Today, the TypePad team is launching three exciting new features for everyone who blogs or reads blogs:
- Profiles (a reinvention of TypeKey)
- New commenting capabilities
- TypePad Connect, a new beta service that is free for all bloggers and extends these features to any site.
This isn't just about providing comments and profiles for your site, but also connecting your site's community with the rest of the social web.
As we complete the migration to the next generation platform for TypePad that Ben Trott talked about earlier this year we've released many new features for TypePad bloggers (improved design screens, AutoSave, and custom URLs to mention a few). But we've also been hard at work creating TypePad powered services such as TypePad AntiSpam, Blog It and Blog Link that extend the TypePad service to any blogger across the web. Our vision is that the best way to help TypePad bloggers is to connect them with a wider community of readers, other bloggers and conversations.
Let's look at the new TypePad profiles first. Ever had a profile that got out of date? TypePad profiles take advantage of things you're already doing, to keep your profile up to date and interesting. If you connect with your Twitter account we'll automatically fill in your status. Leave a comment on a TypePad enabled site and we'll pull that in too. Update your profile picture and it will automatically change on every comment you've already made across TypePad enabled sites. TypePad profiles make it easy to connect with other commenters and conversations across blogs for readers and bloggers alike. And don't worry; we didn't forget the feeds, Microformats or OpenID either.
As a blogger, imagine the benefits to your readers if they are no longer "anonymous" but instead can choose to bring their photo and name with them from their TypePad profile. Commenters can also link back to a rich profile that contains their comment history, links to their own blogs, and even their accounts on Twitter, Flickr, Digg, or dozens of other services.
Open For Comment
We've also launched new TypePad comments in beta that integrate seamlessly with the new profiles. The new comment service has a sleek new interface and great features like threading, easy pagination, OpenID sign in, email notifications of replies and the ability to reply via email - all with TypePad AntiSpam built in - and is a great example of the changes we will be making to the core TypePad application in the coming months.
And now, we're combining all of this into the TypePad Connect beta. These new profiles and comments are not just available for TypePad bloggers but for ANY blogger or web site -- for free. TypePad Connect makes community management easier for bloggers with the ability to track, moderate and respond to comments across multiple sites and blogs from one dashboard or via email.
TypePad Connects Everywhere
As I mentioned above, our vision is that the best way to help TypePad bloggers is to create a service that helps them connect with their readers and other bloggers, in a more open, more powerful, and more meaningful fashion and this is what TypePad Connect is all about. We've been evolving the way that TypePad works, and today TypePad is much more than the blogging service that just celebrated its fifth anniversary, it is a service for all bloggers.
This evolution and openness isn't just limited to our technology or products — our advertising program now has more than a thousand participating bloggers, and many of them use platforms other than Movable Type or TypePad. Our Blogs.com community shows "The Best of Blogs" and many of the sites featured run on platforms that aren't made by Six Apart. Even our community marketing team (which we're calling our "Genius" group right now) has a mandate to support bloggers directly, helping anyone in the community regardless of platform.
There's plenty more coming, but please try our swanky new profiles and comments today on your TypePad blog or elsewhere via TypePad Connect! Let us know what you think and what else TypePad can do to make your blog even more successful. You can learn more about TypePad Connect, comments and profiles at http://www.typepad.com/connect/ or about using these features with your TypePad blog.
Reports From The Field
- "Thanks for coming up with such a smart solution to the journalist's dilemma! Hope we can work something out."
- "You have no idea how many questions this answers for me that I never even quite understood how to pose."
- "Dear Six Apart, thanks very much for your kind offer, glad you are getting such a great response. I've been thinking about starting my own blog, and this seems like a good and fun way to do it."
The Road Forward
Earlier today, I published the following message on our internal company blog. For those members of our community who wanted to know about the changes at Six Apart today, I've reposted it here publicly for reference.
Today we are making some changes at Six Apart. We are reducing the size of our full time staff by around 8% and are making some organizational changes as we prepare for 2009. This note is to provide some detail and context around these changes.
