The new editor: Better than ever, thanks to you!
We Love Bloggers, We Love TypePad, We Want to Hear From You

Six Apart and VideoEgg create SAY Media: a modern media company

Dear TypePad bloggers,

It's been almost a decade since we started Six Apart. With you, the bloggers and creators, we changed the way people expressed themselves online, empowering anyone to publish and build large and loyal audiences. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support and trust as you've shared your worlds and your passions on TypePad.

Today we announced our intention to join forces with VideoEgg to form a new, modern media company called SAY Media. This new company will continue Six Apart's mission to make creators like you more successful. It will continue to help you create powerful and engaging content, and grow and monetize your audience. And it will continue to leave you in control.

Nothing in TypePad changes today, and SAY Media will continue to provide support to TypePad subscribers, and evolve the TypePad platform. You can choose to take advantage of our strong relationships with marketers to monetize your blogs, or you can keep your blog ad-free.

This acquisition marks a new beginning, but SAY Media is also an evolution of how we've already been growing TypePad for the past few years; now we'll be able to do it on a much larger scale. We will be able to better serve you and the advertisers that may ultimately fuel your voice and finance your passion.

As we move forward, we will continue to have active roles in the new company. We hope you will join us, as you always have, in shaping our future.

With gratitude for your continued support,

Mena & Ben Trott
Co-Founders
Six Apart Ltd.

 

Comments

Dick


FROM MICHAEL SIPPEY

'Hey, Dick -- thanks for your comment. It's been a long couple of days, but let me see if I can explain our point of view on monetization, and why we think it can be a good thing for bloggers and for TypePad'.

Hi Michael. Thanks for your prompt response to my comment.

'One of the things that we've recognized as a company the past couple of years is that blogging is evolving, and that the needs of bloggers are evolving. And something interesting that's happened concurrently is that brands and advertisers woke up to the fact that *this* is where passionate people are spending their time -- reading and writing blogs. So what we did when we created Six Apart Media is to help bloggers take advantage of both of those trends -- a lot of bloggers wanted to profit from their efforts, and a lot of advertisers were interested in reaching those bloggers and their audiences'.

Yes, blogging is evolving and the needs of bloggers are evolving too. I'm aware too that the advertising industry is now dynamically aware of the potential of this flourishing market. The one is not, however, the natural corollary of the other and I, amongst many (as witness the near 100% dissent evident from the other comments), deeply regret the association that you have formed with a purely commercial outfit whose interests in blogging and bloggers is entirely extrinsic. Regular bloggers are, by and large, educated, enlightened and independently-minded individuals who value greatly the initiative, enterprise and independence of their chosen blog hosts. When those qualities are threatened, we get worried (as witness the near 100% dissent etc.).

'The folks at VideoEgg see the world similarly, though they've come at it from a different angle. They started with the marketers and brands, whereas we started with bloggers and publishers. The one thing that's become clear to me over the course of this process is that they really, honestly, do understand and appreciate independent bloggers and what they do....even if those bloggers *aren't* interested in making money from their blogs'.

It's my guess that the folks at VideoEgg do not see the world similarly to those bloggers who responded to your post (as witness near 100% dissent etc. etc.) Call me an old English cynic, but it's my guess that the folks at VideoEgg understand and appreciate solely that - to coin an old American saying - when money talks, no one walks and that a well-subscribed blog will make an excellent cash cow. With the greatest of respect, please don't insult the intelligences of those independent bloggers who, in the good old days of independent Six Apart, selected Typepad to host their independent blogs by suggesting that your takeover is in our interests. Expect instead the next stage of the blogging evolution: the setting up of a truly independent blogging host by the independent bloggers themselves. I'm not savvy enough to participate in that process, but I'll shift bag and baggage in a heartbeat the moment it happens.

'I agree with you that we're going to have to do more than talking. What I can tell you is that we're listening to the feedback here, and that the TypePad product and engineering teams are working hard on making the TypePad platform better, faster and stronger'.

Thanks for listening, Michael, but it ain't gonna change a thing, is it?

Amy Flynn

Well this merger certainly explains the haste to launch the new Compose Editor before it was fully de-bugged and troubleshooted or had all features loaded. The buy out contract likely had a clause that stipulated that TypePad complete all upgrades, modifications and enhancements before sale.

TypePad has never rushed anything out this prematurely. And notice there is no ability to toggle back and forth to the "old editor" to provide a period of adjustment. [Interesting. And we bloggers did not smell the coffee from the beans!]

Hopefully this disregard for what is best for it's blogging customers is not an indication to come of how SAYMedia will treat the bloggers and was just haste to ensure the deal did not fall through.

I request that TypePad and VideoEgg and the newly formed SAY Media inform us BEFORE things are put into place. I'd like to request a FORUM be established where our concerns and desires and hopes and dreams for our blogs can be heard. (What a novel idea.)

No, this blog is NO that forum No, HELP Support tickets are not it either. An open forum where polls could be taken about new ideas and suggestions made would be it.

This would support SAYMedia who's run by VideoEgg, who has never run a business of customer publishers. VideoEgg was built to cater to the ADVETISERS and grabbing their dollars by placing flashy ads in optimal real estate online. TypePad is a business that earned it's income from private publishers renting real estate online from them. Advertisers versus Publishers. Two very different customer demographics and needs.

