Bottom line

Bottom line

: Movable Type reveals its new pricing and I predict it could cause a storm of protest.

Regular pricing (introductory pricing lower) for the personal license runs from $99.95 to $189.95 for five to 10 blogs. Regular pricing for the commercial license runs from $299.95 to $699.95 for five to 20 blogs.

The problem for little guys is that personal is defined as “noncommercial.” So, one must assume, if you do anything to make money — Blogads or AdSense or Amazon affiliation or what about a tipjar? — you have to get the commercial license. There’s also a free version with no SixApart support but it, too, is noncommercial.

The problem for big guys is the arbitrary limit on the number of blogs. Calacanis already has more than 20; Denton will soon; Corante is one away; in full disclosure, my day job site is well over that. This is the chronic conundrum of software licensing: You have to be able to price on volume usage but you also don’t want to discourage usage… because you only drive your customers to your competitors. Why limit the ambition of your customers? The attitude should be: Want 1,000 blogs? Great! We’ll make it easy for you. Putting a cap of 20 on the license is thinking small, way too small.

It’s clear that SixApart should be making money for a very good product. It’s clear that they were not getting enough money before. I like all the guys at SixApart; trust and respect them. I like the product and have no desire to go looking for alternatives. But…

This comes at what I believe is a bad time: when Movable Type users have been feeling a bit neglected as all the new features have gone to the paid hosting service, TypePad (which won’t work for many bloggers with big ambitions in terms of the number of blogs or bandwidth) while MT 3.0 is forever on the horizon.

Olivier Travers wrote a great and softspoken post two weeks ago saying that the delay in getting to the next version of MT has only increased the anticipation and that the lack of new features is thus bound to disappoint.

I’ve spoken with some other power users of MT who are unhappy that they have not gotten swift help on such issues as comment spam.

And at the same time, Blogger comes out with all kinds of new features … at last (but, hey, it’s free). And I know of another rabid competitor getting ready to pounce.

Damn, the last thing I wanted to do right was comparison shop.

: UPDATE: SixApart’s Anil responds in the comments (as I knew he quicklyi would):

The personal/noncommercial license specifically allows incidental revenue like blog ads or tip jars or affiliate revenue, just to accommodate the way personal bloggers use the app. That was fun trying to explain to a lawyer.