Snapfish, Kodak's EasyShare Gallery, Shutterfly, Yahoo Photos and others aren't backup services
Photo websites like Snapfish, Kodak's EasyShare Gallery, Shutterfly, and Yahoo Photos are great for sharing and printing some of your favorite pictures. But as Bill Bulkeley said in his recent article in the Wall Street Journal, The Downside of Photo-Storage Sites, "If users don't follow the conditions for service — often disclosed only in the fine print — their photographs could wind up getting deleted."
On these websites, you typically have to purchase prints from time to time in order to avoid having your uploaded pictures deleted. For example, Kodak's online EasyShare Gallery quietly added a provision last year that requires users to pay $2.49 per month to avoid having their pictures deleted if they don't order prints.
However, most people have far too many photos on their hard drives to use services like EasyShare, Snapfish, or Yahoo Photos for backup. Digital photographers today have an average of 2,800 photos on their hard drives, using roughly 2.4 gigabytes of disk space, according to a survey done by Carbonite, Inc., a provider of online backup services.
According to David Friend, CEO of Carbonite, "A real backup service ought to find all your pictures automatically and just back them up without the user having to think about it. To upload 2,800 photos to a service like Kodak's EasyShare requires you to hand-select each of the 2,800 photos. It would take days of constant work. And you need to remember to repeat that process every time you take new pictures. People just don't do it — it's too much of a pain."
Kodak doesn't seem to dispute this assertion and even puts a tip on their web site exhorting users to "Back up your photos!"
Carbonite's approach is different. "What we do," explains Jeff Flowers, co-founder and CTO, "is scan your disk looking for any pictures to back up. It's completely automatic. Any time you put some new photos on your PC, Carbonite finds them within seconds and starts to back them up over the Internet. When the little Carbonite icon turns green, that means that every photo on your PC is safely backed up on our servers in a secure location. If your PC gets stolen or your house burns down, you can easily get all your photos back from us. And we encrypt those photos before they leave your PC so that no one but you can see them. Obviously the photo printing and photo sharing web sites can't do that."
"The issue," says Friend "is not just whether your images are safely stored on the Internet somewhere, but rather, how they got there. If it takes work, you'll put off doing backups. If it's automatic, like virus protection, and you don't have to think about it, you'll always be safe."
Only a small fraction of computer users regularly back up their PCs. Boston-based Carbonite, the leading consumer online backup company, addresses this issue by providing safe, simple, inexpensive, automatic backup over the Internet for consumers and small businesses in over 80 countries.
Founded in 2005, Carbonite believes that computers users shouldn't have to think about backup. The company's mission is to provide an affordable, reliable, secure and easy-to-use solution for the mainstream computer user.
Carbonite is available to consumers and small business through several channels, including its Web site, retailers such as Staples and CompUSA, and hundreds of small resellers. For more information, please visit www.carbonite.com.