May 13, 2004
Whiny bloggers flip out

I read today that SixApart has finally announced a reasonable plan for licensing MovableType.

And now there’s a firestorm of indignant bloggers ranting up the blogosphere with outrage and bile.

How dare MovableType charge me for my blog?”, they whine. “Don’t they know that my blog is important to me and many others!?!?!”, they complain.

Let me lay it down clearly for you whiny bitches.

For years now, Ben & Mena had been providing a great product for free to people. I know for a fact that the vast majority of people that downloaded and use MovableType, didn’t give one penny to them as a donation for the software.

MovableType becomes the premier blogging tool in the blogosphere with power and flexibility that is barely matched by anything else out there. They innovate, they give, and the help foster the explosive growth of weblogging.

After a few years, Ben & Mena decide to make a business out of their skills and start SixApart. The incorporate, they get investors, they hire employees. Now they are going to make some money.

Let me go over that point again for those of you on the short bus, THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE SOME MONEY.

You see people, business are about making money. For a business to make money, you need to charge people for your products and services. This is not a hard concept to master. If you think very hard, you may realize that when you go to the grocery store, if you want to take stuff home, you have to give money to the person at the register. Or, when you bought your spiffy laptop, you had to pay someone before you walked off with the laptop.

I’ll go slow here, try to follow along.

If SixApart wants to make money, they need to charge for their products.

Now that wasn’t so tough, was it? What did you expect SixApart to do? Rely on donations? Please…

Of course they are making you pay for all the good stuff. It’s the same thing that every other business does. The better the stuff you get from them, the more you pay. Some people tried the ‘give it all away for free and make it up in volume’ business plan before. Remember that whole dotcom boom thing? Yeah, will amazingly it didn’t work to make everything free.

Some people are complaining that they expect more from MT 3.0 and for a lower price. I expect more from a BMW (where’s the friggin’ auto-shotgun that I saw in the James Bond movie?) and they should charge less for the car, like about $10,000. Do you think that ranting about BMW or buying a different make of car is going to change the costs that BMW incurs making a car? No.

SixApart is still going to provide a free version, but to many, that just isn't good enough. Imagine that, the free software isn't powerful enough for your, you want more features in the free version. Is that because those features have some real, additional value?

There are plenty of luxuries in life that people can’t do without and are willing to pay for happily. How many companies offer free cell phone service, netflix, broadband net access, PVR service, etc. Not many. It appears that most people are willing to pay for good things.

But SixApart announces their plan, and here come the posts by angry bloggers with their fists clenched over their spiffy Macs, sipping $4 lattes, flipping out that business dare intrude on their happy, happy, joy, joy world of free software. “I’m done with MT!1!!!1” they type. Enjoy the ride folks. Switch over to Blogger. Oh, wait, they charge for the good stuff. Then choose, Livejournal. Oh, dang, they charge too. Perhaps Radio then. Wait, they charge too!

OMFG, all the good weblogging stuff costs money. We’re doomed! Sure there are some good freeware blogging tools out there. Unfortunately, they have little support and little outside development at this time. For those with the skillz, they won’t have a problem, converting. But all you whiny, ungrateful types, might just have a problem with the conversion and editing that is required.

There are plenty of people that can and will switch. The people that can switch easily aren’t the ones complaining. They are smart enough to realize that good software is actually worth money.

Maybe your precious blog might actually be worth paying someone to get help with. I mean, you’re a busy person and you just want to focus on the blogging, not the software, right?

You might even consider paying SixApart to support you and your blog, since it’s such a fun part of your life. Perhaps things of value to you are worth spending money to have?

Naw, it’s much easier to bitch and moan that ‘you expected more from 3.0’ and ‘I’ll switch’ than admit that you are a cheap bastard.

P.S. The best post on the MT 3.0 announcement.

Posted by michael at May 13, 2004 08:08 PM