Wikispaces to start charging for hosting your wiki in public

By Andrea Borman
Jul 18, 2012
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  1. I have been hosting my Wikis for free on Wikispaces for several years now. One of my most read wikis is my wiki about Windows software and also the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

    See here-http://bestsoftware.wikispaces.com/

    For those of you who don't know,Wikispaces is a free wiki hosting site that allows you to write about anything and share your own content with the rest of the world for free. And it is one of the few wiki sites that allows you to share your own photos and have full control over your content. Unlike some wiki sites like Wikipedia for example,who will delete a post if they don't like it and won't even let you post your own images.

    I have recently learned how to install and run Dos games on Windows 8 and Windows 7 and so I wanted add that to my wiki on Wikispaces.And share it with the world. But when I logged into my account I got this message "all public wiki users had to verify their account in order for their wikis to remain hosted on public view or they will be set to private view."

    At first I thought they meant verify my email address but when I looked it said I had to verify my Wikispaces account by making a $1donation!

    At first I thought this was some kind of a joke but when I looked on their Wikispaces blog this is what it said.


    See Wikispaces site here and read for yourself-http://blog.wikispaces.com/2012/07/taking-a-stand-against-spam.html

    So what this means is that- I and other Wikispaces users who want to continue to host our wikis as public view will have to make a donation or our wikis will be switched to private view only. And that includes all users like me who have had their wikis hosted publiclly for many years.Unless they pay,their wikis will be set to private view only. And no one will be able to see them.

    I am very angry about this,as I have put a lot of hard work into my wikis and they have been read and liked by many people. Now they will no longer be seen in public unless I pay to host them public.

    And what is the point in having a wiki if you cannot share it with the public?

    I never give my credit card details online because it is not safe.And certainly I never bank online or pay my bills online. And I don't see why I should have to pay to host my wikis publically,when there are plenty of other wiki sites which won't charge you any money for public hosting.

    True,I have a blog on Blogger hosted on my own domain name that I pay for every year. But I could change my website address back to blogspot.com anytime I want and host it for free again,if I want to. Wordpress and Blogger users have a choice to host their blog for free and set it to public view.No stings attached. Or they can buy a domain and have their own chosen domain name if they want. Wordpress and Bogger and give you a choice. And so do many other wiki sites.

    But now not Wikispaces it seems. As it says on the wikispaces blog,their website, soon that is going to change. And all users will have to pay for their wikis that have been seen and read on the Internet for years and years by the public to remain on the web.

    I think it is disgusting of Wikispaces to do this. And if that's the case which it is. Then I will gladly find another wiki site. But no way will they get a penny off of me. And other users should not give them any money either.

    What do you think about this change Wikispaces are making?

    Most of us including me blog on the internet and write wikis for a hobby not for a living.

    Would you pay just to keep your blog or wiki hosted on the Internet if you was doing it for fun not money as most people do?

    I encourage you to comment. Andrea Borman.
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +97

    As I understand it, they're asking for a one-time fee of $1, which as the quote you supplied reads, enables them to verify you are who you are by virtue of your payment credentials. I actually think that's very responsible of them, and properly identifies the owner of the wiki in question.

    We all like things for free, but I think its entirely reasonable personally. They're not asking you pay a monthly fee, nor are they asking an unreasonable amount of money in my opinion. $1 gives you complete unlimited access now and in the future.

    Clearly I'm not as versed as you (I own and run several servers so pay a fortune for paid services) but I think to suggest its disgusting is a little far fetched. Web hosting costs considerably more than what they're asking, per blog/wiki/website to run on anything with half decent hardware reliably.

    You could of course end your membership, buy a domain (which will need renewing at further cost down the line), find a web hosting company and host it yourself, if you prefer. The ongoing costs of that would far exceed the one time $1 fee however, but you'd have control of your content completely, albeit at increased exposure to the administrative side of things like security which you would then be required to deal with.
  3. Andrea Borman

    Andrea Borman TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Thank you for your reply. But I feel very uncomfortable about giving my card details over the internet to someone I have never met. And I have never heard of this before.

    Wikispaces say they are doing this to verify users accounts. But when I signed up to join Wikispaces I had to fill in the online forum,give my name,date of birth and email address. Which is normal on most sites including this one.

