This post was long overdue. The next big thing, after JC’s Second Homecoming in Wall·E, was launched as a private Beta months ago and invites were hard to come by. You had to come up with a great excuse to get access to the newest, bestest and fastest music application, Spotify.
There seems to be a new meme: 15 websites/Services I’d Pay For. The question which bothers one is would I really pay for them?. Let’s for once go down the list and comment.
- Gmail: Would I pay for GMail? Yes. But more even I’d pay for the hosted GMail. If it came with push to, because the hosted GMail actually is the only reason to pay for Google’s email service. Agreed the UI is great compared to other, although my preferred hating platform, Yahell, has become better with time.
Why would I pay for a hosted email platform?
- Google Maps: Google Maps is a great service, but again… why would I pay for a service provided by others for free? Especially considered I already pay yearly to have my TomTom updated.
- WordPress.org: I would never consider paying for WordPress. The beauty of WordPress is the GPU/GNL spirit. If it weren’t for those, I’d rather pay for ExpressionEngine than for WP. Just because the platform is more mature.
- Statistic platforms/plugins:To be honest, although I have both Statcounter and Google Analytics installed here, I couldn’t care less for stats. I’m a huge fan of CrazyEgg though and pay for this service on several sites I manage.
- Craigslist: Considered I’m in Europe, Craigslist is pretty much useless to me. Even its European counter part, Gumtree is rather useless because I have an active social life and usually just have to tell/ask friends to sell/obtain something.
Several more, specifically US focused services are mentioned in the article, such as MLB, so it is very hard to comment on those. The only services I actually do pay for and enjoy paying for are:
- Flickr. I do pay for flickr, although I do consider switching to SmugMug, having the option to keep all my pictures somewhere as a backup option other than my hard drives and my own (soon to come) photoblog, is perfect to me.
- Last.fm: I do pay for the freedom of having my own radio station, based on what I listen to.
- Web hosting: Rather than using WP.com I pay for my own web hosting and like to have all my stuff in my own control.
To be entirely honest, there are only few I would pay for. Most involve platforms I use for websites, but otherwise I can perfectly live without many of the services which have become all day usage to me.
As Andy and I were chilling tonight after a couple of really hectic days, chilling in the beer garden with some pints of cider, obviously flickr soon became the main topic of the conversation. The popular Yahoo photosharing site has been the topic regularly here already. But somehow, flickr needs something more.
Unless… flickr had something more…
What flickr really needs are blogs. Yes, one step _back_ and be prepared to the already traditional flickr members backlash, but blogs are needed.
Not every flickr user will daily post new pictures, but sometimes they might live events which could be directly linked to their flickr presence. Like Andy and I did yesterday. So far the only way to link this up with my flickr account is to write an entry on my own blog. An entry totally independent from my flickr account. And from our mutual social network contacts. Differently said, noone on flickr really is aware about how our firstly virtual social contact now became reality. IRL reality.
Was it worth it? Yes!
Was it wirth blogging about? Frakkin’ yes!
Is it an experience to share with my flickr contacts who only follow our pictures and not our personal blogs? FFS YES!
But there’s no way to do so.
It was obvious it would happen. Actually I wrote about this issue in January 2007. Today the biggest twitter whores start discovering the issue: twitter _is_ made for spammers. Hence why we need twerpscan or similar services.
But the real matter here is not the great platform for spammers created by twitter, but rather the recluse the twitterati live in. Maybe, some day the top Web2.0 posterboys will get some rationalism in their bones too. Hopefully even while they still are hyped by their latest discovery.
Some weeks ago I wrote about the reasons behind my switch from WordPress to Chyrp, but I had forgotten one aspect, I had made a huge error. Chyrp nowhere is in a state ready for prime time and that doesn’t concern the platform, the code behind chyrp.
The error I made was to jump on the bandwagon based on the technical aspect of the platform and even a small, but rather active community. Most important factor though, the main developer behind the platform, was an element I didn’t analyze well enough before making my choice and decision for Chyrp.
As beautiful as Chyrp may be, its problem lays in how Alex Suraci rushes, or not, things.
Alex is a talented coder and has built an awesome platform, but sadly his ambitions are too personal and too little focused on Chyrp for the lightweight blogging platform to become really successful. Alex is ambitious and as a young developer, constantly learning and discovering new coding languages. This sadly to the inconvenience of the Chyrp community and adopters. Some details: a PHP5 is coming… and pending. So is a Ruby port.
The community forums have been changed to a new, non Chyrp related, and unmoderated location at toogeneric. All in all Chyrp is a nice platform, one I will continue to watch, but for now the uncertainties made me switch back to good ol’ WordPress.
I should have known better being a regular early adopter.
Jens Alfke has a great point on the possibilities of the Apps Store for developers.
Interesting is the conversation which had grown/could have continued in the comments had I hijacked the comments even more.
Sure, it’s peanuts, but it’s a significant step up compared to nothing at all. Also, $35/year for hosting, if that was static, is nothing compared to hosting on your own and potentially seeing your hosting costs skyrocket to hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month.
On the whole, though, I just don’t think the comparison with Sourceforge will hold once this all goes live. The two have very different (developer) communities and, more importantly, audiences. [Faruk]
The point of this comment was my comparison to an eventual Sourceforge alike, jungle which might grow based on $.99 applications.
I entirely agree with Faruk that both platforms (iPhone and Sourceforge) have a different audience. But the iPhone platform is only 10 months old and already heading for 10m users (not counting the multiple iPod Touch users – I use a touch at work as well, an iPhone in private life).
What does this mean? The iPhone/Apps Store surely has the potential to reach out to even more people than Sourceforge does. Not that long ago it costed $35/year to host an (open source) application at Sourceforge. The Apple digital certificate costs $99 (for a lifetime probably since no edits pointing at a yearly fee have been made since yesterday).
Let’s bring things back to reality now. Until little more than 2 years ago I ran several Windows communities, with around 20 k members and more than 4k daily active forum nerds. My voice pretty much was law in those communities. Yesterday I applied as Enterprise developer for the iPhone platform. It cost me $99.
If I hadn’t sold on those Windows communities (I’m on Mac now), I could have pitched no matter what sh|tty iPhone application to around 20k people without much of an effort. Apple takes care of the
effort hosting and distribution. And highly improves the visibility of my crappy application, even more than the 2-3k nerds who will blindly throw in a buck to test/use my stuff.
Does my popularity guarantee that I deliver quality? Nope, but probably the fact of running a community soon will see my application among the most popular apps and boost my sales even more.
Did I say Sourceforge Jungle? $99 Is nothing compared to hosting on your own and potentially seeing your hosting costs skyrocket to hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month.
Second, on the issue of community – I don’t know how to respond to this exactly. The problem isn’t that our community is growing. The problem is that growth, by definition, leads to the degradation of a community. The wingnuts arrive, and the trolls take up residence. Our challenge is to find a way to engage a larger audience while keeping the interest of our core readers. That may be impossible – and someday I may spin myself out of TechCrunch and start a new blog. The topic – new startups.
Michael, do it. Do it now.
The stealth way. Give yourself 6-9 months time and write as you did at the start of TC. Go the uncov way after all the TC experience you gathered.
Together with the community gathering the trolls, your crew also did. Don’t get me wrong, I love Duncan, I’ve been reading Duncan for more than 3 years now and always will continue, but people like you, people like Ted, people with inside knowledge or extended coding knowledge, should go solo again.
And if you do, screw the
echo chamber Techmeme-osphere, you’ll be surprised of the following you could gather within only some weeks.
TC, the magazine, works well and does its job, now it’s time for hardcore opinions again.