For those of you wondering why I’ve moved, read on.
I’ve been blogging since 2001 although that particular blog only lasted until 2005 when I realised it might provide too much information for eager pupils when I discovered that they had been googling me.
I made the move to edublogs on October 2006, a little over 2 years ago. The service was good and I stuck with them through their problems toward the end of 2008. What did annoy me was the time I discovered ads inside my blog posts. I have no issue with ads around the sidebar, it’s a free service after all. But there’s something particularly invasive about embedding advertising inside my content. At this point, I felt the need to upgrade to supporter status. It allowed me to get the adverts removed but I resented the way in which it was suddenly turned on without notification (no message in the banner of my blog’s dashboard – a method they have used in the past to communicate news, no courtesy email either).
The final straw came last week when I realised what kind of adverts edublogs was serving up on occasion on the blogs of people who had not subscribed. Margaret Vass blogged about the kind of content that was being seen by parents and possibly pupils as young as 6(!) in her post enough is enough. I was one of a few people who responded to Margaret’s concerns and gave advice on how to self-host her blog, i.e. move it away from edublogs and run it from a web space of her own. Margaret now blogs at mvass.net. I had been running a self-hosted classroom blog for 3 years now at mrmackenzie.co.uk and it made sense to self-host my own ramblings there too.
I understand completely that edublogs needs to make money. I even understand why ads are being used, although I disagree with the decision to place them inline with a blogger’s content. What I cannot accept is the placement of inappropriate material (adsense Google ads of an adult nature) in blogs being generated and read by schoolchildren. While more adult material may appear on a blog hosted at wordpress.com, they are not marketing themselves as a blog host specifically for education of minors. Edublogs should be leading the way with best practice in safe use of the internet. Instead they have found a tide of criticism and bad publicity.