A few days ago I wrote about how the Microsoft Tablet should embrace the other Microsoft platforms and seamlessly integrate all of these different services together – and I absolutely stand by that statement, the importance of integrated platforms is huge and one day perhaps I’ll sit down and write about why I think it’s so important. Previously I’ve also written about whether or not you could give up using Google products – see here for my conclusions.
Today, I want to write about a step forwards Microsoft have made that achieves both of these things; moves the reliance away from Google and also sees a deeper integration into the Microsoft Platform. I’m talking about the partnership Microsoft announced with blogging company WordPress to move their Windows Live Spaces platform to them.
This is important news for two reasons; the first is that Windows Live Spaces in my opinion sucked, the whole thing had too much of a ‘Facebook wannabe’ in that it was trying too hard to bring together social elements from Live Messenger, SkyDrive, etc without any real blogging platform where posts could be….posted or any customisation could be….customised. The second reason is that Microsoft finally has a platform that competes directly with Google’s Blogger service, which is important for getting user generated content onto their network/platform.
It’s important to remember that this is only a partnership deal, but some might say it does pave the way to a Microsoft acquisition later down the line. Buts lets not forget that WordPress is a big playing the blogging market and they host numerous clients, some of which are big players.
I sat down last night and actually signed up for a WordPress account and I have to admit I was extremely impressed with the amount of tools and options that were included within the default free package. I was so impressed that I seriously started to consider whether it was worthwhile moving this very blog over to the WordPress service.
I was all ready to commit to the move until I realised that WordPress want to charge me $12 a year for the pleasure of me re-pointing my domain name at their DNS servers. $12 a year?! Yes, this isn’t a lot of money considering that they are actually hosting the actual content for free, but I’m already paying for my domain name, why do I have to pay again?
This is where Google has the upper hand; I can point my domain at the Blogger platform for absolutely nothing at all. WordPress does have plenty of other features that they charge for and some of which I’d certainly consider purchasing, but playing for nothing other than a DNS entry is a bit much – especially as a reoccurring cost per year (I’d be more willing to pay a one off cost than a per year fee, no matter how small, knowing that I wouldn’t have to renew interest every year).
If Microsoft were able to change this and to allow customers to point their own domains at these blog pages, I think that it would open up WordPress to potentially a slightly bigger customer base, who don’t necessarily understand how DNS works – without doing the research into this, I can guarantee that most non-technical users who blog would want do so under their own domain name if they were willing to pay for it, but I also think that most won’t understand these re-occurring charges to keep that domain name pointed at the site, especially when Google can do this for free.
It’s a high hope, Microsoft haven’t been all that friendly in allowing you to run your own domain name on their platforms thus far (or I really have been missing some configuration pages in their online apps), but with their commitment to cloud based services and a bit of pressure on WordPress, they could change this on the blogging platform. It’s something I’ll be watching out for, for sure. In the meantime, this blog will remain on Google’s Blogger until at least I can be persuaded of any true benefits of switching over to WordPress.
Give me a reason if you want my custom.