September 10, 2003
Google Drops Fees For Blogger Pro Service

Apparently Google has decided that Blogger has other uses for them besides as a revenue stream: they’ve announced that they’re dropping the $35/year charge associated with the high-end version of the service, Blogger Pro, which offered additional features above and beyond the basic (and always free) Blogger service. Google’s explanation was that the fees had made sense while Pyra Labs, the company behind Blogger, was independent and struggling to stay afloat, but now that Blogger has Google’s resources behind it the need for the service to be self-financing is no longer so immediate. Users of the free version will begin to see Pro features showing up in their software soon; users who had already paid for the Pro version can claim a free Blogger sweatshirt (through October 1, so hurry if you want one).

What’s the motivation? I had no idea Google’s financial situation was so rosy that they could afford to turn away revenue streams. Perhaps they weren’t making much money off Blogger Pro to begin with. Another clue might lie in something CNet’s story quotes Pyra founder Ev Williams as saying:

Google believes blogs are important and good for the Web.

So, maybe there’s something about blogs that’s good for Google’s core business — something that makes the search engine more accurate, say — in which case it might make sense to eat the cost of subsidizing the Pro service if it encourages more people to start blogging.

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at September 10, 2003
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Ant's Eye View is edited by Jason Lefkowitz, a consultant and Web developer in Alexandria, Virginia. Got a question, comment, or concern? Let me hear it!

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