January 10, 2002
4:53 AM   Subscribe

Could tomorrow's Blogger announcement be that they are launching a Premium Service... (more)
posted by nico (37 comments total)

 
Neil McIntosh of the Guardian writes:
"It's the beginning of the end of free at Blogger. I've just been interviewing Evan Williams, brains behind Blogger.com, in his local cafe in San Francisco. I'd dragged him away from development of Blogger's first premium service: fast-responding servers.

Blogger has been under great strain since October, when the US terrorist attacks prompted a surge in people wanting to create their own weblogs. Now Evan plans to start building up a premium service: in the next few hours, he'll launch a $30-a-year membership scheme, which will offer faster and more reliable service. The free Blogger will remain, but other - quite compelling - premium services will be rolled out quick-fire after that."
posted by nico at 4:55 AM on January 10, 2002


That was posted on the Ukbloggers Yahoo Group last night. Also... Neil (the interviewer) blogs here.
posted by LMG at 5:25 AM on January 10, 2002


Shades of LiveJournal-ing. In the LJ world, you have a choice: either you pay the piper and enjoy the benefits of stable servers, or you remain with the freeloaders and suffer the inconsistencies of overload.

I made my choice yesterday. GreyMatter. That way, if it breaks, I broke it.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:44 AM on January 10, 2002


Aren't there a few decent downloadable and streamlineable "blogging" apps out there...like Grey Matter, Moveable Type, and b2 logs (which looks kind of down at the moment)...but I guess the real point is that Blogger is really easy to use (for all those people who wanted a quick and painless way to create weblogs), while the free downloadable options requiring some semblance of coding skill...

Hell, I use Blogger too...are there other downloadable blogger aps out there?
posted by tpl1212 at 5:47 AM on January 10, 2002


If it's reliable I'd have no problem paying for it.
posted by revbrian at 6:01 AM on January 10, 2002


Not meaning to dredge up bad vibes, but...

If Evan is "the brains behind blogger.com" what does that make Meg, Matt, Jack, Derek, Paul etc etc?

It was a team effort, and it wouldn't have existed without the other team members. Just sayin', is all...

As a user of Blogger, I dunno if I'll go for this...maybe, maybe not. I'd like to know what I can expect for my money first, so I hope the announcement tell me...
posted by tomcosgrave at 6:02 AM on January 10, 2002


I've been waiting for Blogger to offer a premium service or Movable Type to include FTP files to remote host for a while!
posted by Stuart_R at 6:05 AM on January 10, 2002


I went over to MT just as soon as I realised I could control all my websites from one interface (even the "static" ones). I still have feelings for blogger, but I wouldn't pay for what it is now, because I've stepped over a line or two somewhere. Still interested to see what the benefits are: $30 a year is peanuts, so if it's a huge improvement in services it might be worthwhile.

I'd need to see sub-templates though, because I have fallen in love with them. I recently wrote an article explaining why ...
posted by walrus at 6:10 AM on January 10, 2002


Thanks LMG. I didn't link to the ukbloggers group because you have to register to read it, but here is Neil's original post.
posted by nico at 6:12 AM on January 10, 2002


hrm.. here is a silly idea... create your own blog!!! then you don't have to worry about blogger, blogger's services and whether they are free or not...

just a thought... :)
posted by gloege at 6:12 AM on January 10, 2002


...or Movable Type to include FTP files to remote host for a while!

Isn't that in the list for the next release?

Ev should have had this "premium or free" option a long time ago, and maybe all our dear friends who are ex-Pyra employees wouldn't be exes today.

posted by briank at 6:33 AM on January 10, 2002


i have been playing a lot with MT recently. i like it a lot. but be aware that MT is likely to also change to some sort of payment scheme. from the MT web site:

If you donate $45+, you'll be listed on the board as well be entitled to receive extra, personal support (from us) via instant messaging to be conducted during a set amount of "support hours".

