The blog content portability debate needs to happen in public

I feel like caught in a crossfire. Let me first explain my own position:

As I have repeatedly blogged ('Is it worth switching from TypePad to WordPress?', 'If you were to start blogging today…', 'Hopes and fears of switching to WordPress'), in my opinion bloggers suffer from a lock-in to blog services which probably shouldn't be all that difficult to unlock.

I don't really understand why there doesn't seem to be an easy way to export, convert and import the contents of any blog between any of
the major blog platforms.

My blog runs on TypePad. If I so
wished, it should be dead simple for me to click "export" in the
TypePad interface, save an export file on my local hard disk, then
import it to a new or existing blog on Blogger or WordPress. And vice
versa.

Portability

It's like number portability between mobile operators.
Nowadays it's a snap to switch between operators while keeping your
phone number (at least in Finland and generally in Europe), the moment
a more attractive pricing plan comes along.

Not that any
operator volunteered. Number portability is something the competition
authorities have forced through. It's been good for competition. It's
been good for users. It's been good for new entrants to the market.
It's been good for those companies that offer the best price/quality.

So,
that's what I would like to happen to blog conversion. I'm not a geek
and it's been prohibitively intimidating to me to even start  trying to
convert my blog from TypePad to e.g. WordPress.

Now, someone
came along offering to "rescue" TypePad blogs. They're called
Foliovision and they are campaigning agressively, in a tone of voice
that is rather hostile to TypePad.

So, yesterday I read this article, 'Typepad Export Options: Congenial Lies from SixApart's Anil Dash',
on Foliovision's website. I don't like the tone and I can't judge if
everything in this article is true. But the topic certainly seems
relevant to me.

| (re-blogged!)

So I shared this piece through Google Reader as
I do with most of the stuff I read online and find interesting. My
shared reading is posted automatically onto a number of social media sites, including my account on Twitter.

By
reblogging stuff I read, I do not endorse its contents. Instead, I
merely intend to indicate: I've read this, I find it interesting and
worth keeping a trace of for future reference, and I'm sharing this as
part of the conversations I care to engage in.

Now, I totally understand that Anil Dash is upset because Foliovision's Alec Kinnear is calling him a liar. And yet, I was surprised to receive a direct message from Anil via Twitter, saying:

"I'd appreciate if you checked foliovision's lies with me before you reblogged it."

I was surprised that Anil wanted to tell me this off-public.
And by sending this message to me directly, I feel that he implies to
me that I should resolve this topic with him through a back channel.

So, it seems to me that my answer to Anil must be:

Anil,
I was only sharing what I had read and deemed relevant. I have no
reason to think that you are lying, nor do I endorse such notion.

However, the debate about the portability of blog content has to happen in the open because it concerns everybody.

I
invite you to explain what you mean by "Foliovision's lies". Did the
interview take place or not? In which way do you feel you are not
correctly represented? Which part(s) of the article is/are, in your
view, not true?

More to the point, does Foliovision's 20-step guide for TypePad to WordPress conversion
hold water? Or is there a considerably easier way? A way that would not
compell TypePad customers who'd like to "switch operators" to pay $350 for someone like Folivision to help them?

After all, the bigger issue is: how can we make blog conversion push-button simple?

(BTW, I just found DataPortability.org. Hopefully they are doing something about this problem as well…)

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