Usenet Binary Retention : How Much is Enough?

We spent all of last week celebrating with leading Usenet providers including UseNetServer, Newshosting, NewsDemon and Astraweb.  As they all accomplished an impressive mark.  With each supporting over three years of binary retention. Meaning you can download binary content from over 1,095 days ago.

Today we’d like to pose the question “How much binary retention is enough?”.  The question is meant for Usenet fans and those just finding interest in newsgroups.  How much retention would you like to see a year from now?  Would you be willing to give up extras (newsreaders, search, storage, vpn) or pay a higher price for the continued retention growth?  Not to say that either will be necessary but it’s worth some thought.

The truth is that most Usenet subscribers don’t use anywhere close to three years of binary retention.  Yet when comparing services the magic retention number often takes front row.  It has always been a measuring stick of sorts when choosing between Usenet providers.  Will the leading newsgroup services continue to grow retention as long as storage and overhead costs allow?  Will that eventually cause prices to increase?

Consider the rate at which Usenet is growing.  As seen in the feed size.  Which is the amount of data being posted to Usenet on a daily basis.  As you can see we’re now reaching close to 10 TB of data a day.  Where in 2008 the feed size was 4.5 TB a day.  Meaning that Usenet providers are going to need more and more storage to support their current retention.  Not to mention future growth.  Both in terms of feed size and retention.

Source of feed size data: NewsDemon blog

At what point will users not care as much about retention?  Is there a magic number?  Three years?  Four?  Five?  Will the highest retention always be important?  Or will other factors like performance, reliability and value take a front row seat.  Some might say binary retention is easier to measure.  Which is true but added features and price are easy to compare as well.  It’s really more a question of preference.

When it comes to binary retention, popular services like UseNetServer, Newshosting, NewsDemon, Astraweb and Giganews lead the way.  How about value-added features?  Where do they rank in your decision of which provider to choose?  For example Newshosting just released a cool new Usenet client.  Which is more important….binary retention or a nice Usenet client with search capabilities?  NewsDemon offers online storage and Giganews offers VPN access.  Yet we still see a heavy focus on binary retention.

For now everyone can have their cake and eat it too.  With binary retention growing by the day, new features and the best prices ever on Usenet access.  If the day ever comes though when you have to make the choice between binary retention, added features or increased price which will you choose?  We would personally choose a lower cost, reliable service with some nice extras as opposed to a few more days of binary retention.  This week you will start to see us shift focus from retention over to value and extra benefits.

Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet.  Including the latest provider updates, binary retention, added features, free trials and special offers.  Follow us @NewsgroupRevs for the latest Usenet news.