If you haven’t heard, WordPress now has a new set of plans for us bloggers. HERE is the actual wordpress page, which is so much propaganda. Think 1984 and getting a raise of your chocolate ration, up to 8oz (when the reality is that yesterday you got 12oz). The upshot is that there are now only 2 types of plans going forward. A free ad supported plan and a Pro plan which will cost you $180 a year. THAT IS IT.
Before this, WP had 5 levels of plans. A free plan with 3gb of space, a personal plan with 6gb of space for $48 a year, a premium plan with 13gb of space for $96 or a business plan with 200gb of space and a lot of bells and whistles for $300 and then an Ecommerce version which is basically a fully loaded store for about $550.
For the big players, this new change to Free or Pro probably won’t be a big deal. But for the free, personal and premium members, this is rape, plain and simple. I tried the personal plan last year with a domain (bookstooge.com) and it went so badly that I quit after 6 months and went back to free. However, the ads and inserted posts by WP were getting so intrusive that in January of this year I signed up for the personal plan again, but without the domain (so I stayed at bookstooge.wordpress.com). It was mainly to get the extra space and to get rid of the ads.
When I heard about this plan change, I sent off an email to WordPress’s Infamous (un)Happy Engineers. I asked what would happen to my site when the personal plan expires. I’ve quoted the pertinent part of the email.
When your Personal Plan expires, your site will switch to a free plan with free features.
1). The storage space will be 3GB instead of 6GB. 2). No ability to upload audio files. 3). No ability to add payment buttons. 4). No ability to offer premium content. 5). bookstooge.wordpress.com will be your site’s address.
All the features of a Personal Plan will stop working.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any doubts.
So, once I reach 3gb, I either cough up $180, EVERY YEAR, for a casual hobby, or I end my time at WordPress.com. Also to take notice of, the Pro plan is annual only. You can’t pay on a monthly basis.
I called it “rape” in the paragraph above, but really, it is extortion if you have the personal or premium plan. If you’ve been on the Premium plan for years and have used up 10gb of space, what happens to you when your premium plan runs out this year? You either pay through the nose or you lose. I have reached out to WordPress asking what happens if I have more in my media library than I have space for. I don’t have an answer yet but I will find out.
Another thing to note is just how badly WP botched this rollout. Many long time users woke up Friday morning with a notice that they now only had 0.5bg of space (that’s the new limit for new users who join up after today. Us old guard still get the 3gb). WP forum staff admitted this wasn’t correct, that it was a bug and that “other people” were working on getting this fixed. What kind of idiot coder affect long time users?
If you are an existing free user who isn’t near the 3gb limit, this change by WP won’t affect you at all. But it does affect all their paying users, which is what boggles my mind. I know I am not going to be upgrading to PRO when my plan runs out. If my media library gets close to the 3gb limit and I can’t cheaply upgrade, I’ll just leave. Whether that means to another platform, to a self-hosted site (oh dear lord, I hope not. That’s a lot of work and a lot of nightmares and nothing working right, at least from what I’ve seen of other amateurs like myself) or just in general, I don’t know.
I’m going to be spending the rest of the year looking into alternatives to WordPress. Even if I stick around, WordPress has just shown me that they are predatory pimps who will shank me with no warning if they want an extra $150 out of my pockets. There is no guarantee they won’t do something like this again. In fact, this move pretty much makes it certain they WILL do something like this again in the future.
I’m done ranting.
UPDATE 1000 (GMT-5)
I received the following email response from WP about midnight:
If a site uses more than 3GB of storage space and switches to a free plan, some of its content, including photos, will be removed because it does not have enough space.
WordPress.com has changed its plans recently. I understand your concern. But you can keep using your Personal Plan as it is. The price will remain the same for existing plans.
ps, just so this isn’t a completely hate filled post, here are 2 solutions for storage space, one of my own posts and another I found while searching for space solutions. I hope they can be helpful to you.
In fact, WordPress.com (not org mind, but those guys have huge problems of their own) is probably going to shut down tomorrow and the internet as we know it is going to go kaput! I suggest a brisk regimen of running in circles, waving your arms wildly and screaming as loudly as you can. It won’t stop WordPress from going out of business but it will prepare you just in case any assassin dinosaurs jump out of black helicopters while attempting to kill you. Always be prepared is my motto.
In a less serious vein though, has anybody else noticed that their feed and general interaction have been down this summer? I thought it was just me and wasn’t sure that it was accurate, but both Jeroen and Wakizashi mentioned it earlier this week in my comment sections so at least I know I’m not alone in my paranoid delusions!
