Hundreds of entrants reveal humorous, heartbreaking stories of loss.
Data loss is more than just an inconvenience; it is catastrophic for thousands of people every year, as evidenced by the recent outpouring of stories for the "Biggest Data Loser" on-air promotion with Howard Stern sponsored by Carbonite, the leading provider of online backup services to consumers and small businesses. Unlike weight loss competitions where all "losers" ultimately win the battle of the bulge, the contestants in the "Biggest Data Loser" are often left with heartbreak, and sometimes, as in the case of the winner, professional bankruptcy.
The stories submitted as part of the promotion bring to light an issue many consumers aren't aware of until it's too late and they've joined the legion of biggest data losers. In fact, 55 percent of consumers surveyed by Harris in 2006 said the data on their computer was worth more than $1,000. Yet in that same survey, almost half of the respondents were not backing up that data.
The contest, judged by Howard Stern Show production staff, compiled contestants' worst data loss tales from stolen computers, fires, natural disasters and crashed hard drives, in order to find the most horrifying tale. The contest ran on the Howard Stern Show on Sirius satellite radio from June 25-July 13, and the grand prize winner, Erol Ata of Butler, N.J., was announced on Aug. 2.
Ata, a professional wedding photographer, experienced a major power surge and his hard drive, along with all of the photos from a recent wedding, were destroyed. Ata was then sued by his clients, resulting in $46,000 decision and a bankrupted business. While Ata can't recover his data, he did receive a grand prize package that included a new Lenovo ThinkPad laptop, a five-year subscription to Carbonite to ensure all future files are backed up, as well as a one-year subscription to Sirius satellite radio.
"Losing all of my photos and, almost my business, has been a nightmare," Ata said. "I never thought it would happen to me, so I want to tell as many people as I can just how important it is to protect your data. I'm getting a fresh start now to rebuild my business and with Carbonite and my new laptop, I'm ensured that my data will be protected."
The runners-up in the contest, Tom Anderer of Manchester, Conn., and Chris Pankuch of Stow, Ohio, were each awarded a $100 iTunes gift certificate, a six-month subscription to Sirius radio and one year of Carbonite.
Carbonite pioneered online backup services focused on the consumer market. To make Carbonite easy for consumers to use, Carbonite introduced the first unlimited pricing plan in the backup industry — $50 per year, no matter how much data you have. Carbonite was also the first online backup company to do away with the need for special user interfaces for selecting what you want to back up; Carbonite backs up all your data by default.
"This contest really opens people's eyes to the need for reliable, easy and affordable data back-up solutions," said David Friend, chief executive officer of Carbonite. "Most people don't realize how often data loss occurs: up to 13 percent of hard drives crash every year, 10 percent of laptops get stolen or lost and 40 percent of computer users accidentally delete important information. If you're not backed up offsite, it's just a matter of time before you'll be added to the biggest data losers list. Carbonite is cheap insurance at only $50 per year, and even the most technically challenged users will find it a snap to install."
Carbonite launched its Online PCBackup™ service in May 2006. Carbonite's industry-first offer of unlimited backup space for a flat low price revolutionized the market for consumer and small business backup services. So far the company has backed up over 1 billion files, has restored more than 100 million lost files for its customers and has a large data center where capacity is measured in petabytes. There are Carbonite users in nearly 100 countries.
Founded in 2005, Carbonite believes that computer users should not 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 numerous channels, including its corporate website, major US retailers and international distributors. For more information, please visit www.carbonite.com.