Registering for various sites bugs me but if I think the service is useful then I will usually give it a shot. I usually look over the privacy and see if there is a way to delete an account once it’s created, if possible. Another thing I look for is a way to get data out. I’m sure a service is great if I put data in, but if I can’t get it out then that worries me as I might decide to move to another site or the site might disappear. This ties in with my recent posts about backups and this post over at Hidden Peanuts that is related to them.

Most “web 2.0” sites thankfully have API’s which allow access to all your data. For example here is a post on 11 ways to backup your account. There are countless others. Here’s the beginnings of an application to backup your flickr account (java - crossplatform).

These services also come in handy if something happens with your local copy such as a hard drive failure (i really need to backup my photos to dvd). As more and more of my information is web based this will become increasingly important. Already all of my email, some of my photos, most of my bookmarks and some of my lists (reading/watching/etc) are online at sites I don’t control. I need to look into better backups for the things I do control too.

If your looking at the next up and coming site that you’ll put data into, make sure you think about how you will get the data out.