On the heels of MediaMax/TheLinkUp shuttering its doors, TechCrunch reports that AOL will close down two of the more well-conceived online storage experiences, XDrive and Bluestring. The former gave away five gigabytes of online storage space accessible via the Web as well as a Windows and promising Adobe AIR application. This may actually mark Xdrive’s second death as the original version offering free storage went down during the dotcom bust along with competitors iDrive, Netdrive and others. The latter was another personal media sharing site albeit one that provided automatic uploading of content folders to the Web for free.
What killed them? Storage is cheap but bandwidth is expensive. Microsoft is still offering a little bit of storage space in the cloud via Windows Live SkyDrive and of course there are a number of subscription-based backup plays like Mozy and Carbonite. And Cucku gets around the hosting problem by enabling consumers to back up their hard drives to a friend for free. But none of the online backup plays have very robust media sharing features yet.