The past week has taught me a lot about hosted/free services. First, all of my private repositories on GitHub were locked due to a billing issue. I felt bad for them, they are a great service and have had a hard time lately with DDoS attacks and such. I made sure my credit card was valid and asked support to resubmit. Failed again. I tried repeatedly over the the next few weeks until I gave up, used another card, moved all my private repositories to my server, and downgraded to free.
Not only have I been having problems with GitHub, there seems to be a rash of services either having problems or simply shutting down. Posterous was acquired and will be shut down, Oink shut down their only service claiming they had to and plan on using my data for other projects (err wut?), and CopyCopter decided it wasn’t profitable and it’s closing. In CopyCopter’s defense, they are open sourcing the code, which is a good move.
Now I am wondering why do I pay for a service? I pay for a service to make my life easier. Yes, more often than not, I could build it myself. But I pay for someone else to handle all of the details for me so I can do other things. I can host my own Git repositories, I can build my own blog platform, I can post what I like and where I got it, and I can write a service to update content in real time. That covers all of the services that I mentioned. I don’t need to pay for any of those services.
A bubble is getting ready to pop. People are going to start getting real gun shy about what is a legitimate service and what is a temporary hobby for someone. If you’re building an app, and you plan on selling it, either monthly or a one time fee, you had better be in it for the long haul. Don’t provide something and just close it down because it’s not working for you. Your customers/users are counting on you to provide what you promised.
I know I will never pay/participate in a Kevin Rose service again. That was a coward move. It’s a good thing he joined Google because he hurt his reputation a ton.
This is just the beginning. Other services will follow suit. I mean why not. It worked for insert app name here. They just shut it down when it became difficult. I am currently reviewing every service I pay for and dropping them before they drop me.
While I’m on a bit of a rant. Imagine this: You pay Heroku and use some service for your app. Said service decides that they no longer are producing enough profit and want to work on other projects and discontinue the service. You’re in quite a pinch if that is part of your business. Find a replacement , build it yourself, or remove the feature. iit could happen and is starting to seem very realistic.