What is it today, with all the Internet platforms trying so hard. I get wanting to stay competitive, but it’s like they are afraid of, losing a moment to someone else. Everyone wants to provide a multiple experience. Whatever happened to, “If you do something, do that one thing well”. Blogging should be blogging. If you want to create a software for website building, then create one, but don’t try to squeeze it into your current product, that is already a stable success.
For many years, WordPress was the go-to for blogging. It was just comfortable, and easy to grasp. Then apparently, panic set in that they would be “one-upped” by someone else, so a mad rush was made to outdo the competition. In just a very few short years, a blogging platform has turned into a website building platform. Hardly resembling a blogging experience. Not to just bash WordPress, because I have some bones to pick, with my forum software below as well, but it is frustrating to those that want to blog, being pushed to the side for commercial interests. Sadly, sometimes that rush for fame and fortune leads to ruin.
Remember the antivirus programs of yesteryear? They were great at one thing, security. Then, to chase the dollar, they decided to get into adding various utilities for optimizing your computer. Buying up smaller companies/utilities that were good, and incorporating them as a suite. They became so bloated, that they couldn’t even do their primary task well. The few that survived, have gone back to the one thing they do well, and foregone being a suite.
The allure of one-upping the competition
WordPress, is not alone in the “over doing” arena. My forum software, over the last few years, has changed to chase the commercial interests. I started out with a software called IPS (Invision Power Services), a great software, that you had to learn, just like WordPress. If you wanted something extra, you had to learn how to insert code clips provided by others to get what you wanted. Then the fever hit. As the platform grew, the allure of one-upping the competition arrived. They worked feverishly to bring better things. At one point, we were getting updates several times a month. If you had a theme you used, or some add-ons, they were usually trashed by the new and improved update. We had to wait for those that had developed the items, to re-code them to work again. Only to have them broken the next month. What became fun to build things for, now was nearly a full time job, just to keep them working.
You will pay a price
Some might see where this is going. Developers, that enjoyed doing things for free, became frustrated. They started charging for add-ons, or themes. The free section of themes has gone from 40-50 in the last four years, to maybe four. The widgets have dwindled. Now, if you want something like a theme or add-on, you will pay a price for it, and then a maintenance fee every six months, in case updates break something. A theme can cost you $20-$40, with a recurring 6-month fee (usually half the price of the item) to keep it up to date. The same with the widgets or add-ons ($10-$60+). Why? Because IPS has also started chasing the “website look”.
The business plans of these companies, such as WordPress and IPS, defy logic. Yes, you can become great, you can rake in big money, but at some point it will be at the expense of losing users, then the revenue takes a hit. Apparently, this is happening to IPS, a once great forum platform. This year, out of the blue, the support center cost went from $25 per six-months, to $45 per six-months.
Killing off their original user base.
Support is fine, but if you’re smart enough to run the software after about a year, you seldom have to call on support. I haven’t had to use support in the last 3 years. But, and here is the catch, they only provide security updates, and software updates, if you have the support plan. So we jumped from $25 bi-annually, to $45. Plus, everything you want to enhance your forum comes with a pretty good price, and bi-annual fee. They are, essentially, killing off their original user base. I don’t begrudge the bi-annual fee for security and upgrades at a reasonable fee, but a $20 hike is just a bit on the rough side.
Let’s hope developers or WordPress that make our widgets etc., never truly get money hungry, like my IPS forum platform.
Comments, always welcome.