Additionally, if you donate, you will be able to subtract that amount from any future pay-version (with extra features) of the software.


actually, i think i would even pay for premium blogger or premium MT, provided it gives me the ease of use *with* support and reliable service.

and for those that don't like to pay, there will continue to be the free versions, plus PHPWebSite or phpNuke, etc.
posted by HeikoH at 6:50 AM on January 10, 2002


I've moved most all of my content over to MovableType. One of the nice things about the downloadable scripts is that there are no infrastructure concerns on their part, so they spend more time building the application than fixing server problems.
posted by benjh at 7:41 AM on January 10, 2002


http://www.handx.net has a palm blogging tool that works.
posted by mecran01 at 8:26 AM on January 10, 2002


I'm not sure whether I've been lucky, or if it's just become fashionable to dump on blogger, or what, but I'll chime in to say that, bar minor hiccups which did not even reach the level of inconveniences, I've had zero problems so far. For a service that's free, still free, it's marvellous.

In the 13 months I've used it, I haven't cursed at it once, and I tend to curse like a sailor at the first sign of adversity. Mostly because I love cursing. And cheese. God I love cheese.

What was I talking about?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:36 AM on January 10, 2002


When Blogger's problems got too much for me to tolerate about a year ago, I rolled my own blogging software and used it for about a year. Then, when my needs outgrew the amout of time available to me to improve my solution, I went to PostNuke.

Since then, I've worked with Movable Type and Greymatter, helping other folk set up their blogs (most notably at Held In Contempt). Movable Type was really rather complex, and although Grey Matter is easier, they still haven't achieved the ease-of-use that Blogger provides.

Is there someone out there providing something easy to use?
posted by DWRoelands at 8:54 AM on January 10, 2002


I jumped on the MT bandwagon in October and liked it so much I even sent in (gasp) some cash-money. I like the idea of not having to worry about Blogger having to maintain, backup and otherwise house my content. MT is sweet and even if they move to a pay version, the free one is availible now and has enough features to make a robust site without upgrading to the future (and possibly pay) version.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:32 AM on January 10, 2002


If, indeed, you're looking for very high reliability and you're willing to pay for it, consider CityDesk. I switched to it (because I outgrew Greymatter) and I think CityDesk is great.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:14 AM on January 10, 2002


One thing I've noticed is that custom made CMSes are much simpler to use than scripts like MT or GM, 'cause with custom made CMSes you know what you want, and you don't add the extras if they are not required.

I made my own using PHP and MySQL, it adds an article ID, timestamp (MySQL YYMMDDhhmmss), title, byline, and the main text. With PHP I can plug the output on any page, and setting up print friendly pages, archives, and next and previous links was easy too. I don't need any other functionality yet, so I haven't added it in.
posted by riffola at 10:18 AM on January 10, 2002


Ev deserves his payday, so I will pay him.

There's a lot of things that I can do myself: cooking, cleaning, driving to the airport. But I pay people to do these things for me whenever the price is right. Call me crazy.
posted by tsarfan at 10:33 AM on January 10, 2002


I hope Ev launches the paid service, Blogger is by far the easiest weblog automation service to setup and use, doesn't require a lot of technical knowledge, and people are willing to pay for that (and for reliability).

The paid version isn't aimed at people that can build their own CMS or install greymatter or movabletype, it's aimed at people that would rather pay a little money not to have to worry about file permissions and paths to perl and whatnot.
posted by mathowie at 10:34 AM on January 10, 2002


I've downloaded and toyed with some of the software talked about here, but so far I've continued to stick with Blogger. For one thing, it's everywhere; I can blog from a friend's house, or from a client location, or from my parents' place in Wisconsin. Yes, I easily could set up one of these packages, but that makes me an exception. I talk with people every day who can't figure out how to use the expanding menus in Word. I'm not willing to advocate that they learn Perl and Unix. I hope some of the people in this thread remember that not everybody has the time or inclination to learn all this stuff, and blogging should, in principle, be available to them as well. That's the wonder of a web service.

Meanwhile, if there's a blogspot blog you like reading, consider buying its freedom -- anybody can pay the $12 to remove the ads, not just the blog owner.
posted by dhartung at 11:23 AM on January 10, 2002


people . . . who can't figure out how to use the expanding menus in Word

I could probably figure out how to use them if I knew what they were.
posted by Skot at 11:26 AM on January 10, 2002


I could probably figure out how to use them if I knew what they were.

the menus are at the top of the toolbar. file, edit, view, etc. they are condensed upon opening to view basic commands. however, if you need an additional command, you'd collect the double arrow at the bottom of the menu and voila. expanded menu with more commands.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:32 AM on January 10, 2002


you'd collect the double arrow at the bottom...

click, not collect.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:34 AM on January 10, 2002


I'm all for a pay-for-premium Blogger. I'm investigating using MT right now because of all the outages lately, and it would save me a whole lot of trouble (ie, I wouldn't have to learn Perl, etc.) if I could rely on Blogger a bit more.

