Bitcasa, a service best known for unlimited cloud storage at low prices, is now drastically raising its prices.
For new users, unlimited plans will cost $99 per month or $999 per year. That's ten times higher than the previous price of $10 per month or $99 per year. Bitcasa is also cutting in half the base amount of its free storage plan, from 10 GB to 5 GB, but non-paying users can earn up to 20 GB through referrals.
To fill the pricing void, Bitcasa is creating two middle tiers. "Premium" users can get 1 TB of storage for $10 per month or $99 per year--the same rate as the old unlimited plan--and "Pro" users can get 5 TB of storage for $50 per month or $499 per year.
Existing Bitcasa users won't be affected by the change. In a blog post, the company said that users will be grandfathered into their current plans indefinitely.
Bitcasa claims that 98 percent of its users store less than 5 TB of data, and 92 percent store less than a terabyte. And the company says it wants to focus more on features than raw capacity. To that end, Bitcasa is releasing developer tools so apps can integrate Bitcasa storage. Bitcasa also promises "a series of new product enhancements to our apps in the coming months," but didn't offer specifics.
Still a fair deal
In fairness, Bitcasa's paid options are still mostly cheaper than the competition. For the same $99 per year that gets you 1 TB of Bitcasa storage, you'd only get 200 GB through SkyDrive and 100 GB through Dropbox, and Google Drive charges $10 per month for 200 GB. The only cheaper option for unlimited storage is Dropbox for Business, which costs $795 per year.
Still, Bitcasa's biggest allure came from the fact that with a paid account, you'd never have to worry about storage limits. Even if the vast majority of users don't exceed 1 TB of storage, the feeling of having unlimited storage may have influenced their decision to get a paid account. That sense of security is the same reason people cling to their unlimited smartphone data plans even when they never go over the limit. Bitcasa remains cheaper than other options, but "unlimited" is a magic word that the company can no longer wield effectively.