Cartoonish image of an angry robot causing chaos, humorously depicted with large glowing eyes and mechanical jaws crunching on paper support tickets. The background features scattered papers and flickering digital screens in a dark yet comical setting. (image created with Dall-E 3)

Owned vs. Rented

I didn’t take my own advice

If you came here within the last 48 hours, you may have noticed the site was broken. It wasn’t my fault, (but it was kinda my fault).

When it comes to my online presence, I’m a big believer in “owning” vs. “renting.” I’ve held this theory since 2002 when I first started this website.

Yeah. 22 years ago.

Despite knowing better, I recently took the cheap-and-easy way out and started this site fresh on Substack. Substack, in case you don’t know, is a newsletter website that is really good at helping build subscriptions for content creators. Hence the word, “sub.”

Well, their customer service is also Sub-par (c’mon, high-five!). They use an AI chatbot to answer any and all customer support requests, and there is no way to speak with a human without yelling at them via social media.

That’s not productive, good for the soul, nor good for business.

Should have known better

Substack is a mostly free service. I paid them an extra $50 so I could use my custom domain name, and that was the problem causing the issue. Other than that the program is basically free. They make their money by taking a cut when content creators charge their subscribers for premium content.

You get what you pay for.

So, as of tonight, I’m back to where this all started when I was 23 years old – my own WordPress site.

Why is this important?

When you rely on free services, whether it’s a blog hosting website, email program, design site (like Canva), or even social media, you do not own your content or the service that you’re using. Sometimes you can’t access it. And sometimes there’s no way to get it back if things go sideways.

If you are running a business or a nonprofit and you rely on your users’ contact information, data, and even just your own online presence, consider backing up your information (customer emails, names, etc.) from time to time, self-hosting some of your content (blogs, marketing emails, etc.), and paying for premium services that are less likely to disappear into thin air like my countless support tickets to the Substack chatbot.

*NOTE: If you wrote a comment on a previous blog post, that got trashed in the move. I’m sorry. There’s was nothing I could do. They will still exist somewhere on the internet, but I have no way of moving them here. Thanks for reading.