Online storage sites, the toast of the Internet circa 2006, are shutting down in droves, putting the data and images of their users in jeopardy.

Online storage services that have announced closings in the past ten months include big names in tech: AOL (Xdrive and AOL Pictures), Hewlett-Packard (Upline), Sony (Image Station), and Yahoo (Briefcase). Plenty of lesser-known online storage firms also have kicked the bucket, including Digital Railroad and Streamload MediaMax, which turned into The Linkup.

Using these sites used to be a no-brainer–you just uploaded your summer-vacation pictures or your business files and then shared or used them anytime you wished. Now you have to wonder: Will my information still be around tomorrow?

164858-closed_originalWhen a Convenience Turns Into a Crisis

Canadian freelance photographer Ryan Pyle lost thousands of digital photos when Digital Railroad abruptly shut down last October. The online storage service posted a note to its Web site (text of note) stating that it ran out of money and would have to close. Digital Railroad gave customers 24 hours to remove their images before the files would be destroyed.

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