I haven't said much of anything yet about MSN Spaces, but it's been amusing to watch the reaction to their lame attempt at censorship of blogs. Even Scoble is joking about it, but I'm surprised he doesn't talk about what a dumb decision that was (the lame attempt at censorship.)

By far the best coverage was Xeni's seven deadly spaces post on BoingBoing. I noticed that even Graeme Wearden picked up on it in MSN bloggers try to foul up censorship tool over at CNet.

Getting a blog with a dirty name past the MSN Spaces controls may be fun, but it also illustrates the tensions between the traditionally free and open world of blogging and the more corporate approach of a software giant like Microsoft.

Yup, Microsoft is always providing controls that people feel compelled to sneak past.

"If you can't speak freely on a blog, what's the point of having one?" BoingBoing pointed out.

Depends on the blog, I think. I can pretty much speak freely here, but not over there. Why? Because my paranoia is less that theirs. Maybe Scoble is in the same boat?

These tensions are also apparent in Microsoft's approach to blog content. Unlike rival services such as Blogger, MSN Spaces forces new users to grant Microsoft permission to "use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat" their blog postings.

This is the part that really surprises me. Did they think nobody would notice? Haven't they (or Scoble) ever noticed the way bloggers latch onto stuff like this and blow it out of proportion?

Well, I suspect they'll learn sooner or later.

Update: I see that Scoble responded. It's too bad there's no TrackBack on his weblog. :-(

Posted by jzawodn at December 05, 2004 09:36 PM

Reader Comments
# TDavid said:

The developers have stated that this censorshop stuff wasn't an intended feature (which sounds a bit like political spin to me) and they keep reminding folks that this is beta software.

Generally speaking, I think more and more people are getting out of hand with their commentary on 'beta' software.

Isn't it possible that developers put this out there and are using the public feedback to make their products/services better for a RC product?

If the goal is to make something perfect, then it may never see the light of day ... I'd rather see a company get a beta out that is flexible which it seems like this is what Microsoft is doing. They could have spent another year trying to work out all the kinks and not entered the space at all.

I guess Yahoo! has never done anything wrong in their beta software, Jeremy? Heck, it's not like they don't have any problems with alpha software either (which I've emailed you a recent example privately, Jeremy BTW) just check this out for a shining visual.

on December 5, 2004 10:47 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Do you have a citation for the developers saying that it wasn't intended?

I mean if it wasn't intended, how did it get in there? Code doesn't write itself--unless they used a "Wizard" to generate it, I guess. :-)

To your second point, yes. The put it up for feedback as a Beta product. (What isn't a beta prodcut anymore?) And they're getting loads of feedback, I'd say.

As for bugs in Yahoo betas, thanks for the sarcasm. I'm more than willing to point out bugs in our non-beta software, let alone betas.

See my post on blogs in the yahoo directory before you accuse me of being one-sided or something.

on December 5, 2004 11:29 PM
# Jeremy C. Wright said:

Hey Jeremy, I'd read the same thing as TDavid: this may have been intended (ie: some kind of feature), but the end result wasn't.

Apparently this has been "fix" in terms of the Comments right now.

You may want to check out Mike and Emcee's blogs as starting points: http://spaces.msn.com/members/mike http://spaces.msn.com/members/emcee

I can't remember if it was there, but they're both team members who I know are happy to talk to folk about what's going on :)

on December 6, 2004 07:54 AM
# Mike Torres said:

Maybe we will finally learn when Yahoo ships something :) Seriously though, I enjoy reading your blog. Keep it up!

on December 6, 2004 10:07 PM
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