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Opinion: Why Ascender's Fonts Live service is doomed from the get-go


Fonts Live is a service which lets you embed beautiful fonts right on your Web page. They have a catalog of 200 fonts, and they are all quite lovely.

Does the idea ring a bell? Maybe it's because Google has a very similar service which is totally free!

This is something that really astounds me. How can you offer a service for such rates and expect to make money, when a behemoth like Google is just giving it away?

Yes, Fonts Live has a much wider selection than Google. But those rates you see on the screenshots are for a single font family of five fonts!

I think this is Analytics all over again. I mean, there were web analytics services before Google Analytics came along. But there was nothing good and free. Even "cheap" is a huge barrier to acceptance, and this isn't really cheap, either (once you realize you're getting a single font family).

Fonts Live is run by Ascender, which seems like a fairly serious outfit. And the service itself is, as I said, solid. So this becomes a question of marketing: What do you do when Google starts offering what you offer, for FREE?

Unless Ascender has got an ace up its sleeve, I would be surprised to see Fonts Live around in a year or two.

Tags: font, fonts, google, typography