Ouch. Weblogs.com fall down, go boom.
When first taking a foray into blogging, I considered Weblogs.com because the Manila system seemed pretty robust and relatively easy to use. However I was uncomfortable with the having all my content somewhere else and mostly out of my control. I started with Salon blogs because it used Radio Userland which is Manila-like but the server runs on your own machine. But the content still had to be posted to the Salon server, and without real FTP or shell access, I still didn’t have full control of the content once it was put out there. I think there are still a few orphan pages I didn’t wipe out properly. And I could never get the remote access posting to work quite right thought my firewall.
When Mike offered me space on his server (if I’d host the server in my apartment), I went ahead and set up Movable Type which I’m using now.
Movable Type is having some controversy as well since the software upgrade to 3.0 introduced some new usage rules and (heaven forfend) fees. So a lot of the use that was gratis is now pay-to-play. Of course, you did have the option of continuing to use the old software–but it wasn’t going to be supported anymore. Heck I’m still not even running the last release of the 2.x software, which may be my downfall at some point.
Anyway, it is the same old lessons of the World Wild Web. One, don’t expect a free service to always be free (e.g., when homepage.mac.com became .Mac). Two, free services can suddenly disappear (e.g., most of the freebie dial-in services). Three, you always want full control of your content. You might trade-off some control for convenience but be willing to pay for decent, professional-level service. But hey, I piss and moan when KCRW changes its schedule, so who am I to point fingers, right?
P.S. Props to JYW for her major site retrofit.