No, I have not lost my mind. Not today, anyway. I just want to talk about services we use online these days, and make a case for when do we need to bite the bullet and go beyond the freebie into a paying plan. Specifically, I will focus on 2 of them: E-mail and remote storage.
Off the wire it goes
E-mail was Internet’s first killing app. More than a decade ago, people started to realize the benefit of instant delivery of text and digital documents. Then came email over the web, pioneered by Hotmail with so much success that Microsoft ended up buying it in 1998, and ever since such email services have been provided for free, relying on paid advertising to make money.
Fast forward 15 years, over 1 Billion users are almost evenly distributed among the big three: Yahoo Mai, GMail and Hotmail. While most of these users have their accounts for personal use, there is a considerable amount of them who uses these accounts to conduct business communications at least in part, either to run a small business in addition to their day job or as a full time entrepreneur running one or more profitable businesses.
Where do I keep my stuff?
On the other hand, the use of online storage solutions is a relatively new application sweeping the web these days. While portals allowing the storage of files for free have been around for the last 5 years at least, it is just in the last 2, with the ‘Cloud’ buzzword invading everyone’s screens, that it is taking off with the public consumers at large. The business model being employed by this new breed of cloud storage services being the ‘freemium’, that is offering a basic, limited version of the product for free, with the possibility of larger and faster storage tiers for a fee.
If it is free, why pay?
Let’s elaborate on the fundamental question of this post. Why pay at all?… All things being equal, the question is even silly to ask, so that is the key issue to consider: does the free service is really equal to the premium service offered?… Most of the time, it is not equal and the argument dies there, but other times the differences are subtle, but significant. Let me list a few scenarios where paying for the service is the way to go:
- You just cannot afford data loss, not even a single byte (data being emails, documents, pictures, videos, etc). Free services do not carry a warranty of availability and they can be out of service for significant period of time with no obligation to you (from one of the big three email providers, this is an excerpt from their terms of service: “…WE DON’T MAKE ANY COMMITMENTS ABOUT … THE SPECIFIC FUNCTION OF THE SERVICES, OR THEIR RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, OR ABILITY TO MEET YOUR NEEDS. WE PROVIDE THE SERVICES “AS IS”
- Your small business is ready for show time and needs a solution that communicates professionalism. For most businesses, start small and controlling costs is one and the same; hence it makes sense to use free email and other internet services for free. However, as the business grows and it gets time to target certain customers and markets, it needs to feature an image of seriousness like for example its own domain name (its .COM) and it being proudly shown on the email address (@yourbusinessdomain.COM). So, a hosted email service is needed.
If you are ready to take a step on the direction of premium services with high quality and availability, and not sure how to, feel free to contact us today. At PageFabric, we provide consulting in technology solutions and partner with leaders in cloud based services to give you 100% availability and security.