I've been thinking about Amazon S3 for a while. I had a moderatly interesting idea for a business model around online backup. Imagine if backing up your computer cost you nothing. But retrieving those backups had a substantial price. Say, maybe $10 a gig. So if you had 50 gig of storage, some company would back it all up for you on a daily/weekly/whatever basis for free. You'd have the peace of mind of knowing it was safe without the hassle of paying for it.
But then if you lost it all, you could fork over the $500 and get it all back.
It'd be kind of like holding your data hostage in the event of a failure.
Through S3 it costs you about $100 a year to do that example 50gig backup. So as long as people had failures once every 3 or 4 years, it's a profitable situation.
Maybe even a scaling price window. Need one document? $20 One photo? $2
I wonder if the human-psychology would prevent something like this from working. Would people really place that high of a value to get their data back? Especially people too cheap to pay for backup on an ongoing basis? My guess is that it wouldn't work, but it seemed like an interesting enough idea to share.
Of course if someone like Dell or Apple started doing it by default on consumer computers, I bet they could make a killing when people don't plan ahead and lose something important.