Weblog Murder

A sensationalist attention grabbing title ! 🙂

Reading in a few places about a chap called Dave Winer, who has given up offering a free service which up till a day or so ago hosted up to 3,000 weblogs. Reading between the lines it looks like he was on borrowed time. He stopped working for the company that hosted the servers about three years ago and recent changes meant he had to host things himself.

There has been an understandable reaction from the user community, which hotwired place an interesting spin on. Apparently Dave has offered to give an export, on request, of blogs. This will take him two weeks. This has been given as a reason for most people giving quiet comments on the lack of notice given by him, lest he take offence at disparaging comments and refuse to give them their lives back. On the other hand, some are laying in at the lack of notice and said that he would have known about the situation for a while. Such is, maybe it all got too much for him and he was overtaken by the situation.

The Register take a different perspective, choosing to make an independent verification of what were described as technical issues. Winer says they have server problems, The Register checks the operating system and extrapolates that Windows 2000 is up to the job and it is their admininistration that is suspect.

My take on the story? Mr Winer founded the free service a few years ago at the beginning of the blog phenomenon, when he worked at Userland and they provided the servers. Things changed and he left the company, but the existing management kept hosting the free service. Management changed there recently, didn’t have the ties to Mr Winer and went through some cost reduction. This tipped the level of responsibility for the service over the balance that Mr Winer was interested in, or could cope with.

The Internet is going to face this situation a few more times and I watch with interest to see whether the sense of benovolence that provides so much free will continue, or whether the costs will catch up with us and charging will catch up by stealth.

In the meantime, I’ll need to think about my own free hosting of my blog!

PS: Usual disclaimers, I know almost nothing about this situation apart from what I’ve read in the two articles referenced.