Web app trust issues

Today a twitter friend asked if anyone had Pinterest invites, prompting me to login for the first time in over a year. Obviously this virtual pinboard service is gaining popularity, so why on early am I letting it collect dust?

My name is Arley McBlain, and I have web app trust issues.

My boss gave me a Pinterest invite to check out some time in late 2010, I logged in, had a snoop, and logged out forever more. Timing is everything; and this was just after it was announced that Yahoo! was pulling the plug on Delicious. I was unnerved by this news – Yahoo! is massive, and Delicious (according to the stream of users I subscribed to anyways) had a vibrant, fairly active community. When you integrate an online service into your way of thinking about content on the Internet it’s completely heartbreaking to have it threatened.

Yahoo! is just one of a few services that have failed me over the years. Maybe it’s understandable from the company that also runs bookmarks.yahoo.com to compete against itself. This has led to a bigger shift in thinking for me.

There are a lot of excellent services out there – why should I be using yours? Seriously. When URL shortener tr.im announced it was closing – and thus rendering a few dozen of my shortened URLs useless it was time to make my own URL shortener (rle.me using LESSN). A more drastic example When Delicious announced their unreliability, I cancelled my paid Flickr and moved to Picasa for photo sharing. Paranoia in full swing, I also made backups of my images on my own server space – a 100GB of paid web hosting.

Long story short; pay a few hundred bucks for a chunk of server space and make your own apps. You can rely on those as much as you can rely on yourself.

This is why I can’t let myself fall in love with Pinterest. I want to index and save images, but I don’t trust them with my content. They don’t even have ads on their site – if you’re not making money, how can I trust any content with you? I’ve opted to use my own server space to index my own images without any fancy features. It’s nothing special, but it works for me.

The one exception to this web app paranoia is Google. They have ads everywhere and they seem financially viable. If that ever changes I don’t know what I’ll do.

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