giving Frontier away for free, and gave away Manila free too.
Then after a year or two turned around and began charging everyone $899 a year for it. Not for upgrades, just for a license to use it. It must have seemed like a great business plan back in those dot com bubble days:
Of course, it didn’t quite work. And as the famous saying goes, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Before long Dave Winer was universally acclaimed by Dave Winer as the inventor of weblogs. He started weblogs.com, running on Manila. The plan was to give people free blogging space in the hope that they would like it enough to purchase his rather expensive software subscriptions.
Needless to say, they didn’t. And after a while, UserLand Software decided they were tired of wasting money on the exercise, particularly since Dave had officially left the company. Of course, he still owns the company, and is a multi-millionaire… but those are minor details.
Dave reportedly tried to transfer the blogs to a new server in Cambridge, MA. However, it was time for his chickens to come home to roost–his software is all Windows-based, and when he loaded it onto the new server and tried it out, the system thrashed itself to death. To get scalability for a mere 3,000 users he would have had to buy an entire server farm of Microsoft systems. That was too much like work, so Dave pulled the plug. Without notice. 3,000 weblogs vanished overnight. He recorded a heartfelt audio goodbye, and hosted it at Harvard University’s expense.
But hey, he’s a reasonable guy. He says he will provide people with their data some time in July, if they ask nicely. Not sure why it’ll take him until July to offer backups by request only, given that his software has overnight backup as a standard feature, but hey, I’m sure he has a good reason, just like he has a good reason for not even offering a redirect from the blogger.com domain to the users’ new URLs. (He says his DNS server can’t handle 3000 hostnames. I guess he runs his DNS on Windows too.)
So anyway, my point is: when’s the last time you backed up your LiveJournal?
Dave Winer relented after people offered their hardware and bandwidth. Users will now have until September to sort out commercial hosting, and will get a redirect. Of course, there’s still the problem of either paying for commercial Manila hosting, or getting your data out of Manila somehow…
[LiveJournal] disabled my account. Yes, I had backed everything up.
© mathew 2017