SixApart, the creators of popular blogging platforms TypePad and MovableType will be releasing a set of new features and services for their products directly aimed at the growing business market for blog software. Currently there are a large number of corporations already publishing blogs using SixApart software and the latest releases are part of a broader strategy to better support and to grow this enterprise customer base.
The first software release to spin out of the new strategy will be Typepad Business Class, a new TypePad edition that will be suited for companies with high-traffic sites who wish to setup a blog or multiple blogs to communicate with their audience. TypePad Business Class will be launching today and will contain a number of technical enhancements over classic TypePad that are tailored for enterprise requirements. For starters there will be an improved permissions structure with up to 4 levels of administrator access which can be used to control access to all aspects of the blog (such as ability to post, comment management, design editing). They have also made it easy to setup additional blogs and to control all aspects of the corporations blog design so that it can be tailored to match their corporate identity. The storage allocation with the Business Class service will be 4GB while bandwidth allocation will be 40GB per month with the price coming in at $89.95 per month. Other plans with more storage and bandwidth allocation will also be available at higher prices.
SixApart will also accompany the technical improvements with service level agreements that will guarantee a certain level of uptime, an essential requirement if they wish to attract the big corporations onto their platform. The SLA being offered only guarantees 99% uptime (which is still 4 days a year of downtime, that isn’t guaranteed) but it is the first such guarantee from a blogging provider. SixApart will also be holding seminars to help companies start blogging, the first of these is the Blog Business Summit on March 16, 2006 in Los Angeles.
Also as part of the new business strategy MovableType will be getting a makeover with some enterprise features such as integration with LDAP directories and other authentication services, better anti-spam protection, Oracle database support (amongst others) and customizable email support. The business-grade MovableType doesn’t have a launch date or a price yet but it is currently in beta in Japan and should be out soon.
It seems that every day you hear about or see news of yet another company that has started a blog (or blogs) so capturing this interest and growth with targeted products is a very smart strategy from SixApart. At the moment these businesses who wish to blog are either setting it up themselves or engaging outside consultants, so now they have a company to go to which has a solid market share in the consumer space and a good reputation. I believe it is only a matter of time before WordPress and others catch onto this market and release their own services targeted at businesses.