As Yahoo buys Tumblr, Ghost offers bloggers a third way
With eight days of his already successful Kickstarter campaign still remaining, John O'Nolan has cited the uncertainty surrounding Yahoo's newly-announced US$1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr as a reason to back his open source, non-profit blogging platform, Ghost.
Unlike other open source projects to launch on Kickstarter, O'Nolan claims Ghost has a sustainable business model as it will offer a paid-for hosting service. Though some will balk at the idea of handing over money to a blogging service when there are free alternatives, those concerned about the safety of their data or the potential imposition of advertising may see things differently – issues Gizmag discussed following Facebook's acquisition of Instagram.
In a Kickstarter update entitled Things Ghost Will Never Do: Sell You to Yahoo! for $1.1 Billion, O'Nolan points out that as a non-profit service, Ghost will have no shares and no shareholders. "We literally won't have anything for Yahoo to buy," he writes. Instead, all profits will be reinvested into the platform.
What Ghost will have, according to its Kickstarter page, is a simple approach to blogging, with a simple, email-like interface for finding and editing blog posts, in-built support for pushing content to social networks, and support for Markdown (which generates HTML code to render your website using simple, easy-to-remember formatting). Ghost also purports to be easy to use from mobile devices, and robust enough for one to build a media empire off the back of it.
It appears that the Ghost software will be free to people intending to self-host their blogs, but it's pitching its paid-for hosting service as both easiest and the most powerful option, what with support for automatic software updates, a backup service, and access to traffic statistics.
The Tumblr buy-out follows Google's acquisition and subsequent closure of the Posterous blogging service, making for uncertain times in the blogging space. It's too early to tell what Yahoo will do with Tumblr in the long term, though many will be nervous in the light of prior acquisitions such as Geocities (closed, except in Japan), Delicious (slated for closure, but rescued by an outside buyer) and Flickr (caught napping by the rise of mobile computing).
Whether Ghost will be in a position to live up to its promise and capitalize on this uncertainty remains to be seen. Fingers crossed, though. Judging by the campaign video (see below), development appears to be well under way.