On the 13th of October, online backup and data storage  got a reality check. Backify, a LiveDrive powered cloud backup and recovery vendor, announced free storage of up to 512 GB with an option to “upgrade” to “unlimited space”. But, while the whispers, mutterings and wonderings were reaching a crescendo, LiveDrive announced that it was blacklisting Backify and withdrawing support because the firm was “a fly-by-night” operation and had not paid the fees due to the parent company, according to LiveDrive MD, Andrew Michael.

In today’s world of sophisticated phishing sites, where businesses exist that illegally make money by disguising malicious software as antivirus solutions for example, the Backify offer “smelt” sour to many right away. A blogging web site, https://blog.forret.com immediately looked at the offering from that angle. And when testing the offering, saw tha t the backup client they downloaded didn’t say “Backify” but was called “LiveDrive”. However ” neither the Terms of Use or the Privacy Statement mention the LiveDrive company or product.”

LiveDrive’s official statement is that it cut ties with Backify because it had misused the “trust” of the business relationship with LiveDrive. Backify had assumed a conflicting role in the market and was indulging in unfair practices. While LiveDrive was offering “unlimited” space for $39 a month, Backify was offering the same for just $2.99 a month. Though LiveDrive claims that it has no problems with that, it was deeply embarrassed when customers (who discovered the engine behind Backify services) began to demand that LiveDrive offer them the same service at the Backify prices or lack of it.

Further, the firm’s credit card declined with each new payment to LiveDrive resulting in a stalemate. Backify in turn blamed LiveDrive and has stated in their homepage that Customers are having problems with their accounts due to “errors in the LiveDrive API”. They further insisted that LiveDrive was responsible for the problems with their payment systems and the former had responded to their complaints by terminating the reseller contract and all accounts created on their server.

Unfortunately, this has not helped the hundreds of customers who signed up for Backify’s services on “faith”. They suddenly found themselves being charged for services that were purportedly offered to them for free and then left floundering as Backify ceased operations overnight and all phone calls to the firm reached the voicemail. Moreover, LiveDrive informed them that their data has vanished into cyberspace and they no longer have access to the accounts that were made available to them by Backify.

We at KineticD, feel that this is just another example of a practice that reminds us all too well of 1999. The dot.com bubble, when you could get everything for free online. Startups tried to justify it with “grabbing market share” at all cost. Once they had the market share they would build a business on it. We all know how that story ended. Cloud or Online Backup companies need to survive in the business world. If they don’t survive your data doesn’t either.  It is your choice of how much of a gamble you want to engage in when backing up your data; however, if you rely on retrieving your backups when you need them, use common sense when selecting a provider. The cheapest offering on the market, is probably just that, or it might even be a HOAX or a fraud scheme.

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