fourlittlebirds, first let me apologise for any slow service that you have experienced in recent weeks. The good news is that of yesterday we have put our new servers in place and hope to do the cut-over to these Monday or Tuesday of next week. We have designed a distributed system which will mean that as we grow we can just pop new servers in to cope with the load. We have over 40,000 users signed up and not only that but we have had many of them blogging for over a year. We are sorry we were delayed in the rolling out of this new system - during December we had many issues with sploggers, comment and trackback spammers, which left us juggling a little trying to finish our distributed system and deal with these guys, together with the fact that our databases have grown with over a year's worth of posts from thousands of bloggers.
In any case we expect with the rollout of our distributed system next week we should have removed the speed issue.
Blogsome was setup by me on the basis of our idea that it would be great if we could give people a wordpress blog in minutes with their own domain name. We were one of the first, if not the first to give blogs in seconds that had the url yourname.blogsome.com. Much kudos must go to Donncha and his b2++ and then WordPressMU. And indeed were it not for Matt taking on b2, and doing a super job with it, in the first place we wouldn't have had WordPress. We have had a year of good blogging although I acknowledge some performance problems in December which we hope will be behind us next week.
As for the difference between WordPress.com and Blogsome, well WordPress.com has many great features including a very nice ajax admin backend with very nice wysiwyg editing features. I'm sure the lads will fill you in on many more. The main plus with Blogsome (which is a modified WordPressMU and retains smarty templating) is that you can edit your template on our system. It is not totally straight forward to do this as it uses Smarty templating, although there is a lot of assistance to do this on our forums. Many of our users have taken up this feature with the result that the appearance of their blog is totally different to any of the templates that you might have seen before.
Now that we've gotten over what is a reasonably big project in building and testing our distributed sytem we can focus on correcting any deficiencies (some of which will be pointed out below this comment, I'm sure) and adding new features.