Warning: Cloud Computing Affiliate Scams (CloudZow and more)

By , June 8, 2012

This week, I received two emails promoting new “Cloud Computing” services, with incredibly low pricing and promises of unlimited wealth if I become a reseller. They’re scams. Don’t flush your money into the sewers where these crooks are.

I deleted the cloud-computing-affiliate-program email that came in earlier this week, so I don’t know if it was promoting the same company as the email today.

Today’s scam came from someone who had posted a misleading CraigsList “gigs” ad, pretending to seek marketing help. When I responded, I got a boilerplate affiliate-program sales pitch for a service called “CloudZow.com.”  I had some free time while waiting for a scheduled telephone call, so I took a peek.

Of course, like all online backup services, their terms and conditions disavow any responsibility if they lose your data. In other words, you’re paying for a relationship with a service that makes absolutely no commitment at all. But if these companies want to stay in business  for long (a big “if,” in this case), they’ll likely store your data on redundant servers, and you’ll probably get your data back if you do everything exactly as they say (reading the fine print for odd requirements like the “30-day check-in,” below).

The first “red flag” is that the company doesn’t seem to offer a service for customers. Instead, they’ll only allow you to sign up as a “reseller.” Like Amway or Melaleuca, their focus is more on the multi-level marketing opportunity; the product or service being sold is little more than an afterthought.

The core “offer” is incredible: unlimited cloud storage for $5 per month — and they “dare you” to try to fill their storage. Eventually, I was able to find the “restriction” in their terms and conditions: like most competitors offering “unlimited” cloud backup services, CloudZow’s $5 plan allows you to back up data from only one PC, so the actual capacity will never exceed the largest hard disk(s) you could buy and install on a single PC.  (Unlike many competing services, CloudZow claims to allow backup of both internal and external disk drives, in its terms and conditions.)

Then, after you find an affiliate link from some resellers, you’re offered the opportunity to sign up for a “15-day free trial, no credit card required.” Except that the signup process (which requires that you sign up as a “reseller,” not as a “customer”) demands your credit card number (and your tax ID number).

Next, try to get some information about the service being sold.  How would a customer access the cloud storage? Is there a downloadable app for phones or tablets? What operating systems are supported (PC/Windows, Mac, Linux)? Is there a web interface to view and transfer files and directories? The CloudZow web site doesn’t provide any meaningful details like these; just sign up for a reseller account first, and maybe they’ll tell you what you’ve bought later.

The terms and conditions state: “You must at all times run the CloudZow software on any computer that is being backed up and you must ensure this computer connects to the Internet at least once every 30 days. CloudZow will remove backups for computers that have not connected to the service for 30 days.”

It’s a scam, folks, nothing to see here, move on.

Update: I found the links below, suggesting that CloudZow is a reseller for LiveDrive (a UK company), so I researched LiveDrive. Their reseller program promises unlimited user accounts for a fixed fee of $59.95 per month (that is, a reseller pays only $59.95 per month for an unlimited number of accounts to be resold to others). The LiveDrive “unlimited” terms limit any single drive to a maximum of 2TB [2 terabytes = 2,000 gigabytes = 2,000,000 megabytes]. Even with that restriction, LiveDrive’s reseller account structure seems economically bankrupt from inception.

Update 2: CloudZow is ClosedNow.

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4 Responses to “Warning: Cloud Computing Affiliate Scams (CloudZow and more)”

  1. jimi says:

    This is absolutely false!!!!!!!
    What you are reading here are pointless words from someone who does NOT UNDERSTAND what cloudzow is about. This is a reckless undervalue of an Amazing company with an amazing product. The cloud backup is only the begining……… Mark Welch, You are a loser!!!

  2. Mark Welch says:

    When I search for “CloudZow scam” now, I see lots of fake reviews posted by CloudZow resellers. Where are the legitimate reviews by established publications?

  3. Terry says:

    So, is Cloudzow still operating, and what are any updates, and Jimi, are you still using Cloudzow?

  4. Mark Welch says:

    Cloudzow.com: no DNS record, domain is apparently no longer registered.

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