Social Blogging Platform Profy Launches in Alpha

logo_profy.jpgToday, we get a new blogging platform from Russian/San Francisco startup Profy. Does the world need another blogging platform? Maybe not. But, hey, give the Russians a chance. The more competition, the better. If you want to try it out yourself, we have 100 invites available here (enter “Techcrunch” in the description field). Update: Due to popular demand among TechCrrunh readers, Profy is opening up another 500 invite spots. Try not to crash their server folks.

Profy combines a WYSIWYG text editor with a feed reader and a social network of sorts. A dashboard on the start page shows your latest posts, feed items, comments on your blog, and messages. You can read your blog feeds, write posts, and find out what other Profy bloggers and commenters are reading in their feed readers (if they choose to make that public). There are all sorts of templates and layouts you can choose for your blog. (Check out this one I just set up). People on Profy are searchable as well. You can send them private messages and IMs. (See screen shots below).

It is this social aspect that could help to distinguish Profy, if enough people bother to sign up. Right now, blogs are already social in that any reader can leave a comment on a post. But imagine if you could search for any blogger or commenter and send that person a private message, or check out that persons public feed to see what they are reading. It seems like a natural evolution, bringing the worlds of blogging and social networking closer together.

That said, Profy still has a long way to go. Right now, it is pretty much a closed system. The company has plans to integrate its platform with more popular blogging services so that you will be able to live and write in Profy and then export your posts to WordPress or Blogger or Typepad. It would do well to open up its commenting and messaging systems to other social networks as well, to give people an easy on-ramp onto the service.

Here is a slide show that goes through all of Profy’s features:

Click on these screen shots for full-page views: