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When it’s time to create a full backup of all of your data on the internet, it might seem like the digital equivalent of eating your vegetables: We know it’s good for us, but it probably isn’t a whole lot of fun. But the founders of Recollect, a new San Francisco-based startup from a group of ex-Yahoo Flickr employees, want to combine the “surprise and delight” element of memento services (like TimeHop or Facebook timeline) with the functionality of backup services that let you search and archive. And they want you to pay for it.
“We felt that the underlying reasons we’re using all these places is we wanted to keep records of what we were doing. So we had this deeper feeling that one day we wanted to go back and do something with all this information. We wanted to put it together in a form where we could look through it,” said co-founder Chris Martin.
Recollect, which launched about a week ago, offers three different plans with graduated prices, but they all offer a similar service. Users can back up their Foursquare check-ins, tweets, and photos from Instagram and Flickr as well as the corresponding conversation around those items, including comments and likes. Users can also search that content and download all of their data whenever they want, and the service sells no advertising. The cheapest option is $6 a month for 5,000 archived photos, monthly downloads, and one account per website. The founders said this covers the needs of the majority of users, but those who want to bump up photo storage could get get 25,000 photos for $12 or 50,000 photos for $24 per month.
“I think that slowly people are starting to realize that they are the product on a lot of these services,” Martin said. “And as much as those services want to work in the user’s best interest, they’re somewhat beholden to the people who pay the bills. At Recollect one of the core features is it is a paid product. We’re trying to make it as cheap as possible, and we want it to have a good value.”
The founders, who said they’re bootstrapping the project entirely themselves and are keeping the pricing as close to the cost as possible, said it was certainly a leap of faith to charge people for the service when so many of their peers are providing services for free. But Martin said they’re cautiously optimistic that the gamble will work out, and are taking the long view of things, assuming people will appreciate the product and be willing to pay.
“To get to a million users on our service is going to be a long process,” he said. “It’s going to be a million people who really want it who wil pay for it.”
“We want to build this as like, a personal Wikipedia,” Martin said. “Where you can go into one place and come out with everything you’re looking for. The way we think about it is an intelligent archive.”