Cloud backup service Backblaze has launched a referral program that could get you free storage for life if you convince enough people to join.
When someone signs up with your unique invite link, both you and your referral will receive a free month. There’s no limit to how many free credits you can earn.
If you’re already a Backblaze member, you can get started by logging into the service and click on the Get Free Months link in your dashboard. From there you can email your Gmail contacts, share to Facebook or Twitter, and copy your referral link.
After losing a backup hard drive to data corruption recently, I finally caved and signed up for Backblaze. The service does an excellent job at running in the background without me having to pay attention to it. At $50 per year or $5 per month, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that all my computer’s data is secure.
Backblaze’s story is an unlikely one. When the company started in 2007, critics were skeptical that it could compete with Amazon’s cloud storage service. However, the team decided to build its own storage systems in order to optimize its setup.
Founder Gleb Budman told TNW in a recent interview that the company set out to solve two problems with online backups. When talking to potential customers, Backblaze discovered that the process of choosing files to backup, much like cleaning out the garage, was too daunting for most users to get started and most felt it was too expensive. Armed with that knowledge, Backblaze set out to create a solution that could backup all your files for just $5 per month.
“We slowly came to this idea that, if you forget the technology, just from the user experience, what’s the ideal scenario?” Budman said. “You don’t ask questions you don’t have to. You just backup everything.”
Budman admitted that the startup wasn’t even sure if what users wanted would be economically viable, but seven years later, Backblaze has proven it can work. The company managed to bootstrap during its first five years before eventually taking funding to try out some marketing experiments.
“We made this explicit decision to start Backblaze bootstrapped,” Budman said. “I think if we had raised funding in the beginning, we would have said, ‘We know that Amazon S3 isn’t cost effective to do this and we’ll just put it on S3 for now and in the future we’ll figure out how to get cost effective in the future.'”
One of the tricks Backblaze has implemented to cut costs is using consumer drives instead of IT-specific components. Since it already builds redundancy into its software across its network, it doesn’t need all the extra protections that raise the prices on enterprise hardware. If you’re the DIY type, Backblaze has open-sourced its storage pod designs so you can build your own setup. A box without drives costs roughly $3,000 to build, while adding 180TB of storage would push the project cost above $10,000.
Backblaze currently manages over 100 petabytes of data, which it estimates is about 1/5th the amount that Facebook has in its data centers.
If you’re a Backblaze customer, chances are you’ve already referred a few friends to the service just in passing. Now you can get a little something in return. It’s a pretty sweet deal from a company that’s already built its business around being as user-friendly as possible.
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