Oddments

An Unlimited Myth

I caught a re-tweet from skinner the other day regarding podcaster (among other talents) Scott Johnson’s Frogpants.com podcast network being yanked down by his web hosting company. I knew immediately why, though nobody had stated it at the time. He’d seemingly managed, with a spit in the eye to physics and all natural law, to go beyond the infinite. He crossed a limit where there was supposed to be none: He used too much of his unlimited bandwidth.

Web hosting is a competitive business, and over the past couple of years you could watch them try to beat each other at the game. They used storage and bandwidth, think car and gas respectively, to lure users in. The numbers would creep up every few months, 200GB of storage and 400GB of bandwidth, then 400GB of storage and 600GB of bandwidth, and on and on until they reached the unbeatable. Unlimited Everything! But it isn’t unlimited, and I don’t know how they’re allowed to claim it.

This little hosting numbers game stung me recently with Libsyn. When I signed up the deal was X amount of storage per month, and unlimited bandwidth. This company had been around since the early days of podcasting, and it had been a no brainer switching over to them, and for a time all was well. Until I reached 200,000 downloads a month (according to their statistics). I won’t go into the details because it still pisses me off, but the long and short of it is this: I was using too much of the unlimited bandwidth, and had to choose one of three options to continue with the service. Not one for being held hostage I left. If the mob isn’t in the web hosting business they ought to be. With all the hours that go into building and maintaining websites, they are the perfect thing to hold hostage!

Back to Scott and Frogpants. His network is big enough to be noticed, and was rescued by another hosting company who is now a sponsor of his shows. I assume he doesn’t have to worry about bandwidth anymore. Good for him, but the rest of us tadpoles have to deal with the douche-baggery of hosting companies which, incidentally, is unlimited.

I didn’t mention the hosting company that booted Frogpants for a reason. They host all my sites as well. And I’m living in fear.


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Comments

  1. Bmj2k  July 29, 2010

    That’s like ten or twenty years ago when companies gave unlimited dial up Internet access. It wasn’t long before unlimited became very limited or only unlimited with a fee.

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  2. Skinner  July 30, 2010

    Yikes.

    I was doing some mental math the other day – after a particular moment of being impressed with how much content you send out in a month – and my podcast host, libsyn, would be prohibitively (to me at least) expensive to maintain at the rate you burn bandwidth.

    The thing is, I feel like you provide a historical/cultural service (if an entertaining one) – you’re sort of like the PBS of podcasting – and it’s unpleasant to think that you might be put under by your own popularity.

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  3. Jim  July 31, 2010

    Is Libsyn charging for bandwidth now? I noticed their redesign doesn’t make any mention of unlimited bandwidth like it used to (when I first signed up). One of the three options to stay with them was to pay for the bandwidth at 17 cents per Gig. If their numbers were right, it would cost close to $1000 a month to host the six shows I had spread between two accounts.

    I’m using archive.org now to host the audio. As long as they’re around I can keep going. The PBS of podcasting? I think that’s a compliment right? 🙂 Thanks skinner.

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  4. Skinner  August 3, 2010

    Definitely a compliment – I’m that guy mainlining Antiques Roadshow at two in the morning and raiding the couch cushions for enough change for the cloth-bag donation level. 🙂

    Our plan is a rolling cap. We can be using a total of 250 megs of space in episodes released over the last 30 days, with “unlimited” downloads. After the 30 day window the episode is still hosted, but no longer counts against our 250 meg max.

    Hopefully that all makes sense. 🙂

    It’s not terrible, but the recent changes have me similarly worried about the “unlimited” aspect.

    reply

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