    Then I had to verify my email address by replying to the email they sent me by clicking on the link,which I did. If they want to verify mine or another users account,they don't have to do it this way,by asking for money.

    They could ask us for an alternative email address or do like Google does now when you open a G Mail account. And ask us to verify with a phone or mobile phone number. Or give us a security question. Not ask us for our credit or debit card details.

    And I and other users have been members of Wikispaces for years. So why all of this now?

    And also some people do not have a credit or debit card.So what are they going to do?

    If that's the way Wikispaces want to be. They can stick it. And I and other users will go elswhere.

    Never trust anyone with your debit card details. Andrea Borman.
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +97

    You won't be handing them to the Wiki, Google Wallet will be processing them. As such, they'll never see them. That's fine if you don't want to ever trust anyone with your card details, but its now a nature of online life, although I limit this myself by keeping to either Google Wallet or more commonly, Paypal for any purchases I need to make. This prevents the risk of various outlets security compromising my card information as I don't ever enter them to make purchases online. Pre-pay debit cards are available for those that don't have or don't want debit and credit cards.

    It's important to remember these changes are actually going to benefit the sites users as a whole. You clearly aren't spamming their wiki's, but they've had massive ongoing issues with it for a long time. This change is for the better, and while it does in somewhat inconvenience the average user (like yourself) its a small request to continue the level of service you had before.

    It also verifies your account as valid, and as such should protect you from misunderstandings or from being caught up in spam purges in the future.

    I can understand your frustration, but in the grand scheme of things, what they're asking of you is so small its just not worth the inconvenience of moving everything to another platform to continue with your hobby. Like I said though, if you want total control on your own terms, I'd advise you to invest in web hosting and host your valuable content yourself.
  5. Andrea Borman

    Andrea Borman TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    What is Google wallet?Is it part of Google checkout where I pay to host my Blogger bog on my own domain each year?

    But it's not the matter of $1 which is about £1 English pound. It's the principle. No other website I know of, asks you to give your credit or debit card details to verify your account.

    A lot ask you to complete catchpa when you sign up and sometimes before you publish your post. G Mail now asks you to verify with your mobile phone number as well as another email address. Which is fair enough. But I will never join a site that asks me for my creidt card to verify my account. That is just taking the mickey and is also seem as exploiting someone.

    And most websites record and have your IP address. so if they think you are spamming or have multiple accounts which is certainly not allowed on forums. Then they can just delete your account or bar you from the site.

    But I am not going to go along with their ridicules new policy and I advise other users not to either. If they are going to be like that. It is best to just copy all of your wikis onto your computer. And dump Wikispaces and you can then upload or post your wikis to another wiki site.Or onto your blog or website or somewhere else that does not take advantage of innocent people.By asking for your card details. Which are none of their business.

    If Wikispaces want only paid users fine. But I don't want to pay to host my wikis.Andrea Borman.
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +97

    It's Google's version of Paypal, in essence it's a payment gateway that deals with your transaction on behalf of a company or other creditor, saving you from having to reveal the card details to the person you are actually paying. Currently they only accept payments via Google Wallet having scanned through the details you provided. It's perfectly safe as long as you aren't giving your financial information to another company.

    It's actually half that amount, or at least somewhere between the two. Exchange rates from USD to GBP suck. lol.

    You've clearly be fortunate. Nearly all companies offering the services you require (and more in-depth ones like web hosting to host your own Wiki website) ask for them, and require ongoing payments. I can't offer any insight into the costs of free Wiki-like websites themselves however, as I've never worked with them and usually just throw another domain on one of my webservers and install the required software.

    IP addresses are easily masked or changed, and anyone can sign up as Bob Smith with an email address using a free email provider like Gmail, regardless of whether they are Bob Smith or not. Lets be realistic, you could easily do it in a completely different name as well. That's the whole point of the $1 fee, it is to say you are who you say you are, and to stop spamming publicly hoarding the website.

    It actually benefits you -- it stops publicly visible spamming pages from taking the attention of visitors from your Wiki content.

