This is really obnoxious, TypePad

Oh, hey, look! It's time for another ranty rant about the Internet. I swear to FSM, I've become Grandpa Simpson.

When TypePad was bought by an advertising company, we all knew the clock was ticking, and it would eventually be time to start looking for an alternative. To be honest, I'm surprised (happily) that it took this long.

Earlier today, I started composing a new post, only to see this on my composing screen:

Screen Shot 2012-06-04 at 10.53.50 AM
Little nuclear bombs went off in my eyes, and I wrote the following on Tumblr:

This is REALLY fucking obnoxious, Typepad.

Presenting this “easy way to embed relevant links” into a blog post may be worthwhile to some people, but not letting those of us who don’t care completely ignore the stupid thing and then putting precisely the kind of advertising we hate into it is worthy of me collating paper.

It’s bad enough that you won’t let me collapse this stupid window by default, but shoving promoted bullshit advertising into my fucking composition window on my own fucking blog when I am paying to use your service is totally unacceptable.

Small but important note: I use disconnect in my browser, so I suspect that it preventing TypePad from saving my preference to keep this stupid goddamn window closed. So that's on me. The argument about why we need to even use disconnect is its own thing, so I'll stay away from that, but it's relevant, nevertheless.

This is part of a pattern that I find exceptionally disturbing, and it's probably why I get all ranty when it happens: a company or product I love is bought by a company that I hate, and the thing I love is changed in subtle and unsubtle ways until it's just another example of why I hated that company to begin with. I'm always happy for developers to cash in and profit from that amazing thing they made that I loved, but I wish there was a way for them to do it without guaranteeing that that thing I loved will be trashed.

I really, really, really hate the entire concept of "promoted" anything — Tweets, posts, links, whatever — because it's advertising that tries to pretend that it isn't. At least on other services, I can accept it (they're free, after all, and everyone has to pay the bills) but when I'm paying a subscription fee to a service and this bullshit still shows up? HULK SMASH. 

I was a Movable Type user way back before TypePad even existed [HIPSTER KITTY], and a Grey Matter user before that. I love TypePad, and it's been a fantastic platform and service for me since I hosed my database at WWdN. In fact, it's been so easy to use and so stable, I haven't had much incentive to collect all of my things here in Exile and move them back to WWdN…

…until today. I guess it's finally time to leave Exile and go home. It will take a couple of weeks to get it all set up, but to be honest, it's something I should have done a long time ago.

33 thoughts on “This is really obnoxious, TypePad”

  1. I’ve got to say I’ve been eagerly awaiting the time when WWdN would come out of exile. I really loved your posts on running a unix/linux box when you are technically competent, but not sysadmin professionally.
    I switched myself to Ubuntu a couple months back, and I’m not switching back without some major change in the world.

  2. Really looking forward to your return from Exile. WWDN is still in my bookmarks list(since ~2003..I think) and is still the first link my browser suggests when I type ‘Wil W’ into the address bar :-)

  3. I’ve been ignoring the recommended links box, but have you noticed that you can’t post from an iPad to Typepad without using a third party app now?
    I sent in a help ticket and they offered to refund me the price of the app, which isn’t really what I wanted – I just want my blog platform to work like it did three weeks ago, damn it!

  4. I guess TypePad didn’t follow the Wheaton Maxim (found at the top of the WWdN In Exile blog), and will now have to bid adieu to one of their coolest bloggers. Their loss.

  5. Hey, Wil – I’m the Typepad GM here at SAY. Really sorry that you don’t find the Zemanta-powered Recommended Links feature useful and were surprised by it. We’ve tried to keep the community informed, starting off with the Beta announcement: http://everything.typepad.com/blog/2012/04/integrating-zemanta-into-your-compose-experience.html.
    After a month of testing and ramp up we’re seeing good usage of the feature across the network. Bloggers are using it to link to their own posts, as well as to good references for their readers. And yes, there are sponsored links, as well, which enables Zemanta to run the service. I don’t think that the sponsored links are pretending not to be advertising… in fact they are pretty prominently labeled as “Promoted.” We understand that Recommended Links isn’t for everyone which is why it’s built to be minimized. That works for most users. We’ll continue to monitor usage and feedback closely so we can evolve the feature.
    We’re trying to deliver a better Typepad without charging more. In fact, we’re looking at how give away as much functionality as we can while still being able to invest in the product. I’ll drop you an email. If you’d like to discuss, I’m happy to do so!

  6. I think you missed the point about “promoted.” By using the word “promoted” instead of “advertising,” you’re trying to make it seem like it’s not advertising. You see, “promoted” could mean lots of things besides “they paid us to put them high on the list.” Sure, the folks that read your beta announcements know that you’re using that particular form of newspeak, but that’s certainly not everyone.

  7. About time, dude. I began reading WWDN in September, 2002, and I’ve been (im)patiently waiting for you to resurrect it.

