Blogging

Unbound Spiral: Greed May Kill MT

May 14, 2004 11:58 PM

Well we now know that MT SixApart or MovableType has really stuffed up. The team that started trackbacks will sink in one storm of their own making. Currently I see 527 trackbacks to this post. In the space of an afternoon I've gone from a 120% avid supporter to a grudging 25% only there because it remains on my server. I paid the donation licenses, and I've done the same for a few companies. I've praised the forums all staffed by voluteers and applauded the plug-in architecture. MT would still be nothing without this community.

I have 10 blogs behind henshall.com. There are four that are sort of active and public. The others are experiments and development blogs for other projects. Perhaps one would call them a live template library or a demonstration place. They are my repositories for experiments. I'm not a developer although I do know how MT works and what it can do.

Separately I've executed a couple of multi-author blogs. Those companies could possibly exist within the blog number restriction but not on the authors. 20 authors is nothing. And who in their right mind would set a pricing structure that fails to offer everyone in a company a blog. Note, current MT plug-ins enable you to create additional index templates for sub-blogs by author.

I don't mind a fee. However, limiting blog by number limits the creativity and number of applications that they can be put to. This is poor economics. If blogs are scarce because they cost money then people will be cautious about setting them up. If authors can't freely experiment whether public or private then the product and the applications will also remain static. This pricing structure will kill an innovative medium. It's not the way I want to let blogs loose in my company. I also don't want a million blogs without purpose.

A possible simple solution is to set a minimum fee and grant a minimum number of authors. I'd guess about $10 per author is about the right price. No limit to the number of blogs. Thus you probably start at $50 for up to five authors. It's $100 at 10 etc. This means that you will have to sell it to 60 authors to get the $599 they are looking for. Maybe then they will actually integrate "authors" into the database functionality!

Further limiting blogs to a number is stupid. In a company many will use the same templates. Thus there is no real investment in adding additional blogs. Where they want different looks and feel or changed funtionality then a new custom blog is designed. New template costs time and money although they are relatively easy to set up.

If I had a research company even the top license for 20 authors wouldn't make sense. It's not the money it the restrictions on blogs and authors. Blogs that involve customers may run for the life of a project. After that they are effectively retired. They may run into an internally syndicated list and thus remain searchable. A new project starts. How long before I'm through 15? And what do I do with my customers in this case? Do they now cost me money to enable them to blog on my platform?

Finally nothing suggests there is anything really new here. I'm even more bothered now about comment spam. I have to deal with it daily. That apparently is a problem primarily for MT bloggers.

So bloggers it is probably time to move on. I want a blog-wiki for external communications and a wiki-blog for my internal stuff. My read is MT just created an enormous opportunity for some competitors.

MT confess you made a mistake. Listen to those that would like to remain customers rather than thinking you should be Oracle.