In which I try my luck at writing an editorial column and miserably fail.
When reading The Blog Herald today, I was struck by the article A Hardcore Spanking, Web 2.0 Style. In the article Andrew G.R. discusses how he became the victim of several platforms, for not reading the ToS. And hits at the same time out at being an early adopter.
But I do not see a link between suffering the bane of being an early adopter and getting banned for not respecting the rules, guidelines.
Early adopterism has been the topic on this blog before, and even nowadays, in my days of blogging retirement, I continue to be an avid tester of applications and spam my colleagues with any new service I discover and like. Around 3% of the stuff I test. My Holy Shit Tools.
And sometimes, I realize I better had waited before switching, before implementing a new, beta service in my daily workflow, as the Chyrp experience has shown me once more.
Never though have I been banned from a site, been confronted with a restriction other than my own stupidity. Not because I was an early adopter.
Honestly, I would be happy if Twitter made the decision for me that following more than 2000 tweeps is insane is. Then again, probably I am not interested enough in everyone’s lifestream.
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.
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.
But, this week the redistribution of Mimbo was taken a step further by Michael Oeser, who changed the name to Branford Magazine, thus relieving him of any GPL issues. He also added some bits from Structure (Justin Tadlock) and Revolution (Brian Gardner), though anyone viewing the source code can see it’s 90% Mimbo with a new paint job.
- A name change does not relieve of the GPL issues
- GPL license allows to redistribute, with or without links. Whether in altered form or in original form
- Brian Gardner’s revolution is copyrighted.
To resume, a whine. A whine because the GPL *does call* for ethics, and likes the source to be credited (in code is sufficient – although I do doubt the Blandford theme credits in the code), but this is no license requirement and the GPL *does allow* any credit to be removed.
In the midst of the whole sponsored theme vendetta, I insignificant blogger demand that Automattic returns the WordPress brand to the community. I might have preferred to think twice about writing that entry because it was a total clusterfrak but for other reasons. Two years later the WordPress Foundation is coming closer every day. Good old times at Wisdump.
I actually wanted to wait some more days before getting overly
critical editorial again, until a new writing opportunity on an existing and READ blog started, but the conversation at Web Worker Daily and my inability to shuttup made me reopen this blog today already.
Anne Zelenka worries that Facebook could take over the Internet after the introduction of the F8 platform. And as I’ve written here before MZ made a strategically very smart move.
But today, only some days of Facebook fun with friends later, I think that FaceBook also has dugg its own graveyard. Let me correct that : battlefield.
Due to the nature of Facebook, every day more applications go viral and application developers, sometimes even already existing platforms such as iLike get deeper in trouble. In trouble due to their popularity.
Over the weekend iLike sent out an email to Valley companies, asking for servers until they could buy new own servers, only because of the popularity of their FB application. Read more at pmarca (scroll down to #4 of the Cons).
Together with the very viral nature of F8 many smaller overnight built applications, such as iGift, SuperPoke or FoodFight, and their developers have gotten in trouble : F8 requires the developer to host its own application, on own servers.
Exactly this could turn FB in to a battlefield over the next months, years. Most developers won’t be able to afford the hosting costs for their quickly whipped up application and we will see VC money and a whole new economy around FB/F8.
Applications will be sold and with time the Big 5 (think Google, Yahoo!, MS, Amazon and Ebay) will become more present at F8, not only with their own applications (Amazon already has a book review app on FB), but also with acquisitions.
Dollars will flow towards developers and the Big 5 will fight to increase their influence on the F8 platform.
I see only 2 possibilities right at the moment:
- MZ is REALLY smart and sells out now. Not going to happen.
- Within 18 months FB is an economical, influence Internet warfield. And MZ will be the loser of the year. Due to FB’s growing dependence on external applications, applications then owned by the Big 5, a sell out strategy has become impossible for FaceBook.
Any major investment in FaceBook would be too risky, because any other player could pull its own platform of applications from FaceBook.
Contrary to what Mark Andreesen wrote at pmarca [via Mathew Ingram], the platform will not win in latter case.
Drama scenario for my thesis were if FaceBook really has the money to buy omst platforms themselves. To pull a Myspace.
But I can’t find any revenue stream at Facebook, big enough to compete with the Big 5 and the likes of CBS (last.fm).
Update: Finally it seems other people start to think buy Facebook applications.