Saturday, June 06, 1998

FREE - but at what price?

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

Ok, Ok, I know. It's been a couple of months since I've been able to update this column (in fact, the entire damn site!)... I deserve 1000 web lashings.

There's been a ton o' changes to the FileMaker Pro landscape (and computing in general) since the last column. Claris has become FileMaker, Inc., Apple Computer has announced an all-in-one mac called the iMac, Rapshody has become Mac OS X (ten), and we've been entertained by Mr. Bill's courthouse antics. At ClickWare, we launched ClickWorld (the definitive FileMaker Pro resource) in January, and so far have almost 10,000 registered users of the site.

But growth comes at a price...

For FileMaker Inc, the loss of ALL other products other than FileMaker Pro also meant the loss of some fantastic people (and some real JERKS) at the restructured company. It was with an extremely heavy heart that I slowly lost touch with some of the people who were with me at the beginning of my FileMaker journey.

For Apple... well, you know the story. If not, you can check it out here.

For ClickWorld... alas, I feel the end is near. We currently have a Macintosh G3 (233 mHz) computer running WebStar and Lasso 2.5 - that powers the ENTIRE site. The performance has been excellent! The problem comes down to dollars and cents. When we launched the site, we launched it in cooperation with an ISP in the Bay Area (Infoasis). They were creating a FileMaker Pro Hosting service, and in exchange for a connection to their T-1, we provided free banners on certain pages forever.

Well, this week, the "other shoe" dropped. It seems Infoasis is now re-thinking their hosting business, and therefore do not need the banner ad. No banner ad = no "free ride" on their network. Translation: either we have to pay $350 per month to co-locate the computer, or ClickWorld goes away. Now, if you've cruised this ClickWare site - or you've surfed on over to ClickWorld, you know that we provide tons of free tips, free software, and resonably priced tools for FileMaker folks. You also may or may not know, our web presence is for YOU. We strive to be a resource, a depository of information, tips and files that are of use... all for free.

The ClickWorld site is free, the discussion area on ClickWorld is free, the international developer on ClickWorld is free, you can quickly locate and purchase the latest FileMaker Pro books (in association with, there are articles (including this one) that are free.... well, you get the idea.

We don't make any money from our web sites. The product sales simply help to cover the costs of the web presence - we make our money by doing custom FMP and Web development. The reality is that since the ClickWorld site has taken a considerable amount of time and money to implement, it's simply not possible to continue dumping money into a "free" resource.

UPDATE 6/13/98: Shawn Hogen from Data-Point Software has arranged for an ISP to co-locate the server. THANKS Shawn!

Whatever the fate of ClickWorld, rest assured that THIS web presence (ClickWare) is NOT going anywhere. We're committed to keeping it up and running as long as ClickWare is in business. We want to update the site according to what YOU want. Tell us what you LIKE and HATE about this site - and I promise that we'll do everything we can to help.

Thank you all!

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