Show me the money – Will cloud storage really be the next goldmine?

[UK] If you employ celebrity PR Max Clifford to help advertise your business you might end up with neat quotes stating that your niche of the industry is going to grow with 500 percent by 2012. Online storage might be the next big thing, but 500 percent sounds a tad excessive. Livedrive doesn’t seem to think so and is pushing forward with new partnerships. This time with ISP BeBroadband.

The company is the brainchild of entrepreneur Andrew Michael, who started his first business Fasthosts when he was 17 and later sold it for about £60 million. He’s since gained notoriety for throwing lavish Christmas parties and getting into legal disputes with posh casinos.

Livedrive brands itself as being the first online storage solution on the market, apparently beating Google’s rumoured attempts to launch a so called “Gdrive”. The company partnered with DSGi in August, which brought the product to Dixons, PC World and Currys. So far Livedrive has about 10 000 users, which isn’t much for a company that has been in development since 2006 and launched in February this year.

Cloud storage could be a potential goldmine as more and more people use several different computers and devices. However the question is how much people are prepared to pay for this kind of service. Google’s already made it possible to store documents and photos online for free. Whenever they launch a free hard drive service (it’s going to happen sooner or later isn’t it) there may not be a huge interest in paying for alternative services like this.

Livedrive charges $129.95 a year for unlimited storage and $55.95 a year for a 100Gb starter account.

Edit: According to Livedrive the company now has about 300 000 users.