I’ve included a snapshot of my “Monthly” stats from the last 2.5 years. Why 2.5 years you ask? Because that’s what WordPress gives me and you. You can see a big drop off in May of this year. Right at the beginning of summer. Now while the stats show things improving in later months, that is only because I started posting 6-7 days a week in July in stead of the 4-5 like I had been previously. (thank goodness for google calendar. a nice visual reminder of what’s getting posted when). So what I think that means is that my core group of followers picked up the slack from all the casuals who seem to have disappeared.
Anecdotally, I’ve had more than a handful of people I follow announce they’re going on hiatus, whether for a week, a month or to be determined. I’ve also had more than a handful of people, who used to post 4-6 times a month cut back to 1 or 2 times a month. And I’ve stopped following almost 10 people over the summer who stopped posting even once a month (that’s my determining factor by the way. If someone stops blogging for a month without notice, I’ll stop following that person). So those data points, backed up by Jeroen and Wak’s observations, lead me to the conclusion that bloggers in general are either getting burned out or the casual blogger is just stopping. It makes me wonder how much the Block Editor has to do with this.
I’ve written several times (Peeved) (Beaten) (and Others) about the forsaken editor and have nothing good to say about it. While I am now completely used to it and use it without a second thought, it never fails me to remind me that it was not created to write casually, like you know, for a blogger. How many casual bloggers got sick of trying to use the block editor and have just given up? That would definitely feed into the downturn I, and others, are seeing.
At the same time, there seems to be more stress and pressure in the world (whether there actually is or not, it all depends on how much you believe the mainstream media) and when people are stressed, they burn out easier on hard hobbies. And blogging is a hard hobby. Covid, and peoples’ fear of covid, has changed things drastically and when you are on the edge, you retreat from anything that takes effort. And blogging takes effort. Sometimes just following people takes effort and you can forget about writing posts.
I’ve mentioned to others that I’m going to have to change my blogging habits in ’22. I don’t plan on taking a hiatus or quitting, but I’ve got to reformulate my schedule because writing 15-20 reviews a month is exhausting, even with my “reviews” usually being under 600 words 😉 But part of that reformulation is figuring out what is going on with others and to see if it is going on with me. Once I know, I can deal with whatever it is much more effectively.
I’m writing this in hopes of getting some more input from anyone who reads this. Has your blogging changed or have you seen a change in those who follow you? Hit me with all the gory details, because “I’m Listening”.
When I’ve posted about the fact that I am Working on the Blog, I didn’t think of some of the smaller reasons that have recently come to my attention. The following is one of the unexpected benefits of doing this fiddly kind of work.
I keep my reviews in a program on my computer called Calibre. It’s an ebook manager but has the capability of being a database for reviews. Instead of just using a spreadsheet, I use calibre so I can include covers, etc. Anyway, today I woke up rather early and decided to get another month from 2007 out of the way, so I began creating reviews. When I do this, I also double check what is on my blog against what I have in my calibre database just to make sure I’ve got the complete picture. 99% of the time they agree. It’s that bleeding 1% you have to worry about 😉
Sure enough, today was a 1%’er of a time. I was putting up the review for Down the Long Hills by Louis L’Amour and was copy/pasting my review and when I checked in calibre, my review there stated “no original review, here’s a blurb”. My guess is that I had a record of reading the book from my time at Devilreads but that the review got lost in the transition to Booklikes and when I tried to search my blog for Down the Long Hills, since it was in a monthly post and not it’s own, it didn’t show up. You wouldn’t believe how many books I’ve read, that are in my monthly posts, that won’t come up in a search. It is one of the reason I’m doing this. This time I was able to update my calibre library with an actual snippet. That is always a good thing.
All of this to pretty much say that today’s been a good day so far and it’s only 5am. It’s either going to turn out to be a great day or a really baaaaad day 😀
2018 was a very different year from 2017. Here’s my 2017 in Review post.
Annual Blog Stats:
Total Posts – 248’ish
Total Views – 20K
Followers – 360+/- [fluctuation due to spam accounts getting deleted by WP]
Books Read – 172
Pages Read – 59,371
Average Rating – 3.31
As you can see, the majority of what I read is in the 3-4 star rating range. I explain my rating system Here.
Almost 27% of my books were re-reads and STILL my average is under 3.5. To put things in perspective though, anything over 3.1 is a good year for me. I just feel like grumping about something!
