Are you using Carbonite to back up your data? Good for you: I highly recommend some kind of cloud-storage service in tandem with a local backup.
Ah, but are you happy with it? The folks at CrashPlan think you can do better, and they're willing to put their money where their mouth is: existing Carbonite customers can get one year of CrashPlan backup absolutely free.
Typically, that would cost you $49.99. And if you're looking to protect more than one computer, you can purchase a family plan for $50 -- a price that buys you unlimited storage for 2 to 10 machines for one year. (It's normally $119.99.)
Carbonite charges $59 annually per PC, with only a 5 percent discount on additional subscriptions. If you were to back up 10 PCs with Carbonite, it would cost you over $550 per year.
That alone is probably enough to get your attention. But CrashPlan also offers features that cost extra with Carbonite, or simply aren't available.
For example, you can back up your data not just to CrashPlan's online servers, but also to local external drives. If you want that feature from Carbonite, you'll need the $99-per-year HomePlus plan.
CrashPlan lets you create customized backup sets, which Carbonite does not. It lets you back up to friends' computers for yet another layer of data protection, which Carbonite does not. And it can keep your deleted files forever, whereas Carbonite disposes of them after 30 days.
The CrashPlan folks also say that Carbonite's backups "get slower as your backups get bigger" (which is true), whereas CrashPlan doesn't throttle performance based on backup size.
To get this deal, you must be an existing Carbonite customer who resides in the U.S. To find out if you're eligible, just enter your "Carbonite e-mail address" (ostensibly the one you registered with) into the field provided and press Enter. How does CrashPlan know based on your address if you're a Carbonite customer? That's a very good question. According to a company rep, CrashPlan "verifies eligibility using a variety of tools and techniques."
For what it's worth, I'm a past -- not current -- Carbonite customer, and I gave CrashPlan a different e-mail address than the one that had been attached to my account. It immediately unlocked the switch-to-CrashPlan offers. Your mileage may vary.
All this is not to say that CrashPlan is a better backup service than Carbonite, nor that you should drop everything and switch. However, you could test-drive CrashPlan on a second PC and see how you like it -- and, even if you don't, you've got a full year of backup security that didn't cost you a dime. (My two cents: it's a fantastic service for reasonably tech-savvy users, but not quite as beginner-friendly as Carbonite.)
If you have any thoughts to share on Carbonite, CrashPlan, Mozy, or any other cloud-based backup service, let's hear from you in the comments!