Let's auto-bill for some backup
As the story goes, Paul McCartney woke up one morning with the melody for Yesterday in his head. Having come to him so simply, he assumed the tune was subconsciously stolen, going around for months asking people if it reminded them of something else. Eventually he claimed it as his own, and the rest is history.
Backup is a large part of our lives, whether or not we personally use it. Every photo, note, song, video and embarrassing moment is being stored digitally, and our worlds demand perpetual preservation of this data. Hosts have long established profitable revenue models selling backup solutions, but there is still a disconnect between selling, providing and billing the customer.
Our industry is generally selling it one of two ways:
Hard limits, manual upgrades
You sell your customer 150GB a month, and when that limit is reached, the oldest backups get cycled out. The customer emails you (or your sales emails the customer), their needs are discussed, and the billing and limits are increased by hand. This approach is prone to error, the customer is often frustrated because they lost some old backups, and the host unnecessarily forces the customer back into a micro-sales cycle to upgrade to a new backup limit.
No limits, manual overages
You sell your customer 150GB of backup without a limit, and you set a reminder to check their usage at the end of every month. Sometimes you remember, sometimes you dont, and you likely will only bother if it's a large enough number. Remind you of how bandwidth billing used to be dealt with?
These methods are dated, too high-touch, and have too much room for error.
Whatever the cloud may mean to you, we can all agree that it's evolved the model of usage based billing. Annual contracts are being replaced with hourly billing, months translated into minutes. And with elastic infrastructure being deployed in minutes, it's more important than ever to extend that flexibility thoughout your entire product set. Especially in the context of sales, it's both easier and more profitable to negotiate usage based overages at the onset - your customer gets to grow at the speed they need, and your services (and revenue) grow alongside them.
We here at Uber love revenue through automation. We love finding the money that's being left on the table, and there is definitely money on the backup table. In the same way most of our clients were able to increase revenue through bandwidth overage billing, people are already finding hundreds and thousands of existing overages that aren't being billed.
When we first started looking into usage based overage billing for backup services, we felt a little like Paul McCartney. We assumed it must have been already addressed, and kept asking our customers. The idea came so simply; it instantly made sense. Let your customers consume backup as they grow, and let Uber handle the rest.