Blogger Pro for everyone!

In case you haven’t heard, Blogger has discontinued the subscription-only Blogger Pro service and rolled the Pro functions into the free version of Blogger. They’ve effectively made every Blogger user a Pro subscriber. This was cause for much rejoicing in my household, because it means Ruth and Ben now can spell-check their blog posts and give them titles. (I just finished helping them turn on the title field in the Blogger posting form, and add the BlogItemTitle tags to their templates so the titles will show up.)

As someone who paid cash for the Pro functionality, I suppose I could be annoyed that people who never paid anything are getting it all for free. But I’m delighted at this news. As longtime readers of this blog may recall, there was a time when I was worried about Blogger’s long-term survival and actually wanted to give them some money, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. When Blogger announced a premium version of its service that you could pay for, I subscribed immediately.

I got my money’s worth and then some. The official price for Blogger Pro was $50, but by signing up early, I got the introductory rate of $35. It was never clearly stated whether this was a lifetime subscription or would have to be renewed periodically, but I assumed it was annual. And at one point, Blogger was actually sending out renewal notices, because they mentioned them in a news item on their login page. But I never got one. (I subscribed in January of 2002, so a one-year subscription would have expired long ago.)

To mollify any Pro subscribers who are irritated at having paid for something that’s now free, Blogger is offering us all free sweatshirts. When I tried to fill out the form to have the shirt mailed to me, I found that the Pro database doesn’t recognize my login. I notified Blogger Customer Service of this, and they replied that they couldn’t find any record that I subscribed in the first place! That may explain why I never got a renewal notice — my subscription fell through the cracks somehow, and would presumably have continued forever if they hadn’t eliminated the Pro service. (It remains to be seen whether I’ll get a sweatshirt or not. Customer Service asked me for the last four digits of the credit card I paid with so that they could investigate further, and I haven’t heard back from them yet.)

In recent months, I had actually thought about upgrading Ruth and Ben to Pro status, but $100 seemed like a lot of money to pay for titles and a spell-checker. So I’m very pleased that they’re getting those things free of charge. We have Google to thank for this. Since they acquired Blogger last February, the servers have been upgraded, the new Dano interface has been unveiled, and now everyone’s a Pro! I don’t know what Google hopes to gain from all of this, but if they’re trying to generate goodwill, it’s certainly working on me.

But what if I want to show my appreciation? There’s no way to give Google any money! Oh, wait, there is. I can go to the Google Store and buy stuff. Should I get a beach towel? A golf umbrella? A lava lamp? I’m going to have to think about this. (The store has Blogger items, too. So if I don’t get a free sweatshirt, I can always buy one . . .)

UPDATE: I never did get my free sweatshirt.

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