Weblogs.com Leaves 3,000 Bloggers Left Out in the Cold

Dave Winer – one of the pioneers of blogging and RSS – shut off free hosting to over 3,000 webloggers over on Weblogs.com. He complained that the hosting of the site was just too expense to continue (Though provided an explanation in a ten minute audio file (transcript)? This was also brought on by recent management changes at the company that hosts the blogs (though that was 6 months ago: I still say the biggest corproate competency should be foresight). Yeah, you’ll save a lot of money when thousands download a huge mp3. There was no warning at all that would have allowed bloggers using the Weblogs.com free hosting to export their entries out of the system in order to bring them into another one (he has since relented and said he might allow people to export – but not until after July 1st – leaving bloggers out in the cold for 2 weeks). Along with that, tons of blogs have domain names as something.radio.com – now all of
those links are done broked.
Dave has pissed off the masses before (read this, this and this) and is known for
a certain dyspeptic temperment. On the one hand, how can you complain
when your free service isn’t available anymore – on the other: isn’t it
incredibly bad kharma to not let people have an exit strategy? Think if
Microsoft suddenly shut down all the free email in Hotmail and told
people, we might let you export it – but you gotta wait 2 weeks.
A shift in hosting could’ve been a fantastic opportunity for an
investor or other company to step up to the plate and take over. If
Google or SixApart was smart – they’d reach some agreement with Dave to
wholesale backup the entire database of all the blogs – and then allow
users to start anew with Blogger or TypePad. The broken domain links is
just a really shitty decision. The whole foundation of blogs and their
importance rests on the integrity of hyperlinking – he’s just broken
millions of links for thousands of blogs. That part makes me want to
call him a big jerkface.
This is again another huge transition making ripples through
Blogistan – similar to the backlash
against MovableType’s new licensing scheme
(which I’m still a little chapped about). Now, as then, this will cause many people to learn how to export their blogs regularly as well as consider free, self-hosted alternatives to blogging (once WordPress has multiple blogs, I’m all there).
It always stinks when visionaries act like children. Argh.