By the way, doesn't it seem like Blogger's recent problems started after it got hacked, more than when everybody got back from vacation? Maybe they messed up more than Ev let on.
posted by me3dia at 11:48 AM on January 10, 2002


I've been using Blogger for about a year. I like it a lot, but it's got some limitations, and I've been planning on switching to Movable Type for a while. Blogger's receent security breach and increased outages have pretty much sealed the deal, and problems certainly don't make me interested in paying for the software.

Moveable Type is a little more difficult to set up, but it's mainly knowing the directory structure and setting permissions, and that's not all that much more complicated than configuring Blogger.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:27 PM on January 10, 2002


So my question is are any of the other apps out there good from blogging from multiple locations? I tend to post from random spots, Home, Work, Family and friends, even Kiosks in the middle of a mall. blogger seems to be the only one I can do that with... Am I wrong?
posted by KnitWit at 12:30 PM on January 10, 2002


I converted my site to Moveable Type after the post-Holiday Blogger outages. Compared to Greymtter I found it much easier to set up, and was able to transfer my Blogger archive, configure new templates with my old look and feel and whatnot in about 2 hours of time.

I love the simplicity of Blogger, but MT is like Blogger on 'roids and a high intensity weight lifting program.

So my question is are any of the other apps out there good from blogging from multiple locations?

Movable Type allows you to blog from anywhere, using a bookmarklet just like Blogger.
posted by owillis at 12:34 PM on January 10, 2002


Moveable Type was easy to set up and is so much more flexible than Blogger...and yeah, you can use it from any browser. The only drawback I can see is that you don't have the security of automatically backed-up files, but that's on the list for the next release, if I don't miss my guess. I'm so glad I switched.

Oh, and you don't have to learn PERL. Just follow the instructions carefully and you'll be using the browser-based interface in considerably less than an hour (in my case, at least).
posted by blissbat at 12:56 PM on January 10, 2002


Feel free to continue this discussion on my new talk blogging QuickTopic. It's for discussing anything to do with blogging and was set up 5 minutes ago
posted by scotty at 1:09 PM on January 10, 2002


Just want to throw some props toward Blogger and hope and pray that it stays afloat (especially since I just created a bunch o' blogs for my students.) I'd be willing to investigate MT more closely if I knew I could switch over pretty easily...which sounds possible. Anyone point me to a more detailed discussion of what's involved with switching?
posted by willrich at 1:28 PM on January 10, 2002


"If, indeed, you're looking for very high reliability and you're willing to pay for it, consider CityDesk. I switched to it (because I outgrew Greymatter) and I think CityDesk is great."Steven Den Beste
There is much to like with CityDesk and it is certainly worth looking at. It does have some limitations for Bloggers you are limited to 500 pages with the $79.95 paid version. To Joel's credit you can try it out for free and up to 50 pages, the unlimited version is $349.00 but that seems out of range for the single user. Although parts of the design are just perfect for the weblog style some are not. I'm playing with everything Greymatter is nice but a little daunting, certainly Blogger is the ease of use champ. So many choices whats a guy to do.
posted by onegoodmove at 4:11 PM on January 10, 2002


Feel free to continue this discussion on my new talk blogging QuickTopic.

...or simply feel free to continue this discussion here.

*smiles, shakes his head in bemusement.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:00 PM on January 10, 2002


willrich: here's a detailed explanation of how to transfer your entries from Blogger to MT. It's really easy.
posted by owillis at 6:12 PM on January 10, 2002


And to think I'd been trying to publish a blog entry about this for the last couple of days too...
posted by gi_wrighty at 7:02 PM on January 10, 2002


It's a good thing that Blogger is moving to a workable revenue model, though paid servers aren't enough to attract paid users in most cases. Most will want extra features before they make the switch, I'm sure.

The funny thing is, LiveJournal will soon be moving away from paid servers in favor of an new clustered architecture that should be incredibly fast and stable across the board. It will also make it much easier for us to add new features to the site.

This also means that we will be removing the invite codes / paid membership requirements for new users. Will this be the undoing of theendoffree.com ?!! ;->
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:24 AM on January 13, 2002


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