2018 was a year of digging into blogging at wordpress and realizing that the ebb and flow of people I follow and the people who follow me, is normal. I’ve fully instituted my “I don’t follow someone who doesn’t post at least once a month” rule for new potentials and unless someone I follow lets their followers know they’re going to be gone, the same applies to people I already follow. I’ve probably stopped following quite a few sporadic bloggers this year, which has made my feed and interactions with others a bit more stable. It is also nice when people I do follow DO let their followers know that Life is getting in the way and they won’t be around for a bit. What has saddened me though is watching people disappear. While it is completely understandable, it has been a bit tough to see Life, Health or Interest make people just go “poof”. But I’m realizing this is normal and I’m hoping that in 2019 I’ll be a little more inured to such things. I hope so anyway because it is a really sucky feeling to see someone “take a health break” and then never come back.
Ok, enough of THAT!
WordPress is now completely my blogging home. Anything I feel like writing, it roosts here. From the good to the bad, from the happy to the sorrowful, it gets written and posted here.
My post count was almost 100 posts lower than in ’17 but since I wrote a post almost every day that year, I’m not surprised. I can’t keep that level of creativity going. It also came down to me starting to schedule my reviews 2-3 weeks in advance. It has made my review writing much more disciplined but that very same discipline has impacted my writing on the spur of the moment, which is when a lot of non-review posts get written.
On a daily basis that lack of creativity did affect my numbers (ie, views, visits, likes, comments) but on the annual side of things, my numbers are stronger than in ’17. So with less posts I’ve gotten more. I think part of it is that not writing everyday gives people a chance to actually read what I post. If you’re only a weekly blogger and then visit me, 4 posts is a lot more handle-able (my goodness, that’s not even a real word!) than 7 or 8. Whatever the reason, 2018 was a good year for all my numbers and I’m very satisfied with them.
Speaking of satisfaction… (Sing it!)
I feel like I have settled into a good routine. I’m following people who are constant posters. My reading and reviewing schedule has fallen right into line with my whole reading rotation. My followers go up and down, but that is an aspect of what I alluded to in the opening paragraph. It does mean that I am always on the lookout for a new blogger to follow every 4-5 months, which is good for me so I don’t completely get set in my ways.
Overall, 2018 was everything I wanted from a free book blog. I reviewed, I ranted, I had fun. I also updated my little avatar,
I’m obviously moving up in the world!
Blogger is now my backup blog for just my reviews. I started out ’18 trying to mirror some non-review posts but gave it up pretty quickly. It’s a good blog if you like my reviews but don’t like anything else I write. It’s just as disorganized as my wordpress blog but I’m not trying to retro-actively clean it up. I also don’t like how the comment notification works so I’m not really incentivized to make it work.
Had a bit of a dustup in a group because I talked about killing communists & hippies in one of my reviews, so Librarything has pretty much reverted to being the place where I keep track of what I’m currently reading and where I get info and cover data from. I put my reviews there as well, but since there isn’t much of a social thing outside of groups, I’m not very active there. Me and groups, we just don’t get along, sigh.
Best Book of the Year:
Ok, I have to admit, I am beyond stingy when it comes to this particular tag. I am also super miserly with 5star ratings. I only had two instances of this tag and only 9 5star reads. Only 3 of ANY of those was a new to me book. Books these days, they’re just not what they used to be…*sigh*
This category is a little easier for me to write about, as I did read some atrocious books this year. The book that takes this category however, gets this “honor” because while it probably wasn’t actually the most un-enjoyable book I read, the interactions with its author went downhill very quickly; let me tell you, some severe comment deletion went on. That reaffirmed my faith in not thinking of Writers as People. Most people are jackasses. Most writers, surprisingly, are people. Which means that most writers are jackasses. Goodness, don’t you just love Logic?
Ok, now that I’m done being all clever, here’s the loser.
Sandworms of Dune almost beat it, but at least the authors didn’t whine at me and expect me to be their personal editor.
Plans for 2019
Not much. Last year, I was brimming with ideas. Then Life happened and stuff. This year, all I really want is to get my blog fully organized. I’m closing in on getting all my recent reviews fully tagged and categorized (recent being 2013 to Present). Once that gets done, then the BIG job of going backwards in time can begin. 2012 back to 2000. But I’m being super casual and laid back about it, so it’ll happen when it happens.
I did have a goal of breaking the 100 view mark for a post for 2018 and not only did that happen, it happened 10 times. Now, quite a few more posts have also passed the 100 view mark, but they are older posts that either I reference or get picked up in a google search. I’d be happy with the same results for 2019.