    If its principal that's fine, but I personally think you could do a whole lot worse than the offer that stands before you now. Things change, and I maintain my stance that they're being entirely reasonable -- I'd be the first to condemn a site if they deserved it, but in this instance, despite your understandable anger they don't.
  7. Andrea Borman

    Andrea Borman TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Well most wiki websites are free. And my wikis on Wikispaces were never hosted on my own domain. For example my one about Windows software and computers-http://bestsoftware.wikispaces.com/

    You see it has Wikispaces.com after it. But as I said there are many wiki websites that are free but most have a lot of restrictions. Wikipidia is a good example. If you write a post that they don't think is important or they think is irrelevant or they just don't like it. One of the strict Wikipidia admins or whatever will delete it. And a lot of wiki sites although they are not as strict as Wkipidia,they won't let you upload your own images and will delete them. Because they think the image may not be your own.

    But Wikispaces is one of the few places where you can actually upload your own You Tube videos and your own images and blog posts. And they don't delete them But most wiki sites won't allow you to.

    As you can see on my Wikispaces wiki I have images of my computer desktop from my Windows XP,Windows 7 and Windows 8 desktops,all mine.

    There are other wiki sites that will let you do more or less what you want. It's just finding them.

    But certainly on a Windows forum like this one,every member including me is welcome to share their tutorials as many members have done about using Windows 8,Windows XP,Windows Mail etc.

    And at least on forums they don't expect you to give your credit card details. All they ask is that you follow the rules,have a valid email address. And if you change it,you tell them. And you have only one account.

    But talking about rules,if Wikispaces want to make it their rule that you must give your debit or credit card details to make a donation. Or else you cannot post your wikis public view only private view. Then there is nothing we can do about it. If we don't like it which I and most people don't,we don't have to stay there on that site,Wikispaces. We can go some where else.

    Which is what I am going to do. But I am still very angry that all that hard work I put into on that site. Soon when Wikispaces make the changes people will no longer be able to see my wikis on the web anymore.Unless I pay. But I will still be able to read them myself when I log in but no one else will be able to. So what's the point in that?

    Andrea Borman.
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +97

    The point in that is to stop spammers from creating Wiki's with illegal or otherwise unethical content from being publicly viewable to people like me when visiting Wikispaces domain.

    I really think you should bite the bullet and get some web hosting, install some Wiki software (or even a blog --WordPress is very popular) and continue adding your content on your new website. You won't face these issues, or the restrictions of other services ever again by choosing that method of deploying your content online.

    Some providers will even give you a free domain (which are usually renewable annually or bi-annually) for free for joining them, as well as free setup for a single monthly fee. Web hosting these days is super cheap and you can even pay using Paypal with most of them, so you don't even need to share your financial details with them.
  9. Andrea Borman

    Andrea Borman TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    But there are other ways to do that. No other website I know of asks you to make a donation to verify your account,no. The truth of it is Wikispaces like some wiki sites and other sites don't want to give free users full perks.That is they restrict their services to free users. And only paid users get more services. So they are saying,"if you want to host public,you have to pay. Otherwise if you don't want to pay you can only host your wikis privately."


    Yes I already do have my own blogs hosted on Blogger by Blogger but on a custom URL.Which I bought through Blogger. But I don't think it's worth it for wikis. If it's a well known site like Wikispaces people find it easier through Wikispaces.com than "your wiki.net."

    But there must be other sites besides Wikispaces. That is not the only wiki site in town. Andrea Borman.
  10. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +97

    Granted, there are, but ultimately its up to Wikispaces to decide what works best, and they feel this approach is the best one. My stance is different to yours because I'm fully aware of the overheads of running servers, the security aspects you have to continually keep in touch with, and the general upkeep in other respects they require. So if they're asking you "donate" $1 to prove your identity in return for publicly viewable Wiki page content I really don't see the issue.

    There is the principal of the matter consider, but ultimately, you've been well looked after and paying a one off donation to continue your services with them seems perfectly okay. Like you've already noted, competitors don't offer the same level of service as you currently (or previously) enjoy with them, so surely it makes sense just to pay the $1 and move on knowing you don't need to create everything from scratch.

