Acquia was founded by Dries Buytaert, the creator of the open source content management system Drupal, to monetize the project offering hosting and support. Today the company launched a beta of a new service called Acquia Media Cloud and released a new version of Drupal Commons, a distribution of Drupal that comes bundled with a set of addons for building community sites.
Acquia Media Cloud is designed to help marketing and other teams manage all of their digital assets such as images, videos and other files. That is of course part of what old school content management systems were for back before applications like Drupal and Joomla made CMS more synonymous with the web and blog content management. I can’t help but see this service as competing with Dropbox and Google Drive and the scores of other cloud based file hosting/collaboration services out there. But it’s specifically designed to work with Drupal, which could be a boon for those using/planning to use it.
Drupal Commons is free and downloadable version of Drupal that’s customized for companies wanting to build interactive custom-facing websites such as blogs and user forums. Version 3.0 Acquia adds templates designed for mobile users, expanded features for moderators and what amounts to a recommendation engine for content stored in Drupal. The moderator user experience has been completely revamped, and admins will now be able to give moderation permissions to community members, essentially outsourcing some work like spam-policing to the public. This is noteworthy since Acquia has been beefing up its anti-spam tools lately. In August it acquired Mollum, a spam filtering service for blog comments and other user generated content.
The news follows the announcement of Badeville’s gamification platform Drupal, which makes it possible for site admins to award users with points and badges.
These new releases are part of an initiative Acquia calls “Open Web Experience Management,” or OpenWEM. The goal of the iniative is to unseat proprietary social software vendors like Jive and Get Satisfaction. Acquia is banking on Drupal’s open source nature to provide an edge in this crowded market.
Drupal itself is a powerful and flexible foundation, but much of its power comes from addons (called “modules” in Drupal parlance). Offerings like Commons, which simply the process of selecting and installing plugins, may make Drupal a more attractive option for companies seeking to avoid being locked into a proprietary software-as-a-service.