I’ve no final thoughts on this, just a bunch of loosely organized observations. Some of this is based on my search for a web/blog hosting service and decision to go with blot.im.
When I had my photo blog, the blog hosting (originally on blogger.com) was free. Or, rather, because I wasn’t charged, it seemed free.
In reality, the value for blogger.com was that they had all my data, and I didn’t. When I wanted to move to a different hosting service (in this case, wordpress.com) I couldn’t easily just move everything to the new service. Readers who knew about the old location had to be informed of the new location. Web search engines had to be persuaded to show the new location instead of the old. In some sense, everything I’d created was held captive by blogger, because they held the data and they owned the domain for the URL for my blog.
I bit the bullet and moved to wordpress.com. Not long after, Wordpress moved to adding advertising to free blog sites. Either I moved again, or I put up with it. Stupid me, I was facing the same problems with URL and data. I’m just not a fast learner.
With this blog, I thought I’d learned the lesson. When I set up the blog on Squarespace, I paid to get my own domain. I reasoned that if I owned the domain, I could move things without as much fuss. But because the domain was registered with Squarespace, I couldn’t just switch providers and point the domain to the new service. And of course, there’s no easy way to get my data off Squarespace in a format I can use to create a presence on another service. Augh! I’d made the same mistake again.
Now things are on blot.im. I own the domain butzi.org, and I’ve got paul.butzi.org as the URL for this blog. And because of the dropbox posting model for blot.im, I’ve got a copy of everything, in a format I can actually use. If blot.im evaporates, or gives me the boot for some reason, I still own all the data and the domain and I can set up shop on another service.
All this is of minor importance for me. This is a hobby, not a business on which my income depends. But if it were my business, I’d be far more comfortable owning everything than having Squarespace have it all. And that’s especially true in an era of ‘cancel culture’ where service providers get pressured to drop any customers that provoke some spittle-flecked mob.
On the cancel culture front, I’m pretty comfortable with blot.im’s policy on censorship. I don’t have a goal of being provocative here. But I expect eventually I’ll post something that will offend someone. I would prefer the offended party not have the power to persuade my blog host to silence me, and instead have their only recourse be to engage in a dialog with me (or, I suppose, to ignore me).