Cheap at Twice the Price: VeriSign Buys Blogging Site - Not Throwing Out the Baby with the Bath Water
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When Mark McLaughlin talks about the future of Weblogs.com, he does so in a way that must be reassuring to current users. In his blog, he notes that “First, we want to see weblogs.com remain what it is, and maintain how it works for the long term.” VeriSign sees “enormous value” in the current system. So what will stay the same?
First, the system will continue to be free. Messages processed by Weblogs.com will remain free to submit, and free to retrieve. VeriSign does plan to offer services they can charge a fee for, along the lines of Yahoo!’s model for email: the basic service is free, but it charges a fee premium upgrades (such as domain hosting).
Second, the system will continue to be operated on open standards. VeriSign plans to keep the XML-RPC format Dave Winer built Weblogs.com around. In fact, the company voiced a commitment to “open formats, freely available, freely implementable by the rest of the community.” The last thing they want to do, apparently, is build “a walled garden around a proprietary platform.”
Third, VeriSign will devote the resources to make sure the system is solid. McLaughlin insists that “We have the skills, resources and experience in highly-scaled, high-performance infrastructure to deploy ping server services that will serve the blogosphere (and beyond) for the next stages of growth.” The company apparently envisions a system as reliable as landline phones, legendary for their 99.99 percent uptime. At least, that is what McLaughlin seems to be saying when he talks about providing a reliable “dial-tone” for sending and receiving publishing signals on the Internet.
Fourth, VeriSign plans to implement a part of Dave Winer’s vision that he hadn’t managed yet to bring about himself. “[W]e would like to make weblogs.com – the website – a useful destination for checking in on the infrastructure side of the blogosphere. We anticipate it being a handy place to check in for aggregated metrics: how many pings were processed today? How many feeds are active in the last week? How many different languages are being used for ping submission? There’s a great number of stats and measurements we can deliver that we’d find useful as members of the blogosphere.”
To emphasize these points, McLaughlin stated that Weblogs.com will remain fully backwards compatible. “If your publishing tools are configured to ping weblogs.com, you should not have to change anything.” So the system will continue to work – only faster.
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