Blog Software That Stands Apart

Six Apart makes big inroads in the market for blogging and other social networking tools
If you've ever posted a blog, there's a good chance you've used software from Six Apart, a small company that's making big inroads in the market for blogging and other social networking tools. While precise numbers are hard to come by in this constantly shifting area, the company's Movable Type software is fast becoming the platform of choice for users ranging from businesses to individuals who just want a fast, easy way to release their innermost thoughts into the blogosphere.

Blog Software Six Apart

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No HTML expertise is required to blog here.
The key to Movable Type's popularity is ease of use. Users can cut and paste content from most office applications into a text field and create hyperlinks with the click of a mouse--no HTML knowledge required. Despite the simplicity of its products, Six Apart is attracting interest from some major players. The company recently partnered with Yahoo to provide a blogging platform hosted on Yahoo servers. Six Apart also recently received $12 million in venture capital funding from August Capital, Focus Ventures, and Intel Capital. That's heady stuff for an outfit founded three years ago by a pair of unemployed graphic designers, Mena and Ben Trott.

With funding in place, Six Apart is expanding its product line through in-house development and acquisitions. Last year, it bought Danga Interactive, publisher of blogging platform LiveJournal, which has almost 2 million active users. Most recently, Six Apart acquired Splashblog, a service that lets users publish photos taken on mobile phones directly to their blog sites. The startup also is expanding internationally. In March, it partnered with Chinese blogging software maker Bokee to provide Bokee with tools aimed at bloggers within Chinese companies.

Six Apart earns revenue from its Movable Type licensing deals and partnerships, from corporate and individual subscriptions, and by providing software to online sites that want to offer their users blogging tools. The company also wants to capitalize on the boom in online advertising. In the coming weeks, it plans to launch a blogging service supported by contextual ads.

Company officials won't disclose sales numbers, but they say Six Apart's biggest challenge is to remain dominant in a market that sees giants like Microsoft at one end and publishers of freeware and shareware at the other. But the startup's base of loyal users gives it an edge, chairman and CEO Barak Berkowitz says. "Customers don't switch just for the sake of it. They switch because they find something that does a better job. We'll continue to grow if we continue to provide great tools."

None of the company's technologies is patented. Says Berkowitz, "The blogging world is being spurred forward by open standards and an open approach to sharing, so we're not inclined to create barriers."

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