Not an April Fools joke.
Color me disappointed that just as I was getting really excited and lauding WP.com for things like full site block editing and templates, they go and sneak something as important as a change to their plans and pricing seemingly under the radar.
Yesterday, I was working on one of my free WP.com hosted blogs that is media-heavy. I’ve been keeping a very close eye on how much media I’ve been using as I clean up content there, knowing that free blogs have a max limit of 3 Gigs of storage space.
When I went to check it, I saw this:
I did a double take. 500 MB? Wait a second. I had 3 Gigs yesterday!
When I clicked the Upgrade link, that’s when I found this:
I was aghast. Not only did WP.com severely nerf the free plan in terms of storage and features, but it cut all of its plans and rolled them into one.
Now, for those with a higher-price business tier, this is good news. But for those of use who are on personal plans that are significantly cheaper than $15 a month, that’s a big jump in cost. That’s double what I pay!
Here’s what the plans look like on this blog, which does currently have a plan:
The worst part of this is that there was no warning and is still no public announcement of this change and how it effects current users. While it doesn’t look like there’s any sudden shifts for existing blogs, it’s still very concerning.
I had to take to Support forum threads to find any answers – as did a bunch of other people discovering it for the first time.
Support reps claim that (for now) the storage nerf only effects new free blogs – that seeing the 500 MB limit on existing blogs is a bug that will be fixed.
We recently have updated our plan offerings. At the moment, new free sites have a limit of 500 MB storage, while the Pro plan offers 50 GB. This presently does not affect free sites prior to the new plan updates.Support Rep
Emphasis above is mine. Every time they answer this, they add the words “presently” or “at the moment” which makes me really antsy for existing free blogs. Right now, you still have 3 Gigs. But when will that no longer exist?
They also tout over and over that:
Please stay tuned! In the near future we plan to make additional updates making our plans even more accessible.Support Rep
If there are more plans coming, why did they not release all of that information at once? I’m going to really, really hope that this was an oversight and that making plans “more accessible” means they’ll add a lower priced blogger tier.
Because most bloggers I know are not going to pony up $15 a month to run a single hobby blog they make little to no money from. You may as well use that to purchase a full hosting package somewhere else (I pay $11 for mine) where you can self-install multiple WP blogs if you want with NO upload limits but what the hosting package might include.
That’s exactly what I did for my one free WP.com blog. I exported it and am now in the long process of moving over all of the media. That’s going to take a while, but I was in the process of doing that anyhow, so it doesn’t really matter where it’s hosted in the end.
As for this blog, I’m on the fence about what I’ll need to do with it going forward. Will the price point I have be grandfathered in and respected in the future? I have no idea.
I can tell you that should it come to having to pay double what I pay right now, that’s not going to happen. Especially since I’ve seen a real cut in my poorly performing WordAds the last two months. I’ll move a self-hosted solution instead if I have to.
Not all of us who blog are businesses, and this move certainly does not cater to helping the smaller bloggers so far.
Still Thinking about Tumblr
I also find it interesting that this comes on the tail end of the $5 a month subscription that Tumblr is now offering (keep in mind WordPress owns Tumblr). And it’s also interesting, that Tumblr’s new editor yoinked the Gutenberg technology of block editing that WP has been using for quite a while.
Add to that the fact that with Tumblr, there are no foreseeable media limits – holy cow, I’m not sure how that would even go over there. I wonder if WP.com is going to use this to try to nudge off some of the free users to Tumblr as a blogging platform.
There’s no secret that Tumblr costs more to run than it makes and they desperately need it to grow in order to make it more profitable. Most serious bloggers don’t give Tumblr a second glance due to its reputation but… what if it becomes the more appealing free platform on down the line?
I dunno. I’m just tossing theories and thoughts.
WP.com confounded me with this. I just wish someone would post something officially so I know what camp to sit in.