TL;DR Abstract: Domain transfers shouldn’t suck so bad; Tumblr should provide payment plans.
I just recently migrated my domain registrar from Google’s Google Apps/GoDaddy clusterfuck to iWantMyName. The process has been far from smooth, and for three full days my blog was in hiatus. At first, I thought this could be the result of relying too heavily on Tumblr as the primary content host (seeing as how I’m pointing the domain’s A-record to 126.96.36.199 and it’s taking longer to complete the two tasks). Of course, that assumption was ludicrous as I merely overlooked a small setting in iWantMyName Nameserver setting — it didn’t activate its own; rather, it kept the old ones. Not sure why this is set as the default, but it had me confused for the better part of the week. Other than that, iWantMyName has been a brilliant change from the domestic mangled nightmare of settings and user interface design of the previous dashboard. I encourage anyone stuck in that shithole to change immediately.
After finally seeing the transition complete, it brings me back to the argument about paying for things you use. The practical, ease of use with Tumblr and the number of prolific blogs on the platform should suggest that merely paying for the service through custom CSS templates isn’t enough. It’s been argued far and wide that we should have the chance to pay for using Tumblr. This would, ideally, provide the following:
- Grant the opportunity for Tumblr to get funding and improve server structure
- Encourage/guarantee optimal uptime for blogs that pay for the service
- Fund permission for the Tumblr CMS to be hosted on your own server (like Wordpress and Movable Type)
- Provide revenue for the platform to steer it away from venture capitalist funding
- Give a big thank you for the service
Any of these options would prove valuable to both Tumblr and its users (soon to be customers?). You can argue that social platforms like Twitter and Facebook lose their cool once you’re required to pay to play. They wouldn’t garner nearly as many members, and it wouldn’t be nearly as easy to jump onto the platform if there were an initial paywall. But weblogs are a different beast. They aren’t necessarily part of a site; they oftentimes are the site. Why have content sit and rot on a server when you can encourage the continued use of a service by kindly sticking a price tag on it?
This isn’t intended to be a complaint. It’s merely pointing out the pitfalls of fantastic online platforms, like Tumblr, and the desire to see them continue to operate into the future. I could easily switch gears and host a Wordpress blog on my own server, but there’s something satisfying about the way Tumblr re-thought blogging (using Markdown as an input markup language for posts, allowing easy RSS ‘follow’ buttons for the Tumblr network, a neat dashboard of the blogs you follow, powerful mobile apps, and so forth). The only good way to support it is to use it.