  8. Fair enough, Corey. We’ll talk to Zemanta about language and making sure folks know what’s included “naturally” and what’s been paid for. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  9. Two comments: First, Jeff Reine — well done crisis management / customer service. (Seriously, non-sarcastically).
    Second, If you’re going to deal with hosting it yourself again, and migration, I don’t think there’s any reason not to go with WordPress.

  10. Wil, this is completely off topic. Since there are so few comments posted I am sure you will see this. Mr. Tololo has passed. For those of us who might have missed it, would you repost your Paul and Storm interpretation?
    And Jeff… I really wish more GMs would monitor what their minions do in the name of their company. I don’t use your services but if I were in the market for them, your interaction here on this topic would be a HUGE factor in going with this company. Too many people in your shoes just coast and let someone else do the baby sitting while the band is playing on the deck of a sinking ship.

  11. While I certainly appreciate your distaste of advertisements and promoted entries/tweets, etc., I remember a few months ago you were doing that silly Heineken promoted tweets thing. I found it distasteful then, too, but it made your distaste seem a little less genuine.

  12. One word, Wil: WordPress. I run four blogs (yeah, I know) on WordPress without any issues. Great support community, supports multiple levels of geekness (you can know anything from nothing to HTML, CSS, and PHP and still have a successful blog), lots of themes available. If you have ads, you’re the one controlling where and when they appear and you’re the one making the money. I make enough to cover my hosting fees, and my audience is probably 0.00001% of yours. Just one example of what can be done: http://blog.kjodle.net
    If you want help getting up and running with WP, let me know.

  13. Get off my Internet!
    Well, just over 15 years ago I told my friends making the Internet public was a bad idea and it was all going down hill. It wasn’t going to be the mindless ramblings of the public, get that IRL, but the corporate interests that could corrupt it. Ads everywhere, content control, etc.
    This is why I host my own site.

  14. Jeff, I'm really glad that you're taking the time to weigh in and comment. I appreciate it very much that you've come here to talk to people directly, instead of sending a PR flack to do spin or damage control.

  15. Woah! 2006, has it been that long…?
    Oh, forgot this in last post.
    This post brought to you my the letter “I” and the number “3″.

  16. I feel much the same way about “promoted” links. I find them very intrusive and they are never of any interest to me. to make matters worse, the advertisements are rarely relevant to my interests.
    I like taking a minimalist approach to my online activities. For example, I avoid subscribing to particularly chatty people on Twitter because of the frequency of their tweets. I don’t mind that people post a lot, of course, but I appreciate having the choice on whether or not I want to see that. I wish I had the same option for the promoted links.
    Opt-out is the best thing ever. How I would love the option to opt-out of advertising features…
    That said, with some of the sites I frequent, I realize that as free services I don’t have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to complaining. So I generally don’t, and I’ve resolved that should the advertisements become too much, I’ll simply stop using the service in question. No one’s forcing me to use it, and I’m not about to “call the banners” over something like that. But that’s me and my situation, of course.
    I don’t envy you for your position. I can’t imagine the work that would be involved in migrating your blog back out of exile. For you, it’s not so simple as not using a service; there may be the issue of archiving the posts here, not to mention getting the new blog set up for use…>_< Fun stuff. Good luck with whatever you choose to do, Wil. And, as always, thank you for the wonderful posts. You are an inspiration.

  17. Thanks, Wil. The truth is that Typepad is a small business that lives inside a bigger one. We care a lot about our bloggers’ experience and success and are trying to chart a course for all of us to succeed. Holler at me if you want to talk more. Kinda like you here in ‘exile’…

  18. I was looking at WIL WHEATON dot NET: Version 1.5. Geez, who is the young kid who has his picture on the front page? Getting old sucks.
    BTW, where I think it would be cool if you got the old site up and running, just remember you will be handling all the admin stuff. Hackers, DOS attacks, patches, crashes, DNS, SLL certs, etc. I used to do stuff like this in years past and it was getting to be a lot for one person when I got out of that field.
    I guess I am saying be prepared to switch one set of headaches for another set of headaches. Either way, I will be there to see what the alpha geek has to say.

  19. Oh, when I get my time machine perfected, that's totally happening. I've already designed the animated GIF for my webring.

  20. I agree with the WordPress vote. It put me off even more trying to log in using another account (well I’m not going to bother signing up am I?) and it wouldn’t accept my facebook. It does offer a lot of other log in options though.
    Anyway, so I’ve been using wordpress for a while now. It lets you import from other blogs easily. I’ve had blogs under livejournal, Blogger, Blogspot, MSN spaces, I have an anonymous tumblr and entries on networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo.
    Over the last ten years, WordPress has become my favourite. It’s highly versatile and customisable. It has a great spam filter widget thingy which catches most of the crap, although one or two do get through, but not too often.
    Highly recommended by me.

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