Chiming in on the MT 3.0 controversy

[ Ok, I’ve re-written this about a zillion times now… ]

First off, I would like to thank Six Apart for making some cool software and giving it away for free. Somewhere in all of this frenzy of Movable Type rhetoric, I forgot about that…

As usual, “Chuqui captures my feelings on MT 3.0”:

bq. But — those of us who are fairly simple blog users, but who don’t want to host at TypePad, don’t fit into their new model well. Since I want to continue to self-host my blog, TypePad’s not an option. Since there are two of us at Plaidworks blogging, I don’t qualify for the free license.

and in “another essay”:

bq. the new licensing terms indicated to me that Six Apart doesn’t know how its users are using the product.

I’m not in “Six Apart’s”: target market either. is a hobby for me, and a low-cost one at that. I’m not willing to spend a lot of money on it; I simply have other higher priority demands on my cash. We run this place as a “virtual co-op”:

* the server upgrade was sponsored by “Greg Wilson”: (and
* the machine lives at a friend’s office (it used to live at mine, but my new employer doesn’t allow that sort of thing :-)
* the bandwidth is “excess” bandwidth from their Internet connection, and we’re careful to keep our usage low and our host secure, staying off the corporate radar.
* I sysadmin the site in my spare time (because I enjoy it), and some of the others help with specific applications when I don’t have the time.

So what are my options with Six Apart?

* A “TypePad account”: is at least $60 (US) per year. That’s a good price for what they’re offering, but I _like_ hosting my own applications; I don’t _want_ to pay someone else to do it, never mind the cost / convenience ratio.
* A “MoveableType 3.0 license”: for would be more than $190 (US), thanks to the multi-author “RoleMaster Game Log”: My weblogs just aren’t important enough for me to spend that much money!
* My users could each install their own Movable Type (either Free or Personal licenses), but I apparently can’t do it for them, and we’d all have to have separate copies (so we can’t share plugins as easily, for example).

Do I feel betrayed? Nah. Am I one of those people who doesn’t want to pay for things? No; I’ve purchased lots of good software over the years (examples from recent memory include Desktop To Go, HanDBase, the Nelson Email Organiser…). Although I’m embarassed to admit that I intended to donate to Movable Type, but never got around to it. Anyway, for me it’s simple on two axes:

* I don’t want to spend _that much_ money on weblogging.
* There are options that are just as good (for me) that are free (speech _and_ beer), including staying with MT 2.6 (modulo the comment spam problem).

Anyway, while browsing around I found a couple of other comments that I liked:

bq. it seems that they’ve screwed up one of the most basic rules in pricing: never take away features and charge for them. You can charge for new features – but taking away features that were included for free before always pisses off your most loyal customers. They feel suckered. They feel like you’ve pulled a bait and switch on them. In this case, many MT users set up multiple blogs with multiple authors. That’s what the software encouraged them to do. Now, they’re looking at the pricing and realizing to continue doing so on the new platform would cost them around $600. “Costs more for doing less” isn’t a way to make users happy.

(via “TechDirt”:

bq. You can’t be a software company and a service company under one roof, for you will inevitably end up competing with your customers.

( via “Jeff Jarvis”:

posted at 10:47 pm on Friday, May 14, 2004 in Links | Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. Debbie says:

    I’m just catching up on the controversy now. Excellent comments, Harald.

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