Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Into the ether...

Now it seems the other shoe has dropped at Userland, and the rules have changed. Dave Winer is the founder of Userland (Userland is the company that makes Radio, a weblogging application) and is now a fellow at Harvard Law’s Berkman Center.



In June, Dave lamented that the New York Times had committed a grave error by taking their free archives away and instituting a pay-for-access scheme. Dave wrote:




This broke our achive too. Now not only can’t they be the news source of record on the Web, but in a single move, they erased the record they had already created, and we had come to depend on. That’s how powerful the technology of the Web is, and how fragile.




How fragile indeed. On Monday, Userland’s CEO John Robb abruptly left the company (I’d link to his post, but that’s part of the story; instead, read his brief post over in Feedster’s cache). John’s weblog — hosted at Userland’s servers — is now dead. Gone. Nothing but a default server response when you go to jrobb.userland.com.



This troubles me for a host of reasons — but by far the biggest reason is that I’m blogging because of John Robb. Three days, three separate queries — and each one led to John’s site. I wondered why — who was this guy who was getting such good Google placement? I sent him an e-mail, we talked on the phone for a half hour, and I wrote an article about the whole experience. That week I started my own weblog (ironically, that first effort was in Blogger, then I moved to Radio and now I’m using Movable Type).



Beyond the personal connection, this frustrates me because Dave Winer took a principled position on the NY Times issue (one I happen to agree with) — yet now he wishes John good luck while simultaneously taking down nearly five hundred pages worth of content. (Caveat: it’s possible, though doubtful, that someone other than Dave took this down. If you know differently than I, feel free to leave a comment.)



John — I hope you land on your feet (I’m confident you will). Let us know where you go!



Final lesson from this situation: never, ever blog at a domain that’s not owned by you. Don’t blog on your employer’s site, don’t blog on your blogging application’s site — make sure your blog lives (and stays!) on your own domain.

12 comments:

  1. Blog at Your Own Domain

    As much as I'm looking forward to the impact of AOL Blogs and TypePad (MT power for the masses!), I do wish to stress this:...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, I'd like to answer you privately with my impressions of the NY Times arrangement Dave Winer made, but I can't locate your email address.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sneak Previews

    TypePad -- the Movable Type-powered hosting service slated to arrive soon at a web near you -- appears to have a slew of alpha test blogs up, running, and open for viewing. [Six Apart business development veep Anil Dash referred...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sneak Previews

    TypePad -- the Movable Type-powered hosting service slated to arrive soon at a web near you -- appears to have a slew of alpha test blogs up, running, and open for viewing. [Six Apart business development veep Anil Dash referred...

    ReplyDelete
  5. The great bit bucket in the sky

    It seems to me there's a very simple solution to this, that, for me, outweighs any risk of my web-based life disappearing into the great bit bucket in the sky, and that's simply this: back up your files.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Where In the World is John Robb?

    By now he may have surfaced, and the word just hasn't made it to me. I've been out. Dane is...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rick, I knew that you'd address the obvious issue in a sober and no nonsense way. Remember teh quote from the famous Palsgraf case about "negligence was in the air." Well, it appears in this case "irony is in the air." Or, more precisely, in the cybersphere.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dear Rick,

    I discovered your website through my thesis research on matrices entitle 7 +/- 2 Languages of Evolution. There are 3 evolutions:

    Thesis
    Antithesis: Reloaded
    Synthesis: Revolutions

    The etymology of Matrix can mean mother or womb. That in itself is an interesting idea. I conjecture in my thesis that matrices are essential for the birth of anything and that means boundaries. Choice is a boundary. 0 or 1. On or Off. Yes or No. The power does not seem be in choice but rather in choosing.

    Sorry, tangent. I then noticed your piece on John Robb. I too was censored by Dave Winer at Harvard (where he is a fellow) and recently posted my thoughts on a small piece of the blogging world. We are talking about people and not issues. The good news is that the people we use to personify the issue give us our first glimpse into the mechanics of the problem itself. I enjoyed reading the thoughtful comments throught your blogg. I was also impressed by individuals restraint in not flaming over issues. It is not an easy skill to master.

    www.siliconyogi.com/andreas/INBLOGGING

    www.siliconyogi.com/andreas/antithesisreloaded

    My version of a blog:

    www.siliconyogi.com/andreas/journal

    ReplyDelete
  9. John is back up blogging over at http://jrobb.mindplex.org/

    ReplyDelete
  10. Blog at Your Own Domain

    As much as I'm looking forward to the impact of AOL Blogs and TypePad (MT power for the masses!), I do wish to stress this:...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Blogging and Domains

    With the advent of TypePad and AOL Blogs, and with the continuing popularity of Userland Rich Klau makes a very good point. Final lesson from this situation: never, ever blog at a domain that's not owned by you. Don't blog on your employer's site, don'...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Rick,

    Thanks for the warm mention of me in this post. Let's talk again sometime.

    Sincerely,

    John Robb

    ReplyDelete