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Online backup storage service provider Dmailer gives away free local data backup

The online backup storage market is still in the "gold rush" stage, analysts say – leading to free local backup software from providers looking to grab early adopters.

Online backup storage service provider Dmailer is giving away its local backup software for free in an effort to entice customers to sign up for its Dmailer Online services, a move analysts say reflects the fierce competition in this emerging market.

Dmailer, headquartered in Marseille, France, and founded in 2001, has built its business over the last decade primarily by offering local backup and file synchronization software through OEM partners, which include external and portable hard drive and Flash drive makers Kingston Technology Corp., LaCie, Lexar Media Inc. and SanDisk Corp. Dmailer claims more than 50 million copies of its Dmailer Backup, Dmailer Sync and Mediamove data migration software have shipped to date, according to Anthony Reyes, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Dmailer .

Now, in an effort to "get an audience for Dmailer Online," Dmailer will not charge new customers for version 3 of its Dmailer Backup cloud-based data backup service. During setup and installation of Dmailer Backup locally, customers will be prompted with a link to Dmailer Online, which also offers 2 GB of online backup storage for free.

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Dmailer previously charged $25.95 per copy of Dmailer Backup, which targets consumers and the low end of the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) market and supports Windows and Mac operating systems. The software has some advanced features such as file versioning, online file sharing with third parties, encryption and integration with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, though it does not offer centralized management as some backup products marketed to businesses do.

Paying customers of previous versions of Dmailer Backup will receive a free upgrade to version 3, Reyes said.

Reyes said the company will eventually charge à la carte fees for advanced features, but it hasn't yet determined what those features will be. Version 3 adds mostly graphical user interface (GUI) improvements, including a new restore wizard.

Dmailer is targeting well-known consumer online backup storage vendors Mozy and Carbonite, which offers a 15-day free trial to get new users interested. Mozy, owned by EMC Corp., offers 2 GB of online backup storage free for home users but not for its MozyPro business product.

Kirsten Paragona, director of external communications for consulting and IT services firm HCL America Inc., said members of her company's marketing staff use Dmailer. Paragona first heard of Dmailer through word of mouth, she said, and has recommended it to 10 other members of her department. Now the company is considering deploying the software for its sales force as well. Paragona said because most of HCL America's employees work remotely or are independent contractors, "a lot of people do a lot on their own" in terms of IT services, including backup. Paragona uses Dmailer Backup to send Outlook .ost files to an external hard drive to keep email performing well on her workstation.

Analysts say you can expect to see more of these deal-sweeteners as the online backup storage market continues to evolve, meaning users may be able to get better deals on such services. "The consumer and SOHO online backup space is in the land grab stage on a worldwide level," Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Lauren Whitehouse wrote in an email to "The market is highly fragmented with -- all offering pretty much the same thing and at the same cost."

Added IDC analyst Brad Nisbet, "the market is in its infancy and we're still in the Wild, Wild West when it comes to pricing. As competition continues to pervade the market, we'll continue to see experimentation with pricing models over the next year."

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