One of the staples of tech news sites is the liveblog — not everyone loves them, but for folks who really care about the latest iPhone launch, a liveblog allows you to follow along with every piece of news as it’s revealed on-stage. Here are TechCrunch, we use CoverItLive (which was acquired last year by Demand Media), which is okay. Still, as with any blogging product, there’s always some grumbling and speculation about whether there’s something better.
Well, it looks like CoverItLive and other liveblogging services have some fresh competition from Automattic, the company that runs the commercial side of WordPress. Automattic just released version 1.0 of its Liveblog plugin for WordPress.com VIP customers (like TechCrunch). Which makes sense: If liveblogging is a core part of blogging, even for those crazy publications that don’t focus on tech news, why not make it part of your blogging platform?
The product profile page lists features like the ability to post live updates from the front-end of your site (instead of going through the administrative dashboard), to create posts that automatically update without requiring readers to hit “refresh”, a drag-and-drop interface for adding photos, and the ability to turn any post into a liveblog. Those are all important features for a liveblog, though the last one speaks to Automattic’s advantage of integrating liveblogging into the WordPress platform — with CoverItLive, for example, you’re liveblogging on another site then embedding it on your own blog.
I haven’t had a chance to try the product out for myself — they don’t just let me install any plugin I want onto the TechCrunch site. But I’ve suggested that we try it out. You can read more about the plugin in the blog post here.
Automattic is the company behind WordPress.com, the simplest, most secure way to start web-publishing immediately on the open source WordPress platform. They also make Jetpack for WordPress, which bundles a number of social improvements to the WordPress core software as a single plugin. Automattic offers a number of products, like VaultPress and Akismet, on a freemium model so anyone can use them for free, and later have the choice to pay extra for premium features. Automattic has over 150 employees, including...