I’ve read a lot of interesting posts/thoughts/criticisms of the Moveable Type licensing changes (Feedster search). I probably have a somewhat unique view on this as an indy developer and a contributor (though I haven’t contributed much lately) on a competing product: WordPress.
One complaint that I’ve seen repeatedly today from various people is that the announced licence tiers leave too big a gap, that “there isn’t a license for me.” I’ve never spoken to the folks at Six Apart, but I’m sure they thought long and hard about this and they probably have a reason for it. Perhaps they want to see these users move to TypePad. Perhaps the support for individual users takes too much time so they decided to price the licenses where they would not be as appealing to individuals.
I know that SnapperMail choose to take this route with their Palm e-mail software. From their Yahoo Group:
We had lots of price complaints at SnapperMail when it was $34.95 and $44.95. When we pushed it up to $40 and $50, the complaining stopped. We figure we hit on the right pricing for our target customer – the tech-savvy professional – whilst leaving behind the budget concious consumer which typically are the ones that let us know we charge to much.
Geof noted this about my Tasks pricing; Tasks Pro™ isn’t aimed at the individual user and the price reflects that.
Anyway there seem to be a bunch of people planning to move over to WordPress because of this, I hope WordPress is ready for it! In some ways, WordPress seems to succeed in spite of itself. The docs (though improving, thanks for the hard work WP doc writers!) have been historically inaccurate or non-existent. There are various people who (intentionally or not) give off a very negative vibe when
I think it will be interesting to see how Six Apart, Moveable Type, TypePad and WordPress evolve as a result of these changes.
The big difference between the case you site and MT was:
1) MT had a big amateur developer community that contributed a lot to the product, many of whom are now being asked to pay for the sites they currently run and feel ripped off.
2) Six Apart are way late with their product from their original promise of Summer 2003, and it has a lot less features that they originally implied it would.
3) The biggest mistake of all – In response to a lot of grumbling about non-communication, they announced fall 2003 that the new version would be free.
People feel that they reneged on their promises and are charging more for very few new features.
Of course people can always stay on their current free 2.661 systems, but who wants to sit on a dead platform?
Business lessons I would take away:
1) Trying to get people to pay for a product that they have been getting for free is very hard.
2) Don’t comment on pricing until you have decided what it is.
3) Do a cost /benefit analysis before you decide to enrage your evangelist and developer community, and make sure the benefits are worth it. Sometimes they are.
It may well be that the have enough in-house programming talent and enough of a commercial reputation that they don’t need the army of contributors and evangelists any more — I just hope they did this as a conscious decision.
I’m certainly not trying to say that the situations are the same, but I’m able to draw useful lessons from both of them.
Some of the business lessons you mention above are similar to some I mentioned in a previous post.
For the wiki: click the login button, enter a username (like AlexKing) and the password of your choice. You’re logged in, you’re registered. No nasty signing-up process!
Sure, I’ve tried it a bunch of times. 🙂
and it doesn’t work?! I mean, I did just that a couple of hours ago…
Yeah, I think the issue for the wiki for people like Alex and I was that we were “registered” but never given login data.
I purportedly have an account on the wiki, but I’ve never been able to access it.
:shrug: That’s okay.
[I echo your thoughts, Alex, on hoping that WP is ready.]
Alex, you need to use a WikiWord as screenname for the wiki.
alexking won’t work. It has to be AlexKing.
Are you sure you tried with the exact spelling?
By the way, WikiWords are explained at WPDocs. 🙂
Ok folks, Let’s get back on topic.
More Moveable Type Rumblings … and a Prediction
I want to follow up on what Alex has already written about the fallout surrounding Moveable Type’s license change and its possible implications for WordPress.
If there is no individually-priced software package like MT in the marketplace, people …
I’m new to blogging and recently got WP. I’ve had some issues getting it running, but I found the forums very helpful. I also found very useful information at the wiki (what does that stand for, anyway!?), and even on IRC.
Taken from http://www.usemod.com (via Google):
Question: What does ‘wiki’ stand for?
Answer: It comes from the Hawaiian word wiki wiki, which means quick.
Oh, OK! [shrugs shoulders] I don’t get it.
I looked at Six Apart/MT/Typepad but decided to go with WordPress due to cost. I usually like to host my own stuff anyway, and diddle with the code, etc.
I had some trouble getting WordPress installed (Win2K) but finally something magic happened and it now works. WP is very promising and I hope the dev team keeps up the good work. The Doc is very lacking, and judging from the Forum (which is very active), I think a lot of people have problems on the install. So this may need some flanging up.
I do think a bunch of people are looking at WP for their migration path.