Granularity in Licensing

I woke up this morning think about the whole MT Pricing Issue. I was going to write down my thoughts somewhere and then I happened to find this.

Granularity is important. The price list has figures with two to four digits (including the one that some corporate users got to see). Six Apart chose to index the price on two variables: the number of authors and the number of weblogs. I think the present model is not granular enough, too steep for individuals (I’m already using four weblogs and two authors to run this web site because of MT’s present limitations!) and lacking clarity and flexibility for the high end corporate user. It could benefit from being clearly split in three: a limited but free version for individual/personal use, a flat-fee unlimited version under $70 for the personal use of power-users (like Jason Kottke suggests) and a granular price list for business users that should do a better job at explaining the options, notably in terms of support. - Francois

It seems to me that what all of this comes down to is that Six Apart is not eager to see anyone use Movable Type as a platform for launching their own weblog service. We saw this debate play out last year. I think the licensing changes were an attempt to address that. There is a ready solution available, but I think there are ways short of that to solve the problems.

Setup personal licenses two ways: one for individuals and one for individuals who wish to host sites for friends. Setup a license for non-profits and educational institutions. Setup a license for businesses. And finally, setup a license for businesses who wish to offer weblogs to their customers (and that is perfectly reasonable to do on a sliding scale).

I don't want to see Six Apart go the way of Eazel or ArsDigita, but I am definitely struck by the similarity of the situation. I don't know what the answer is, but Six Apart is in too competitive an industry to try to rely on their reputation for long.