Fraud by Online Storage Company
I am sure, sometimes you would have wondered about backing up your files online. You thought, in case you lost files or delete files from your computer, you could stack it away safely to access it in future. If you did that, your data is in danger as mine has been lost by a online backup and storage Web site. You heard it right, I have LOST all my data due to unscrupulous online practices.
I researched well about all the available online and storage options. Here is a post from Techcrunch’s blog that says: “Streamload is the most aggresive on pricing – offering a full 25 GB free to every user.” Here is another post from Lifehacker going ga-ga about it.
Naturally, I signed up for Streamload that had by then become Mediamax. I backed up all my pdf documents online and kept deleting them from my PC and laptop to avoid the clutter. A BIG mistake in hindsight! :(
A few days back, I try logging into Mediamax to upload more files. Mediamax had now changed to Linkup. I was surprised as I had received no information. I thought perhaps that was fine. But imagine my rude shock, when I read on home page that ONLY accounts for paid users had been moved to the new Web site! For free usage upto 2 GB (compare it with earlier free offering of 25 GB), we needed to signup again for a new account with Linkup. What about all my FILES in Mediamax? LOST!!
Holding my data Hostage for a paid membership from me
I saw Linkup support email ID and wrote to them how could I get my files back. Someone called Colin responded back to me with this:
** Please send your username ASAP if you are willing to pay for an upgrade to have your files transferred over. Our minimum monthly fee is $5.95 USD.***
I could access my files ONLY if I subscribed the paid membership of linkup for $5.95/month! Can anything get more unscrupulous than that?
I wrote back that I was not even notified. I didn’t want any kind of account with cheats like them. I just want my files back. After few rounds of communication, I was arrogantly told that only way to get my files was to upgrade. Period.
About notification: they say they did, but it must have gone into spam. I have saved spam for more than a month, but there is no mail from them. Also, all the previous mails like email notification and changes passwords always arrive in my inbox, why should their email go in spam? They are lying openly.
Ethics at Yahoo
I remember when Yahoo closed down their Yahoo photos, they sent as an email distinctly marked as important. They had provided a link where we had to go permit them for our pictures to be moved to Flickr. Flickr also had paid service, but yahoo never held my pictures hostage for paid membership. Filckr had a deecent option of a free account that I am using till date.
Yahoo had also given us options to move our pictures to other image storage services like Imageshack and Photobucket. They had also provided us with a time period so that we could sort all out pictures and decide which ones to be moved.
Streamload/MediaMax/Linkup should not be allowed to get away with such unethical practices.
Prevent the Fraud
It is not a question of money, $5.95/month, but about ethics. I was not informed. My lawful right to my own data is denied till I pay up. I realise how other MediaMax users must be upgrading to premium service in despair. You backup files online for security. Its that very security that has been unethically challenged. Do these biggies like Techcrunch and Lifehacker realise that they have been unwittingly writing about unscrupulous companies as Streamload/MediaMax/Linkup? Thousands of people must subscribe services after their reviews. Streamload has changed name twice, there has to be something fishy. They attract with 25 GB free storage and then deny it!
Guys, we must prevent others from upgrading to Mediamax/Linkup just because they have been hoodwinked and have no choice. We must spread the word so that others are not caught in this fraud. I am thinking of suing them legally as well over this. Any help on this is appreciated. Consumer rights are important.
Sign this petition against MediaMax. I found that it already existed, created by other victims.
Digg this story here so that other people can know about it. Please add to other social media networking sites you may know of.
Newspaper steals image from a blog
Before I sign off, I must write about another small-time cheating committed by Hindustan Times. They stole a picture from Nita’s blog for their print version of middle piece on edit page. She has written to them and is waiting for their response before writing to the Press Council.
Here is Anshul’s Brainstuck cartoon on the subject.