The end of Yahoo’s contributor network reminds me of a difficult lesson I learned in my early days of mobile blogging. I had a tidy group of readers following me around, and I enjoyed conversing with them while in the act of adventuring. Sometimes that meant trading comments on a blog post in real-time. Yet, as soon as I discovered a site called Utterz (later Utterli), it meant trading audio and video as well. I began to use Utterz as a pass-through to the blog while on the go. It was easy to send audio, video, photographs, text or any combination thereof via my phone. Voila – it showed up on my blog.
The day came when, for whatever reason, Utterz went under. There wasn’t much warning, and no time to make a contingency plan. All those links to all those posts ceased to function. All that content I’d created was hosted elsewhere, and when elsewhere ceased to exist, so did the content.
For many content creators, the Yahoo Voices and Contributor networks served as both a publication springboard and a portfolio. I know well the pit-of-the-stomach dread at the prospect of losing it all. At least there was some advance warning, and I imagine now that a mad scramble is taking place to preserve what they can. After all, one’s portfolio validates one’s claims of expertise. Yes, I am too a writer/photographer/advice columnist/published journalist/tourism expert. See? It’s all here on Yahoo. Oh, wait…
There are several alternative sites where one can write for pay, and a couple that serve as portfolios as well. But if you want to control the fate of your content, you need to control the place where it lives. That means having your own blog, and backing it up – early and often. And I’m not talking about a free blog, either. Nothing is free, really – you won’t be in control unless you’re paying for your own space.
I never want to go through that again – the helpless feeling that someone flushed my work away, out of my control. To those who are frantically trying to meet the end of July Yahoo deadline – good luck on your mission. I feel for you