If Nobody Owns the Software, Who Owns the Problems?

While Chris Anderson may argue the value of Free, for a mission critical corporate web site, in our experience one gets what one pays for – software with limited functionality, limited features, and persistent, unaddressed glitches.

Worse, as Mary Miller explains in this video, when the software is unowned by a development company, who owns problems that occur for end users?  With sites created using free software, users are "free" to find their own solutions.

Website content management system iCMS is not free.  As a hosted content management system, that means iCMS is full-featured and fully supported.  That means iCMS users are fully supported, too.

You're invited to connect with iCMS on Facebook and iCMS on YouTube and to read more about iCMS on Handshake 2.0

iCMS is a product of IDD, Inc., a full-service IT firm.  IDD, Inc. is a client of Handshake Media, Inc., the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

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  1. I am not sure that Chris Anderson would argue for free in this instance. The whole point of his book is that as bandwidth, processor power, and storage become cheaper and faster the marginal cost of each sale goes to zero. This would work in the cases of ebooks, software that you download, and in a few rare cases even physical products.

    For example it costs the WordPress team (or the iCMS team if they offered downloads) almost no more to let me download the latest build than it does to let anyone else download it.

    The service provided with iCMS would be the exact example of the work that does not fit the ‘Free’ economy Anderson is predicting.

    That being said I also am a fan of ‘free’ solutions. And there are many ways you can pay for similar service around a system like WordPress where the company will host and maintain it. Fixing any issues you run into. You also get the advantage of the thousands of people in the community around these ‘free’ solutions to bring enhanced flexibility and power at little to no cost, simply for the love of the community.

    So while I agree that if you simply stick with the free aspect you get what you pay for (i.e. you are on your own). If you choose a premium service provider there is a huge benefit to open source that I think iCMS would be hard pressed to emulate.

    I just wanted to make sure the fact that there are companies like IDD that chose to adopt WordPress or Drupal as their system rather than a proprietary one are also discussed as an option.

    Note: I have not yet used iCMS and I personally use WordPress for all of my sites

  2. I disagree on most counts – I especially don’t believe that a proprietary content management system is ever a good choice — but instead of stuffing my thoughts into a comment box, I shared them here:


    Note that my criticism is directed at specific products and offers, and never to individual people. Attacking nice people isn’t my kind of thing.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Allen and Joseph.

    Handshake 2.0 is a blog and when a post is by me, it’s my opinion and my view. Our Social Media Authenticity Policy elaborates:

    The NCTC Fall Gala featured a great display of the history of technology – a line of tables beginning with a museum-quality Marconi radio transmission system and ending with an Altair. Attendees enjoyed reminiscing about their first computers. Ours was an IBM 286 purchased in the late 80s running MS-DOS. I typed my first text document with WordStar. In 20 years, I’ve used a lot of software.

    I am a company founder, not a software developer, whether of WordPress, TypePad, or iCMS. Whether I go with a paid solution or a free one, whether I use open source or proprietary software, my online corporate presence is dependent upon software, developers, and technical support. Dependence puts my company at risk. I have to choose solutions that decrease risk to increase the chances of the survival, then the growth, of my company.

    Since I do not know the objective truth, I can only choose based on my knowledge and experience. In my experience, when I have made my company dependent on individual providers rather than vendor companies, on freeware rather than proprietary software, I have increased risk, not decreased it. I am open to new and other experiences. The computer I would use for these introductory experiences, based on my experience, would not be connected to my corporate network.

    I also think one of the challenges in our communication is in defining “content management system.” WordPress and TypePad, as examples of site and blog software, are content creation systems, not content management systems. An enterprise-level corporate site with multiple content creators with varying levels of permission to create, edit and publish, that includes internal project management features, etc., requires a complex software system beyond content creation.

    We’re writing a narrative about our client iCMS in this category on Handshake 2.0:

    Earlier posts address some of your questions, as will future posts. Thank you again for your thoughtful commentary.

  4. Thanks for replying Anne. I have been reading the past posts and will continue to follow.

    I am not as familiar with TypePad, I have only used it for my post here. WordPress, Drupal and other platforms do offer varying permissions by default and through modification that can be done by an in house developer. As evidenced by the New York Times and other respectable publishers that use WordPress.

    I appreciate your personal thoughts and we all have our experiences. My experience while shorter is completely different. I have talked to people using other systems (some free and some proprietary) and they comment on a regular basis about how they have to have their developer do this or that to simply fix a typo or add a page. I can do most anything I want without contacting a developer once my site is set up.

    I see the vast flexibility and number of qualified developers for many of the open source platforms and a rather limited amount of info about iCMS. I am sure that is why they hired Handshake Media. I look forward to seeing the value proposition come together.

    As a member of the future of business, my concerns now may be theoretical but one day I will the be person on the other side of the table. I hope my comments help.

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