StackExchange lets you build a knowledge exchange platform for a pretty penny
Knowledge exchange site Stack Overflow and its cousins Super User and Server Fault created quite a stir when they were released by noted developers Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood. And though it should probably have been obvious, in the process of building out these niche sites, what they had actually done was build a knowledge exchange platform.
Now that platform, called StackExchange, has been released to the general public to build their own knowledge exchange sites. That is, if you're willing to pay a monthly minimum of $129US.
That's right; the smallest plan that is available right now would cost you $1,548US yearly. I hate to make this story about the pricing, but given how outrageous it is, it's hard not to. As someone who has struggled to launch sites, it seems to me that the only people that would choose this platform for a fledgling site would be people with money to burn. Now, Joel and Jeff are smart guys. Maybe they've simply figured out that people with money to burn are the best customers.
Another surprising thing about StackExchange is that of their four plans, only the most expensive one allows you to actually host the site on your own premises. That plan costs $2,500US per month - for the privilege of using your own bandwidth!
There's no doubt that StackExchange is a powerful platform. And anyone that claims they can reverse-engineer it in a weekend is insane. It's the kind of platform that you would love to see generating interesting little sites all over the place dedicated to tight niches like woodworking, late 60's Mustang restoration, DIY plumbing, or even whistling. But the pricing model that is being used threatens to make StackExchange virtually irrelevant -- to everyone online except for Spolsky and Atwood, that is.