Crowdsourcing Hard Drives

It was 12:10 a.m. on Black Friday. Dave sat clicking the refresh button on his browser; waiting for the page to reveal Costco’s Black Friday deal…

Earlier in the day, Dave had signed up to be a drive farmer for Backblaze—a Black Friday drive farmer. He joined about 50 others who signed up to buy 3TB hard drives from the Costco web site for $99 each, the Black Friday sales price, and send them to Backblaze for a $5 bounty per drive.

By 12:27 a.m., the sale was live and Dave ordered his limit, five drives. That was over $500 on his personal credit card with tax and shipping included. For his effort Dave would earn an additional $25 for ordering the drives and having them shipped to Backblaze. Easy.

As you can see, our Black Friday drive farming was pretty darn successful. Using a combination of crowdsourced drive farmers and experienced Backblaze employees, we’ve gathered over 300 drives with more on the way.

We’d like to say thank you to everyone who signed up to help us crowdsource hard drives. Such assistance helps us ensure that we can continue to provide our customers with unlimited online backup for only $5/month—and that is very much appreciated.

The idea to crowdsource hard drives on Black Friday materialized on the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving. We saw a flyer for the Costco $99/drive deal and started thinking and talking and debating about what we could do. Of course we could farm ourselves, but what if we could get help…from everyone?! We realized that it was a holiday and people would be busy with their own Black Friday shopping—were we asking too much? We decided to go ahead anyway. The entire campaign came together in about two hours—rules, sign up process, blog post, promotion, everything—it was awesome.

We launched the campaign on Wednesday afternoon and waited. Would anyone sign up? They did! Would anyone actually buy drives? They did! The first emailed receipt arrived at 12:35 a.m. on Black Friday and drives started arriving on Monday. So this past week Cecilia has counted hard drives, gathered up receipts and invoices, and arranged payments to our cadre of newly minted drive farmers. We welcome them to the club.

Oh, and don’t feel too bad for Cecilia, she loves this stuff, especially since she gets to wear her tiara when she counts drives!


About Andy Klein

Andy Klein is the Principal Cloud Storage Storyteller at Backblaze. He has over 25 years of experience in technology marketing and during that time, he has shared his expertise in cloud storage and computer security at events, symposiums, and panels at RSA, SNIA SDC, MIT, the Federal Trade Commission, and hundreds more. He currently writes and rants about drive stats, Storage Pods, cloud storage, and more.