June 15, 2004
This is pure inside baseball. Nevertheless, it is interesting. Dave Winer weblogging pioneer shut down all the free weblogs at weblogs.com. Go there and you get this page with a link to an audio post explaning why he did what he did.
Since it is Winer's server he can pretty much do anything he wants with it. If he wants to host weblogs, build tech communities, or run a gazillion porn sites, fine. He's paying the bills therefore he makes the rules. My problem is with the inconsideration he gave to weblogs.com users he calls "pioneers." He gave them little if any warning about the impending doom of their weblogs. As a commenter at Halley's Comment wrote:
No problem with weblogs.com going away, but no explanation was given until those of us started posting about it. Not even on scripting.com. And then to pull the plug without warning? And then people can't access their old material?
Thousands of us got a free ride from Dave, and Userland, over the past five years. What we got was far more than we didn't pay for. For many of us (certainly for me), the benefits have been incalculable.
At a minimum, Winer should be accused of poor planning. Moving entire websites to a new host is a risky task. He could have warm users that what he was doing could jeopardize their weblogs.
Then there's the note about cost. Dave wrote that he "can't afford to host these sites." But he had the money to traipse around Europe recently, and he could afford to be a Harvard fellow. Fine, he can do what he wants, but somehow he could afford server time to give his users a little time to back up their weblogs? That's not putting the user first, something he harps on other tech-types to do.
I now understand why people have so much trouble working with Dave when it comes to technology. I have a feeling the creation of Atom technology for syndication was partially a reaction to Dave's personal stake in RSS.
If there is another BloggerCon I hope Winer doesn't run it, and that whoever does organize it take advantage of Bill Hobbs' idea. First, it would be closer to me. Second, I'd love to visit Nashville. Third, it would move the conference away from the East Coast and it's liberal media-industrial complex and let more webloggers in Red America participate.
"Dave Winer is Still a Dick"
UPDATE: Wired News is covering this story. Most noticable is the fear by some that if they say anything disparaging about Winer he will "forget" to provide weblog entries.