Fontdeck is retiring

Indra KupferschmidIndra Kupferschmid Posts: 246
edited November 2015 in Type Business
Very sad news that Florian shared on Twitter this morning: http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=262832f6c05900ce22e8b14b6&id=847cdd319d
http://blog.fontdeck.com/post/133786333191/fontdeck-closure-support

Are webfont service deemed not needed anymore as most foundries offer fonts for self-hosting, or just not lucrative or worth the trouble enough given the super large players in the room?
Tagged:

Comments

  • Miles NewlynMiles Newlyn Posts: 101
    edited November 2015
    well, I'm relieved that Florian has not passed on, which is how I read this at first!

    I started out renting our types via Fontdeck, but soon felt that with sales totaling just a few dollars per year, it made sense to drop it and license for self-hosting instead.
  • (Oh dear, right, I will rephrase)
  • edited November 2015
    The majority of our clients license self-hosting. This is true especially for the larger companies, where most of the money is. It seems companies prefer to have the actual font files on their server.
  • Is H&Co. an anomaly then? Or House Ind. hypothetically, once they launch their hosted service? If a company can leverage exclusivity paired with a hosted service, how does that change the hosted vs. self-hosted sales/usage argument?
  • Most services offer webfonts for self-hosting but geared to and priced for large sites so they would be unnecessarily expensive for normal clients, hence them choosing the service?
  • More info at: http://blog.fontdeck.com/post/133794978966/why-fontdeck-is-retiring
    However, since webfonts became a commercial viability in 2009 the landscape has changed. Professional web designers - which we count ourselves among - now demand and need more. More speed, more tailoring of fonts, case-by-case subsetting, specifying OpenType features, hinting only where necessary, WOFF2, flexible pricing options, and more besides. As a webfont service we felt it was incumbent upon us to be providing all this to our paying customers, and as web designers we felt this was the kind of service we should be receiving. This is where our decision to retire Fontdeck lay.

    Fontdeck could tick along as it was, but without significant investment we wouldn’t be able to improve the infrastructure or the features of our service. Fontdeck would eventually stagnate as our well funded competition gradually improved their services. That’s not something we wanted to happen. As neither OmniTI nor Clearleft have the resources to take Fontdeck to the next level, we had no desire to traipse around the Valley with a begging bowl; instead we took the decision to retire Fontdeck rather than let it wither on the vine.

  • When I was forecasting web font market size and potential revenue about six years ago, I thought that the market for commercial hosted web font services might peak in 2014 or 2015. Seeing where the market is now, I would not be surprised if that came true; the growth is likely in self-hosted web fonts and free fonts from Google.
  • Khaled HosnyKhaled Hosny Posts: 168
    edited November 2015
    As for why companies might prefer self-hosting, I’ll give an example of client I was working for that was licensing certain Adobe fonts from a web fonts service that closed last year, and when looking for alternatives they couldn’t find a single web fonts service that serve the same fonts without requiring JavaScript (which was an absolute requirement for them, they went very long way to not use any JavaScript on their web site). After lots of looking a round we found a service that provided self-hosting of these fonts and went for it, they are now sure as hell to not depend on a third party any more for something as basic as this. (Of course I would have liked to switch them to libre fonts, and they now do for new projects, but the choice of typefaces used have been picked years ago and they are unwilling to change it now).
  • I'd guess a lot of the self hosted web fonts are Google Font Directory fonts too - where self hosting is driven by a desire to be in control or maybe perhaps paranoia.
  • SiDaniels: Looking at our data approx. 19% of self-hosted fonts are Google Fonts
  • An average of 47% web sites use self-hosted fonts. 
    Is that “47% of all web sites” or “47% of web sites that use web fonts”?

    If it's the former, what percentage of all web sites use service-based fonts?

    Either way, what percentage of all web sites use web fonts these days?

