I've read numerous posts and several blogs discussing the SQL Server Central sale to Red Gate and at the end of the day I can only say I have mixed feelings about it. I'm very glad for Brian, Andy, and Steve, who have worked very hard on the site (on their own time) to make it what it is today. They deserve any and all the financial windfall that they received from the sale.
I've seen the comments which indicate "nothing will change." We all know that to be a fallacy, because with new ownership always comes some measure of change. Brian Lockwood has posted his comments and he sees a definite change since he is a SQL Server tools vendor. The cutting of advertising reduces the audience to which to advertise his tools. The ownership which produced DB Ghost has done the same in the SSC forums. News of this sort saddens me because we're not talking large corporations with tons of resources. We're talking relatively small companies in a niche industry that provide tools for folks like me. And now gone is one of their largest avenues of advertising and self-promotion.
There are some that say, "No biggie, I don't care much for commercials anyway." Well, that may be true, but we can say that but we shouldn't be oblivious to the fact that commercials work (or companies wouldn't spend time and money on them). At the very least, a commercial should help us with name recognition of the company or product. For smaller companies, this can be the difference between success and failure. Take away a major avenue and their survivability becomes more difficult. This isn't to say they won't survive and they won't succeed, but certainly they are facing a much harder situation than before. And the small companies, at least in the SQL Server tools space, have produced some really nice products. Think about ApexSQL Edit, DB Ghost, SQL LiteSpeed (before it was purchased by Quest), and others.
Like I said, mixed feelings. Like many others, I'm going to play a wait and see attitude over the next few months. Steve's a good man and as long as he is editor with complete content control, I think things will be just fine. Red Gate has a vested interest in seeing SQL Server Central succeed in this space, especially if we're still seeing the "a service from Red Gate Software" like over at Simple Talk. So for most end users, the site isn't likely to change as far as articles, scripts, and forums. Let's face it, that's the core reason people use SQL Server Central. A glance at Simple Talk doesn't show a dominant Red Gate influence. Let's hope the same stays true at SSC as well.
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