afford the US dollars pricing, it is goodbye.
By the way, this was not new. An earlier and similar service called Wuala had to realign their business, and free users–including early adopters and promoters–had to be let go.
Also: My first posted reaction.
Related articles across the web
Bitcasa Ends Infinitely-Free Accounts by Yuki (雪) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Legal Notice.