- Neil Gaiman on Blogger
I recently heard from one LiveJournal user that they were considering switching their account to Blogger, thinking that things would be better and more stable there. I could let Neil Gaiman make the case for me, as he has posted no less than six times in the last four months about how badly Blogger works. (He must be pretty pissed at his publisher right about now...) but I figured I would write something up to let them know exactly why LiveJournal is more stable and better suited for growth than Blogger ever will be.
In the past few months, LiveJournal has implemented numerous new features and has run into several issues regarding the applications that we run LiveJournal on. Often, these were issues with the software we were using that have since been fixed... because the software we are running on is Open Source, we have been able to really "look under the hood" and fix them all. From what I have heard from Brad and Dormando, the last known site-crashing issue has been resolved. That means that software-wise, we are probably less likely to have crashes than Blogger, especially considering that Blogger does not have a fulltime person working on site stability or scalability. Recently, Blogger users were unable to use the service for several days in a row while the founder was out of town, infact.
It's worth pointing out that Blogger has just two servers, while we have many times that number. This gives us greater redundancy than Blogger. It also allows us to compartmentalize our site more than Blogger. If a particular feature fails with us, it will be more likely not to take down the entire site.
LiveJournal not only has features that Blogger doesn't have, we have features they literally cannot afford to have. While we have made huge changes in LiveJournal over the past year, Blogger hasn't significantly updated their code or their features in a long, long time, despite numerous requests by their users to provide additional features and functionality. In order to expand their functionality to be comparable to ours, Blogger would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on their infrastructure, and they would have to introduce a slew of new code, meaning that far more could go wrong. This would almost inevitably lead to system crashes and slowdowns. Frankly, they already have enough crashes and slowdowns.
From a strictly business perspective, Blogger has no compelling reason to add new features for their users, as it would only cost them money to support that they don't have. Blogger is more concerned, frankly, about finding business customers to keep them afloat. Even if they did find additional business partners, however, they only have one trained developer to provide solutions to these customers. Blogger is in a deep, deep hole and there is no evidence that they will ever get out of it. It doesn't help them that we have the same kind of product that they would like to sell to businesses, but that we are giving it away for free. How do you compete against free? Netscape sure couldn't. Blogger, essentially, is running on autopilot. Assuming everything works, the servers don't max out, their infrastructure doesn't have to grow and expand, and people don't need support for any reason, they're fine... Which means they are anything but fine.
The only current feature advantage that Blogger has over LiveJournal will be negated in the next few months, when LiveJournal releases MyLJ, a version of LiveJournal that you can use to host your journal on any server anywhere, and S2, the next generation style system for LiveJournal. We will actually leapfrog ahead of Blogger with these two features. There's also one other feature coming up that Brad is working on... it's top secret, ultra sexy, and you will all love it! It may just be of more far-reaching importance than practically any other feature we've created. Suffice it to say that LiveJournal is the fastest growing push-button publishing software out there and has a revenue model that actually encourages us make LiveJournal better for you.
If you want to tread water, try Blogger... if you want to see what the future holds, stay tuned... it's on its way!