Weblogging Consortiums

Recovered from the Wayback Machine

This afternoon I was visiting Mike Golby and Jeneane Sessum when I realized that Blogspot was down. Again.

I am not unmindful of what Blogger has provided to the community these last few years — a free and easy way for webloggers, especially new webloggers, to get their voices online. However, I do believe it’s time for the community of webloggers to take some of this burden away from Blogger. Before we lose a whole lot of webloggers when Blogspot goes down for the count.

An effective approach would be to create Weblogging Consortiums — groups of webloggers who band together to lease a server for an entire year, thereby sharing the costs of the server among themselves. In particular, webloggers wanting to move to Movable Type 2.2 with MySql support have been faced with increased costs, especially if they’re using Windows-based systems. Shared space would be very cost effective.

Another Consortium service would be a listing of those with extra server space, willing to provide hosting for others. For instance, on my own system, once the environment is in place for Movable Type, adding new weblogs isn’t that much of a strain on resources. I have more than one weblog on the server now, and could easily add another 5 or 6 weblogs without any strain. In case you’re wondering whether my server will ‘go away’ some day, I’ve had a web server since 1996 — neither Burningbird nor YASD is going away.

Dorothea Salo has also offered to host some Blogger weblogs, and I imagine that most people with a server have extra space.

Finally, a third spoke to this Consortium wheel is a weblogger supported fund used to finance servers for newbies only. These servers can be pre-setup with Movable Type installed for each weblog, simplifying the process for new webloggers. In addition, perhaps other weblogging tool companies would also donate services for the Newbie Servers, though companies like Userland in addition to Blogger have taken on more than their fair share of free hosting (and are to be commended for their generosity).

If the newbies last past six months, at that point then they would move to a hosted server. The weblogging community would help them make this move (handle tool set-ups, migration of archives and so on). The weblogger would then pay for the tool they’re using (such as Blogger, Radio, or MT, or whatever), and pay a small yearly fee to be hosted. The amount of this fee would be based on what they could afford. Hopefully with this approach, the servers would eventually be self-funded.

The Consortium would not be a quickie Paypal setup with no financial accountability — the plan would be administered by a sanctioned organization under whatever non-profit corporate laws are in effect to the host country, with online access to the books and balance at any time.

Weblogging shouldn’t be for those with lots of bucks or technical skill. It should be open to anyone who can find some way of connecting to the Internet, and has something to say.

Stay tuned because I’m going to have more to say on this. And I’d like to hear what others say.

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