    That's the other aspect you need to consider. Do you stay with Wikispaces for $1 with your established traffic, or move to another provider or host it yourself and start from scratch again. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is extremely important these days, and is very beneficial for smaller websites, but is a lot of work to implement and keep on top of.

    From what you've said, you'd be making life harder for yourself by not paying the $1 frankly.
  11. Andrea Borman

    Andrea Borman TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Yes I will be very sorry to see my wikis removed from public view from the web after all of that work I put into them.

    But Wikispaces never said they would delete accounts of users who are not going to give a donation. Any user who does not give a donation will still have their Wikispaces account and their wikis. But they won't be able to make them pubic or set them to public view any more.

    So if I choose not to give a donation,only I will be able to read them.And I will have to log in to do so.Although I am not sure if other Wikispaces users will be able to read them if they log in to the site. Wikispaces never said.

    But the whole thing is ridicules. Because I log into my account with my user name and password. And I verified with my email address when I opened the my account on Wikispaces.

    How can I not be verified after being there all of these years?

    And on Blogger even though I have my own custom URL or what they call custom domain. I do not do any of the hosting and I would not know how to. And I don't have a web hosting service. I just log into my Blogger account and Blogger hosts my blog for me. The same way it hosts the free Blogger or Blogspot.com address blogs.

    But I think what Wikspaces is doing is wrong. Forcing people to make donations by giving their card details won't stop user who abuse the service by writing obscene content or spam from doing so.

    If Wikispaces want to stop spammers or users who write obscene content. They should just delete those accounts. And ban them from creating another account. that is what would happen here on this forum and other forums. They can get their IP address and IP ban them to stop them coming back. Like the forums do.

    But then by restricting the wikis to only private view of users like me who refuse to pay. They have more or less banned us so to speak.

    So they might as well ban free users altogether.Andrea Borman.
  12. Andrea Borman

    Andrea Borman TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Update-

    Well I have just deleted my Wikispaces account myself in disgust at their KGB policies.

    But my wikis are still up there on the web, as it is only your account that gets deleted. And now Wikispaces can choose to do what they will with the wikis. But my wikis won't be up there for long judging by Wikispaces new rules. But they can have my wikis. But they won't get my credit card details or my money.

    And you know what.I am not the least bit sorry I deleted my account with them,Wikispaces.Good Riddance to them. Andrea Borman.
  13. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +97

    I still can't help but think you'd have been better off just paying the one dollar and not losing the content you've spent so much time creating to share, but as long as you're happy with that decision it's all that matters.

    I hope you're able to find a more suitable platform for your content.
    Cobalt006 likes this.
     
  14. Andrea Borman

    Andrea Borman TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Well even though I deleted my Wikispaces account, and it is closed my wikis are still there on the web as they don't delete the wikis,they keep those. So people can still see them at the moment. See-http://bestsoftware.wikispaces.com/

    But even if I create another account I cannot edit my wikis because it will be a different account and I locked the wikis so no other user can edit them.

    But my wikis won't be up there on the web for long because of the changes. And as I was not going to pay the donation fee. They would not have remained public view. So there was no point in me staying with Wikispaces if they would not let me and other users post public. As that's what you write a wiki for. To be seen in public.

    Anyway,thank you for replying to my thread it has been very helpful. And although there is nothing we can do about Wikispaces stupid new policy. I do feel better venting off here. Andrea Borman.
  15. Andrea Borman

    Andrea Borman TechSpot Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Yes,Wikispaces are charging users now if they want to publish their wikis public view on the web.

    But instead of bullying everyone by saying they are spammers and that they have to prove they are not by making a donation by giving their credit card details.

    Why don't they just say in the beginning that free registered users can only post private wikis not public ones. But if they want to make a public wiki they have to pay?

    But they have said that.

    And I have tried twice to comment on their site the Wikispaces blog(the second attempt this morning) telling them how rotten they are for doing this. But they have comment moderation in force and they won't print my comments.Probably because they don't like being told a few home truths.

    But I did see a comment on the Wikispaces blog from one user and he thinks it is wrong.

    Here is that users comment from the Wikispaces blog here-http://blog.wikispaces.com/2012/07/taking-a-stand-against-spam.html




    He has hit it right on the nail. Andrea Borman.


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