iForem is a new service making its debut at the DemoFall conference. Currently aimed at enterprise users, the company is set to step into the consumer space early next year. The basic premise of iForem is that users pay for storage up front, similar to purchasing actual physical media to save their files. iForem then keeps the files safe, secure, and redundant as long as you've got the proper passwords--all without a subscription.
iForem creators Stephen Pieraldi and TJ de Luna started the company as a response to some of the free online storage solutions out there that offer a huge amount of storage with very little in the way of protection against a loss of data or any guarantees that your data will go unseen by others in the event of the company going under, or being purchased by someone else. iForem backs each user's data with an irrevocable trust that requires the data to be stored and served even if the company goes bankrupt.
So what's the catch? The price, for one thing. iForem storage runs $1 a megabyte with a starter buy-in of $20 for their lowest-tiered package. From there, you can purchase more storage in increments of $20 to $1,000, or buy into a yearly subscription plan that automatically adds more storage with each year over a three-year period. Heavy buyers and longtime customers also get a break with a discount on bulk orders. Comparing this to storage you'd purchase at a retailer isn't a fair comparison, but on a basic gut level, paying $1 per MB doesn't feel right when you compare it to the sub-$100 500GB hard drives you find at Fry's or Best Buy.
The other catch is any Web service that advertises itself as lasting "forever." Web services and technologies are changing at an alarming rate, and with the recent purchase of Grand Central (which also advertised a "lifetime" service) by Google, you just don't know what's going to happen to a company, even if they're acquired by someone reputable. Between that, and the cost of offline storage going down every year, it makes for a hard sell.
The company plans to roll out the consumer friendly version of the service in Q2 of 2008.