    Thanks!
  • Well, any company using Cambria and Calibri would need to retire... I'll leave now.
    In all seriousness, it was probably a sketchy idea from the start. It's like trying to open a lemonade stand when there's a huge, popular lemonade store next to you that has stayed in the business for years before you. It's not going to work. You'll get 2-3 customers a day, but the lemonade stand will get 20 or more customers in half the time. The longer the thing has been around that you are trying to introduce a competitor, the worse the success rate. I've always prefered more familiar things myself. Another thing is that people are attracted to free things. Google Fonts is free, why pay for fonts? There's always Open Sans (popular) and fonts like Alegreya (relatively very high quality). I could go on... but I don't want to waste your time.
  • Rich, thanks for the additional info! And thanks for all your efforts to help web fonts take off! :)

    Lars, would you be willing to publish those stats in a way they can be tracked over time? Might be good marketing for your license enforcement business 
  • Rich, you certainly inspired many of us to go forward despite the terrible standards, so, thanks, and good luck!
  • An average of 47% web sites use self-hosted fonts. 
    Is that “47% of all web sites” or “47% of web sites that use web fonts”?

    What I meant was 47% of web sites that use web fonts.


    Lars, would you be willing to publish those stats in a way they can be tracked over time? Might be good marketing for your license enforcement business 
    Our product's primary goal is not monitoring 348+ million websites and we only deal with web sites that use web fonts, not with those that do not use web fonts.

    Most web sites use web fonts because the template/theme it uses came with them or because people nowadays tend to use cloud based CMSs that also come with a preselection of web fonts.

    Publishing these stats or trends over time would just show the obvious, that Google, TypeKit and Fonts.com dominate.


  • what percentage of all web sites use web fonts these days?

    http://httparchive.org/trends.php has 482k URLs indexed, and suggests 57% of all web sites use web fonts these days.


  • what percentage of all web sites use web fonts these days?

    http://httparchive.org/trends.php has 482k URLs indexed, and suggests 57% of all web sites use web fonts these days.


    We do not include icon fonts, but httparchive does ...
  • And please, don't call it "all web sites". httparchive only crawls the Alexa Top 1 million, not "all"
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 779
    edited November 2015
    How many do you crawl, and what percentage of them are using web fonts as real web fonts and as icon fonts? Maybe we can use that proportion as a rough guide... eg, I guess a rough estimate for 'all' websites is that 50% are using web fonts as real web fonts. 
  • Most web sites use web fonts because the template/theme it uses came with them or because people nowadays tend to use cloud based CMSs that also come with a preselection of web fonts.
    Interesting observation. From the stats quoted, I was trying to work out why so many websites were choosing Google Fonts. Yes they are free (so is Typekit to an extent), but realistically the choice is very limited when it comes to quality text fonts - and anecdotal observations plus what we saw with Fontdeck sales, text fonts are by far the most popular use for webfonts. I say this not to disparage Google's offering, but out of curiosity.

    The answer it seems is that the majority are not actively choosing fonts from Google, they are having that choice made for them, which would explain the numbers.
  • Evan S. said:
    Well, any company using Cambria and Calibri would need to retire...
    If you're talking about Fontdeck, I guess the webfonts didn't load for you, or you're blocking them. We use Adelle and PT Sans.
    Evan S. said:
    it was probably a sketchy idea from the start. It's like trying to open a lemonade stand when there's a huge, popular lemonade store next to you that has stayed in the business for years before you.

    Wrong. That might be your perception but your history is incorrect. Fontdeck was conceived in 2009, before Typekit came out. The two services were designed and developed independently not knowing of each other's existence. Typekit came to market a few months earlier, but Fontdeck was already in private beta at that stage. Our lemonade was already made and the stand ready, it's just that Typekit opened their stall first.

  • The answer it seems is that the majority are not actively choosing fonts from Google, they are having that choice made for them, which would explain the numbers.
    Well, like I mentioned earlier, stats are not our primary goal, but looking at our data most used fonts are free fonts. If we include icon fonts, more people use icon fonts than real fonts (especially Glyphicons Halflings because it comes with Twitter's Bootstrap, but also icomoon and FontAwesome of course). Regarding self-hosted fonts we still see the common Google Fonts being most used (Open Sans, Lato, Roboto, PT Sans...). 

    Looking at Themeforest's top 3 selling templates these use PT Sans, Lato, OpenSans ... Squarespace integrates Google Fonts and TypeKit, Weebly integrates Google Fonts, Jimdo integrates Google Fonts and so on and on.

    For now Google seem to have the only free-and-speedy-hosting and easy-to-include-in-3rd-party-apps solution. 


Sign In or Register to comment.