Everyone is aware of the challenging economic times we face. The uncertainty of 2009 has made planning very difficult but it is clear that next year looks very different now than it did just a couple of months ago. While it would be easy to just blame “the economy” for these changes, however, the truth is more complex.
This year was one of profound growth and change for Six Apart. In addition to welcoming almost 90 new people and growing to a company of over 200 employees, we launched Six Apart Services, Six Apart Media, Blogs.com, Movable Type Open Source and MT Pro, a suite of TypePad-powered products, including Blog It, Blog Link, the TypePad iPhone app and TypePad AntiSpam, and reached the final stage of the biggest technical project in the company’s history: the migration of TypePad onto a new platform. And, as you all know, we aren’t done yet, with several of our most significant product releases still to come this year.
From a financial point of view, the company continues to grow with Q4 2008 on track to be our biggest revenue quarter ever, and cash flows from our revenue, past financings, and sale of LiveJournal providing funds that will serve us well going into next year and beyond. Despite the challenging economic environment, we estimate that the depth and breadth of our products and services will allow us to continue growing revenue throughout this downturn.
So why are we doing this? First, as with many companies these days we are being proactive about keeping our expenses low. Second, with so many changes in 2008, and looking forward to the changing market 2009, we have to rebalance our organization accordingly.
We've been reminded lately that blogging was born out of the last recession in 2001 - 2002, and that during tough economic times creative voices look to powerful, cost-effective ways to connect and communicate with the world around them. With that backdrop, here are some of the organizational changes we are making and why we feel they are necessary:
- Creating Six Apart “Genius” group. We are refocusing our marketing efforts from promoting Six Apart to helping support our bloggers and clients directly. Our marketing, community, and support groups will merge to create a single team whose mission is to help our bloggers be successful. Despite the economy, or perhaps because of it, we believe that more people will be turning to blogging to promote themselves or their business, and we want to provide them with more than just great technology but also help with getting started, design, building an audience, revenue generation, and more. We are committed to having Six Apart remain the best resource for individual and professional bloggers around the world. Bar none.
- Growing Six Apart Services. Our professional services group has grown significantly as our larger clients are increasingly using Movable Type and TypePad as cornerstones of their broader online strategies. Companies have always come to us to help them compete in a modern, social Internet but now they are also looking for more cost effective ways to run their entire web sites and seeing MT in particular as a complete web content management solution. With this has come the need for more support and services. Today we will be transferring several people from around the company into Six Apart Services and have more open positions in that group.
- One hosted technology team. As we all know, the TypePad migration has been a long and arduous project that organizationally split much of the engineering and ops team around various pieces of that project. As migration completes and we move forward, we are bringing the hosted engineering, analytics, infrastructure, open platforms, and operations teams under one leader, Ben Trott.
- Moving forward with Six Apart Media. While we expect that online advertising will be hard hit by this economy, analysts still expect Internet advertising to grow and we expect that Six Apart Media will continue to grow in 2009. We’ve had tremendous response to our advertising program that we launched in April which now includes almost a thousand bloggers and continues to grow rapidly. We are committed to serving these bloggers and helping them make as much money on their site as possible in this environment. We will continue to grow our sales force and account management teams to meet this need.
The management team doesn’t take these changes lightly and agonized over this decision. However, our first responsibility is to the company as a whole and we feel these changes are the right ones to keep the company competitive, secure, and positioned for future growth.
As I’ve said several times in the past, all companies face adversity from time to time, but the mark of a great company is how it responds. Today is a day when we will be tested. A day to help one another. And a day to say some goodbyes.
Tomorrow will be about redoubling our efforts to create an even stronger focus on what's made Six Apart successful: the bloggers we support.
Thank you for all you do.
The results of the competition are in: Once again, Sarah Bunting of Tomato Nation blew every other blogger out of the classroom by raising $111,352 and helping over 19,577 students via her giving page. Sarah demonstrated the power of blogging by producing a campaign ad that asked her readers to vote with their wallets. It worked: over the course of October, 1,162 donors “voted” on her challenge.
As the sponsor of the prize for the bloggers who reach the most kids, Six Apart would like to give a shout out to Sarah and to all the winners of the Bloggers Challenge who reached the most students in each category: