This is the story of how I went from being a Raving Fan of Mozy to a lost customer and proactive recommender of their key competition. I post it to help you make decisions about your online, offsite backup of your valuable personal data.
Are you doing offsite cloud backup? No? Do it, please, now… go sign up here.
On July 16th I discovered Mozy had executed a bait and switch on my cloud data backup plan sending a $50 annual bill sky rocketing by 4,000% to over $2,000. I was now a disgruntled customer and started to delve deep into online research. I read much in forums, in blogs and on blog comments about the anger towards Mozy. An anger that made Netflix’s recent faux pa seem rather muted in comparison. People were super mad online with Mozy and there were many suggestions for alternatives.
I discovered lots of good options in my browsing and whilst I would encourage you to do your own research I can highly suggest two solutions and hope that this saves you some time; CrashPlan and BackBlaze.
I chose CrashPlan in the end for its flexibility, money back guarantee, “Seeding” option and a few other items covered in detail below. Both offered true and permanent unlimited plans. Backblaze’s benefits seemed to be skewed slightly towards ‘background’ or ‘fire and forget’. Now, CrashPlan does work seamlessly in the background however it does require some more set up vs. BackBlaze’s “you’ll have to tell me what you don’t want to back up” approach. That’s a mighty fine approach for non power users. For those of us with lots of data/drives and needs to do things like do local backups as well as online and the ability to backup all my families computers may want more configuration options.
So I’m now a happy CrashPlan customer. I’m looking forwards to receive my 1TB seed drive in the mail (which I load and ship back) to help jump start our cloud relationship. I’m happy to say CrashPlan is already doing local backup for me. The moment my CrashPlan cloud dataset is secured I will be terminating my Mozy account and uninstalling their software from my computer, forever.
The whole story
I was a huge Mozy fan. I used to refer friends to their service. About two weeks ago I told a friend I’d be prepared to pay more for back up. Say $200 vs. $50 pa. Why? Because I value those photos, over decades worth. I viewed Mozy as a critical part of my photography hobby. It was worthy insurance, which hopefully I’d never have to use. I told him I’d send him a referral code.
A little about my data. I amassed about 1.6 Terabytes (1.3TB photos/videos alone). That’s 1,600 Gigabytes. And it’s growing at a rate of about 300 GB a year. I shoot in RAW on a 21 megapixel camera so it racks up the bytes quite quickly.
So I went to dig out that referral code for my friend. I logged on to Mozy get the code and I noticed something odd about my account. My files are at risk of being deleted?
What was going on? I dug a little deeper and found that I needed to renew. But wait, my unlimited plan was gone. I was given a 125GB option, and the ability to extend it. 125GB? I laughed, this was a fraction of my current back up, less than 8% in fact. So how much would it cost to backup my 1.6TB plus a years more data? With the 20GB increments that came to over $2,000 dollars. OK so I said I’d be prepared to pay $200. Not 10x that, every single year. Especially a jump of over 4,000%.
When I went online and searched I found out this happened in January, but oddly enough I never received the email. And I get emails from Mozy on occasion when a backup has an issue. So I knew I should be getting important account related emails.
Was Mozy justified?
In short my opinion is a resounding no. Here’s why; As a service for my wife and my cell phones we probably pay close to the $166 a month that Mozy would work out to at this rate. However that’s a service we use every day, not insurance. What about comparing auto insurance, well if we get in a car crash and don’t have enough insurance and perhaps were to cause $250,000 worth of damage and were sued for that then that could put us as an average family in a very challenging financial spot. Loosing photos would be upsetting but it wouldn’t bankrupt us. Then there are Theft, Medical and all the other “services” that auto insurance covers. How much do we pay for that? $60-70 a month. Some view auto insurance as a necessary evil. Compared to Auto insurance Mozy’s new cost structure was not only hard to justify but it was giving Satan himself a run for his evil money, if you were to view insurance as a necessary evil that is. In fact based on value (what you are prepared to give up to get a service/product) Mozy would be hard pressed to be 1/3 of the cost of auto insurance, and certainly not 3x.
Is Mozy good for you?
Maybe. If your data needs are not over 125gig. Some casual PC/Mac users would probably be fine with such a plan. However I have to ask myself; how many people are staying under the 125gig limit if Mozy decided they had to change their business model because it was broken? My guess would be more people are over than under that limit. However I can’t recommend it from a value perspective especially when there are in my opinion far better, and unlimited services out there.
As for ‘unlimited’ Matt Dornquast, CEO of CrashPlan says it best; See a 1 min 24 second video here.
Back to Mozy. I felt betrayed as customer. They had sold me under the guise of long term protection of “all of my photos and videos in an unlimited data plan”. It turned out to be a bait and switch as not three months into my second year they made this significant change. Had they never projected in their business model that it would come to this for their users? Or were they just trying to make a quick buck? In my opinion both are very bad business decisions.
So where next?
A few hours of Bing research uncovered four key types of providers;
- “Free-free” unlimited (e.g. Spideroak)
- Free Limited (e.g. CrashPlan’s free local/social option)
- Limited (e.g. Mozy)
- “Unlimited” but throttled (e.g. Carbonite)
- Unlimited (e.g. Backblaze, CrashPlan)
I’m not going Free-Free (e.g. Spideroak), you do get what you pay for in this world. Unlimited data was critical for my decision. I don’t know [for sure] how much or how fast my data will grow. I just know that it will and I don’t way to have to worry about it. The very nature of having to think about this and having to choose what I backup and what I don’t is counterintuitive to a comprehensive backup solution, IMHO. You can use this tool from Servdex is useful to compare three solutions based on your needs. I narrowed it down to Backblaze and CrashPlan – both companies who are committed to providing unlimited data (Backblaze, CrashPlan)
CrashPlan’s comment on unlimited:
BackBlaze’s comment on unlimited:
In the end there were several key benefits that CrashPlan offered that won me over
- Seeded back up (they send you a 1TB drive in the mail, you load this with as much as you can to help jump start the cloud back up process – saving me 2-3 months and avoiding the risk of pissing of Comcast)
- Flexibility & control in configuration, backup sets and fine tuning settings
- Local backup options with the CrashPlan+ plan I can use it to back up from my fast C drive to my back up Drobo drive. I had been using SyncToy but this approach was rather complex and for some reason it hasn’t been running as a system task recently (?!) – which was very concerning. CrashPlan neutralizes this issue.
- “Social” aspect – up-to 10 family PCs can be backed up, Plus the rather innovative feature of being able to offer close friends the ability to take up some of my empty drive space for backing their data with me, for free.
- Cancel anytime and get a refund for the balance of my payment. This resulted in my opting for the 4 Year Plan.
I went with CrashPlan+ and chose the Family plan. Including my company discount with CrashPlan (~$28) all in all for four years it cost me about 4% of what Mozy would cost me over the same time period.
Good luck and remember all that money you spend on camera bodies, lenses and editing software is worth nothing if you were to loose months or years of your treasured photographs and videos.