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Back Up Your Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, and Other Online Accounts -- Free!

He who lives by the cloud, dies by the cloud. Well, maybe not, but there's an inherent risk to relying on the Web for critical data and business operations: You just never know when some faraway server will go kerflooey. (Remember the Sidekick disaster a few months back?)

Backupify is a new Web service that promises to back up the data from other Web services. (And it makes this promise without a hint of irony.) Best of all, you can get a free account if you sign up for before Jan. 31.

Currently, Backupify supports Delicious, Flickr, Google Docs, Photobucket, Twitter, WordPress, and Zoho. It also has beta support for Basecamp, Blogger, Facebook, FriendFeed, Gmail, and Hotmail accounts.

In the near future, Backupify will add Xmarks and YouTube, among others.

Getting started is a snap: Just supply an e-mail address and password to create your account, then choose one or more services to archive. For most of them, you need to approve outside access to your account (as with Facebook and Google) and/or enter your account credentials. If that seems like a security risk, well, one could argue that any online service is inherently insecure, insofar as it's attractive to hackers.

Ultimately, you'll want to read the Backupify FAQ for info on security, privacy, and the very reasons behind using Backupify.

If nothing else, there's no harm in signing up for the free account, which Backupify says will remain free forever. The company plans to offer a premium version down the road, but the basic backup functionality won't disappear. Sounds like a win-win proposition to me.