May 14, 2004

Kottke Catches Winer Stupidity Virus

THE USUALLY SANE AND ASTUTE JASON KOTTKE has been bitten in the brain by the Dave Winer web virus today with his note titled The end of free (

The bottom line, as Dave suggests, is that MT 3.0 is worth charging money for. Period. The fact that it was free up until now is largely irrelevant...except that for 2 1/2 years Six Apart has provided people with a very powerful, flexible piece of software for free and will continue to do so in the future. Those bastards!
Sigh. That's the problem with reading Dave Winer without your surge protector duct-taped to your forehead. You might think, for a nanosecond, that Winer is making sense, but that's only because your are forgetting that everything in Middle Earth is but a prop in Dave's Neverending Epic Backstory starring Dave. In this case, you've forgotten the massive Userland meltdown when pricing began and, surprise, GOT IT WRONG. Like the Web's rutheless attack on Dave over RSS, his remorseless strangulation of his cat, his ascension into the realms of Harvard, his self-canonization as the inventor of blogging, his compulsion to inform you that today is his 3,746th day of not-smoking, and his decision to "move to a swing state in November so my vote counts!" (announced yesterday)... yes, you have forgotten that you cannot separate a Davism from Dave. The Dave endures.

Kottke then recovers some semblance of sanity when he goes on to say:

The one thing I do think 6A got wrong is the pricing structure for personal users.
HELLO! Earth to Jason. That is exactly what all this is about. It is not, as Dave so dumbly decrees, about getting something for nothing. It is about the price of that something. Few MT users have been moaning about the end of free, but a lot have been, as you note, made very nervous by the
Tiered pricing of software based on the number of users was designed to make sure large companies paid more for software than did small that a company like Wal-Mart pays $3 million for a database application for 20,000 users and a smaller company like Nantucket Nectars pays $30,000 for the same software with 250 users. The same pricing structure doesn't make sense for personal users. I know they priced it that way so that someone can't install MT and then host weblogs for 50 of their friends. I can understand that...that seems like an abuse of the "personal" license to me.
Jason then goes on to state that if he jumped on this pricing model under his current configuration he'd be shelling out $700. That's only for starters.

What's clear to me is that, as they have in the past, Six Apart got stupid with the way it handles its core users. It also got stupid with the way they used beta testers and then tried to upsell them. It was stupid again with the way they announced their move, and stupid before that with the way they set their pricing. Indeed, they state they are 'trying to get their pricing right.' What does that mean? Are they beta-testing their pricing? Will it go up if the market will bear it? Will it come down if it will not? If it comes down, will early adopters get a refund?

Seems to me that 6A has depended on "the kindness of strangers" in plugin development and software support since day one. Seems to me that they've more than once revealed themselves to be stumblebums at doing what their software is supposed to enable -- communicate clearly and effectively. For this small flaw they will also join the group of people invested in Movabletype -- yes, they too will pay.


Side note to Kottke: When Dave Winer thinks something, take a hint from Apple and think different.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 14, 2004 10:45 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

In my (and Dave's) defense, many people were complaining about having to pay for MT3.

Posted by: jkottke at May 16, 2004 6:22 PM