What do you do when your blogging service is slated to go dark? If you're a user of the popular Italian blogging service Splinder.com, you pack up and move over to WordPress.com. At least, that's what Automattic is hoping while it throws a lifeline to the bloggers that are being thrown out into the cold.
Splinder.com announced the shutdown in November of last year. Today Daryl L. L. Houston announced an importer for Splinder.com on WordPress.com that's available to users ahead of the closure, slated for January 31st.
Splinder.com is probably not well-known in North America, but it's very popular according to Alexa.com. It has (as of right now) a global rank of 3,798 and is in the top 250 sites for Italy. It's no WordPress.com (ranks 18th globally) but it still has quite a few users. How many? It hosts about half a million blogs, according to Archive.org and 55 million pages.
Houston provides a good overview of how to export data from Splinder.com and import into WordPress.com, as well as a pointer to the WordPress.com tutorial.
As a side note, this is why I've always been a self-hosted user of WordPress. Even if the unthinkable happened and WordPress development just stopped, the site would be under my control. Splinder.com folks are learning the hard way that when the service is out of your control, you might be left in the lurch.
To be sure, I don't expect this to happen to WordPress.com anytime soon. However, if you'd rather have full control over your site, you can always move your Splinder.com posts over to a self-hosted WordPress blog. It's an extra step, but worth it. Import your Splinder.com blog to WordPress.com, then import that blog into a self-hosted version of WordPress with the WordPress importer.
Exporting from a WordPress.com blog.
Start with the steps on the WordPress.com post. Then head to the WordPress.com Dashboard for your new blog and export all content. Then upload the file into a self-hosted WordPress.com blog and you're ready to blog away happily. You can set the WordPress.com blog to private (under Settings -> Privacy Settings) so that you won't have duplicate content floating about on the Web.
The really important thing, if you have a Splinder.com blog, is to export that data straight away. The WordPress.com folks are looking for feedback about bugs in the importer, so it'd be best if users try importing right away and report any problems sooner rather than later.
Importing into a self-hosted WordPress blog.
This is a smart (and nice) move on the part of Automattic. It probably didn't take a ton of development time to create an importer for the service. By creating the importer, they have an opportunity to sign up a fair number of users who will be grateful for the lifeline. It seems Automattic is making a habit of rescuing users when other sites shut their doors. That's not a bad thing. Users need a place to go when sites with failed business plans, or no business plans, shut the doors.