Apr 21, 2008

PC World Editor: Free Web Services Disappear, Then What?

Harry McCracken warns: Pay attention to "Important" e-mail from free Web services!
If your favorite free Web service sends you an e-mail that declares itself "Important," open it pronto--and brace yourself for grim news. If my in-box is any indication, "Important" is becoming a cold, hard euphemism for Sorry, pal, the free ride is over. In just the last month or so, Driveway notified me (and 8 million other users) that it was discontinuing its online storage service. UReach.com told me it was taking away my all-in-one messaging service--unless I started paying at least $5 a month. And Searchbutton, which hosted the search engine for my personal Web site, instituted a $500 annual fee for the service it had been giving away. There's no denying the facts: Lots of companies that thought they could make a business out of free services can't. Either they start charging, or they disappear...


Frugal Ben Says: Is this problem with free web services or with all web services? What happens if you are trustingly backing up your important data to a backup site for which you pay a monthly fee and the company goes out of business? You might wish you had also been backing it up to a hard drive or DVD in your personal possession.

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