Actually, I JUST thought of a goal while writing this post. I’ve mentioned before that I think that the world NEEDS a World Book Czar and that I think I’m pretty qualified. So 2019 is the year I get serious about running for office. And by running for office I mean getting rid of all of the competition so you all have a choice of One. Me. I look forward to discussing the issues with my fellow candidates!
Where to even start? I guess church stuff. January and February were pretty bad and led to us leaving the church that we’d been attending for a decade and begin looking for another. While we have found another, you don’t make changes like that without upheaval and inner consequences. We’ll see how we do in ’19.
Health has been all over the place for both of us. Between a hospital stay for Mrs B and several crohn’s related incidents and my diabetes and then gastroenteritis and flu at the end of the year, we became pretty well acquainted with our hospital bills.
I’ve been working by myself at work since July and it is wearing me out. Things need to change by Spring or I’ll have to make some changes myself. I’m just not thinking about that to be honest.
I did finish up my Bookstooge in 100 Books and pinned it to the side of my blog. That was a lot of fun to write and think about. I should probably also go over my About page and see if anything needs updating. Thankfully, both of those posts tend to be rather static and a once a year check is good enough.
This year I did get into Magic the Gatheringa bit more. Probably played a little less, but have started on constructing my own Commander decks, which takes a lot of time, thought, creativity and if one is so inclined, money. I am also dabbling with the idea of getting into the digital version of MTG, called Arena. We’ll see, as me and computer games just don’t really click that well.
I would categorize 2018 as a tough year but Mrs B and me are still doing ok, praise God.
Here are the top 5 viewed posts in each of the various categories.
I live for comments, so I am glad that WordPress gives me this kind of info. I’d also like to thank everyone (well, except for that writer who got butt hurt that I did exactly what he asked me to, ie, write an honest review of his book) who commented this year. Written interactions on my blog make it so much more fun.
I’ve had more visitors and more comments than last year, so I’m hoping to keep that trend going. I’ve had some wonderful new followers this year who seem to like commenting as much as I do and I’m thankful for that. With almost 5,800 comments this year (to be honest half of them are me), that feeds my soul like you wouldn’t believe.
Who knows, maybe next’s years list of commentors will be completely different people. Come on, you know you want to edge Lashaan out of the top spot!
Once again, my movie list is less than 10, so a top 5 would pretty much include them all. Here’s the Top 2, just like last year.
It’s not so much that I don’t watch ANY movies, but I just don’t review them. It doesn’t come nearly as easy as the book reviews. As much as I’d like to say there will be more movie reviews in 2019, we all know I’d be lying. So folks, there will be MORE movie reviews in 2019 😀
Ok, while this post is shorter than last years Review, it’s still monstrously long by my standards (anything over 1K is monstrous in my opinion). I look forward to reading all of your various yearly posts, if you’re so inclined that way, and I hope to see you around in 2019. Unless you’re a communist, because then I will shoot you.
Ok, first off, this post is a prime example of why I should never do anything even semi-serious after 9pm. I am not on top of my game and make mistakes.
So, it WAS me. Using one of the least used bookstooge email addresses that I have on hand. I have NO idea why I created the profile or how I forgot about it. I had to reset my password but then I could login and I have deleted the account, hence the “no longer available” that some of you reported. Thanks for checking!
I feel so stupid and embarrassed. Also, if I’m ever insufferably arrogant to you at some point, please point to this article to remind me about humble pie.
I am not on Facebook, in real life or with the Bookstooge monniker. However, I just found that “Bookstooge Booker” is on Facebook, with the exact same avatar as me in all my various Bookstooge haunts. I did have a FB group when I was copying my reviews but I deleted all content and deleted the group when I left.
And I am not from California. I am debating whether to join up with Facebook and check this freak out. The next step would be to report them. But how do you report an online identity that isn’t your real life identity?
As if life isn’t complicated enough, sigh. And it’s Friday…
I am most social on WordPress, with non-review posts, etc. Librarything is for cataloguing and I am a member of the Green Dragon where I have a thread devoted to all things Bookstooge. Blogger is more of just a list of all books read and reviewed; without a “like” button I don’t spend much time there.
If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to have a backup site for all your reviews. Because you never know when….[you fill in the blank]
I’ve been putting this off for months, as things looked like they might turn around in January, but it has become evident that it is the same old, same old. Time to cut the cord. It is midnight now, I’m tired and had a run in with someone over there about politics, which all contributed to this (perceived) abrupt leaving. But I’ve been saying I’m going to leave for months and just haven’t. So today is the day, now is the time.
Shouldn’t see much of a change at all here at WordPress. Bookstooge out.