Blogger bucks premium-services trend

The Google-owned Web log-creation site is eliminating its paid version and folding premium functions into its free service, bucking a trend toward making people pay for Web site extras.

Google-owned Web log-creation site Blogger is eliminating its paid version and folding premium functions into its free service, bucking a trend toward making people pay for Web site extras.

The creation of Blogger Pro, which cost subscribers a yearly fee of $35, came about as a result of financial necessity, Blogger co-founder Evan Williams wrote in an e-mail to subscribers. Now that Google owns the service , that need has passed.

"Pro subscribers helped keep us going as a struggling start-up, when servers and bandwidth were at an extreme premium," Williams wrote. "We wanted to keep basic Blogger free, but we needed to start charging in order to keep the lights on?Today, as you may know, Blogger's situation is much different. For one thing, we're part of Google. Google has lots of computers and bandwidth. And Google believes blogs are important and good for the Web."

Google said it would give Blogger Pro subscribers either a $24 Blogger sweatshirt or a prorated cash refund. That offer is good through Oct. 1.

A Google representative said the formerly paid services will be rolled out in the free version in the next few days, but that syndication and posting by e-mail will take longer to offer.

Those who paid for Blogger Pro will continue to be able to use those services without interruption.

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    Paul Festa
    covers browser development and Web standards.
     

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