Bitcasa announced new pricing plans and an api yesterday and the reaction to the new plans you could say has been poor. Reading through the comments on the blog post and seeing the reaction Twitter gives you a good sense of what Bitcasa has done wrong with this announcement. Here are some common themes that I have seen.
Trust and Broken Promises
Bitcasa made many promises about being infinite storage with infinite file versions and infinite access. The new plans broke everyone of those promises. Bitcasa is now limited storage, with limited file versions and limited client access. It does not matter that the cheapest package is 1TB at $10.00/month and cheaper per GB than most, if not all of their competitors, Bitcasa has shown that the CEO and the company no longer hold the same vision as it once did.
Many people signed up with Bitcasa because of the promise of a Linux client. Bitcasa is still promising a Linux client BUT only for people on the new plans. This feels and looks like a bait and switch by many. Bitcasa had a Linux client and when they launched they removed it with many promises of it coming back. Now to get the Linux client people that signed up will need to switch to a new plan, despite Bitcasa statement that existing users on the Infinite plan will get all new features.
Bitcasa, whether they like it or not, is a consumer based service. That means they are in competition with all of the other consumer based cloud backup and storage services. The new prices and limits simply make Bitcasa a bad consumer purchase when there are other services that do backup better and other services that do access better. Bitcasa destroyed both of their advantages in the consumer market with higher prices and limits on storage, devices and file versions.
Then there is the ridiculous price of $999.00/year for Infinite storage. Seriously, $999.00/year. What household has $999.00 to spend on cloud storage? People can literally purchase their own hardware and run their own “Infinite” cloud storage service.
Bitcasa has tried to make it clear that existing infinite users will keep their existing plan and price unless they want to cancel or change their plan from monthly to annual or want the Linux client. At first glance you would think this was a good decision to help encourage the people that helped spread the word about Bitcasa, and believed in their promise of infinite storage. Except it looks like it is backfiring.
Existing users even with keeping their pricing the same can no longer recommend Bitcasa to friends, family and clients because the pricing for infinite is just not affordable and well can the company be trusted any more? How long before existing users are told that they must pick a new plan? Many existing users appear to be ready to leave instead of waiting to see when they will be forced to pick a new plan.
Personally I am a Bitcasa user. I have been since they were in beta and I signed up as soon as they came out of beta. I liked the idea of having infinite storage and having it available on all of my devices. It has been useful to have my files available on any device, but I have also been waiting for the Linux client and my current number of devices is 4. At this point I don’t expect I will be keeping my account. I don’t think the new direction of the company is one that I want to support. I already have cloud backups taken care of by Backblaze and Zoolz and can easily replace my Bitcasa drive with an extra hard drive and BitTorrent Sync.
It is always disappointing when a company that had so much promise decides to abandon their core ideas. I am sure former CEO Tony Gauda found it hard to watch the reaction yesterday.
In a game of chess this move would be considered a blunder.
— Tony Gauda (@tonygauda) November 20, 2013
It was a little odd how Mr. Gauda left the company with little talk about why. Perhaps these new plans show more about the struggles inside Bitcasa and why he left.
Are you an existing Bitcasa user? Will you be staying with them? If you are looking for cloud storage will you consider Bitcasa now? If you have time take a look at the comments on the Bitcasa blog. They offer a great deal of insight into how people feel about this complete reversal by Bitcasa.
Want to know more about Bitcasa? Read our complete Bitcasa review for more information.