No more free lunches!

There's no such thing as a free lunch. Sucks huh?

I was saddened to read about Pyra's problems today. (Pyra operates Blogger, the most popular weblog application in the world)

Evan Williams: And Then There Was One

I'm not a Blogger user and never have been, but it's just sad to hear of people's dreams going unfulfilled. I wasn't even a fan of the Blogger people, for some reason they reminded me of the popular kids in high school that made me feel uncomfortable with who I was (maybe it's because they're abnormally good-looking for geeks ;-)), but I'm sad anyway.

Dave Winer said today that he feels a stake in fixing the Blogger situation. (He's a stakeholder alright, read on...)

Update: Moments after I posted this piece, that statement was removed from the Scripting News home page. I think it was coincedence because it was way too timely. I saved a copy of it that was cached on My.UserLand.Com, in case anyone wants to read it.

I bet that if Evan could have done it differently, Blogger would have never been free.

It's unfortunate that EditThisPage.Com was free from the beginning too. UserLand wasn't trying to promote their free weblog tool, they were trying to give people a test drive of their $899 content management system. Their marketing plan worked way too well, but not well enough at the same time. (Manila's still an obscure product in the CMS space)

The value of a weblog management tool was $0, because Evan and Dave gave away the market. It's a wonderful thing (kinda) that there's so many weblogs now, mission accomplished, but at what cost.

What happens when the last Blogger server turns off?

What happens when UserLand finishes migrating their weblog tool into Radio UserLand, finishes the Manila-to-Radio-weblog-converter they're working on, sends all the ETP/Weblogs.Com users their Manila site roots and UserLand stops doling out free weblog sites?

(Dave Winer hinted that this could happen. Oh, now he might say "this was just a train of thought" (but I doubt it, the writing is so on the wall folks), but every other time a switcheroo happens UserLand says something like "look at all the warnings and clear communication, we said this was going to happen, we were very upfront and we have integrity and if you have a problem with it it's your problem", and points to those trains of thought on Scripting News as evidence...)

What happens when Radio is no longer a free download?

Ahhh.... I'm starting to see things lining up!

A Blogger-to-Radio migration tool, or a Blogger-via-Radio tool, or a Radio Blog tool, either way you look at it, but it's good business for UserLand.

Hey, did you read that rumour that Microsoft isn't going to release Internet Explorer 6 standalone for free, it'll be a part of Whistler, and only a part of Whistler. So much for that "IE free forever" promise BillyG made back when they killed Netscape.

I don't want free lunches anymore, they keep on giving me the shits.

Written on February 1, 2001