The opportunity for a merging of the two is obvious, but WHO will come first, whose needs will be taken care of? Will the publishers be taken care of equally as well as the advertisers? And what about the publishers whose online real estate is not as valuable as the next guy's?

I sincerely hope that Ben Trott and Mena Trott really do stay involved and oversee the operation of the TypePad portion of SAYMedia because VideoEgg has no idea how to run a business of bloggers.


LOLOLOLOL .. I'm hysterical.. I keep calling VideoEgg ... NewEgg! Well they could do worse! :-D

Amy Flynn

Hi Dick.. do you realize that what you describe above...

"Expect instead the next stage of the blogging evolution: the setting up of a truly independent blogging host by the independent bloggers themselves. I'm not savvy enough to participate in that process, but I'll shift bag and baggage in a heartbeat the moment it happens. "

Is EXACTLY how Mena and Ben Trott set up SixApart Media? Mena was a die hard blogger and Ben a techie. Together they knew what it took. So your idea has been done. But now they have sold out becuase providing a blogging platform was obviously not lucrative enough for their needs.

Amy Flynn

Look! TypePad and VideoEgg collaborated in 2005, so it seems they are old friends... maybe this might make us feel better? ... . This was before VideoEgg went to the dark side with pop up video advertising... :-P

From PCWorld.. (2005)

VideoEgg, TypePad Look to Popularize Video Blogging

By: Elizabeth Millard * 10.26.2005


Hoping to spur more bloggers into using video for their online diaries, VideoEgg Inc. is integrating its video publishing technology with blogging company Six Apart Ltd.'s TypePad service.

The VideoEgg Publisher simplifies the process of video encoding and posting by displaying video in a Flash-based online viewer that doesn't require external software like Windows Media and QuickTime.

Looking to start a corporate blog? Click here to read how (or whether).

Registered TypePad users will be able to use the VideoEgg Publisher for free to upload videos from camcorders, Web cams and mobile phones without having to navigate export settings, incompatible player versions or conflicting video software. Currently, the publisher is only available for Windows-based bloggers, but a Mac version is in the works and should appear soon, according to VideoEgg.

"People have been used to posting photos on their blogs, but video has been more complicated because of different formats and readers," said Kevin Sladek, a VideoEgg co-founder. "What we've done is built a universal adapter that can accept all different kinds of video, and publish them in a format that anyone can watch."

With the service, VideoEgg and TypePad expect that many more bloggers will now incorporate video into their blogs, in much the same way that they include photos.

Account Deleted

I think you people Mena & Ben Trott are doing a great job. After reading your article I gained a lot of information and nice ideas. Keep doing honorable work like that one.

http://www.empster.com

Ellen Gunty

OK, I am going to part company with my more skeptical fellow bloggers & say, "let's wait & see" before being quite so dubious. Like everyone else, I have had issues with the so-called "improvements" that weren't in the past but this is a new direction. It does not necessarily mean that the things we all like about this platform will be gone. I'd say before yielding to the "Siren Songs" of other platforms, give this new company a chance; that's my plan for now anyway.

Colleen

Geo, I'm not really sure there's anything I can say that will make you feel better and I apologize for that.

I will say that the main thing we've been struggling with TypePad is lack of resources. Meaning, engineers and QA folks to really nail out new features. This has been super frustrating for subscribers and equally frustrating for US. One thing to look forward to with this merger is that there will be more resources directed at TypePad.

I hope that you'll keep an open mind about this. No one is more cynical about change than I am but with the conversations we've been having since the announcement and what I've seen from our CEO, as well as Ben and Mena and the folks at VideoEgg, I'm pretty confident that this is a GOOD thing, for TypePad and for those of us who work on it.

Colleen

Fox, we know that people are suspicious of mergers liket this and that's fine. But I don't think it's fair to say that we're "duping" anyone. We didn't say that nothing will change. It's quite possible that there will be changes but we are committed to developing TypePad and making it even better. I'm not sure how realistic it is to think that a service, especially an online service, would never ever change.

We hope you'll stick with us through the merger but if not, best of luck to you.

David Jacobs

Hi Amy - lots going on here! I'm the VP of Product for TypePad. I think it might be faster for us to talk through your concerns directly - you can reach me at djacobs@sixapart.com

Thanks,
David

Geo

Colleen, I'm happy to keep an open mind about what this situation means for us, your customer base, and I am hopeful that I will not have to abandon ship and move 3+ years of posts to another service. However (and, yes, there's always a 'however'), you have to understand that this announcement - especially on the heels of the hotly contested 'new editor' issue - could not have come at a worse time because tensions were already high. And all it really does is consolidate the fears and apprehension that TypePad/Six Apart have started to turn its back - or at the very least a blind eye - to the needs and desires of its customers.

And the contradictory messages coming from within the Six Apart/SAY camp, whether it's the fact that small-time bloggers - the so-called 'regular people' - are apparently being considered as non-essential in favour of those 'building media businesses' or to find that SAY *expect* to lose customers, are not at all heartwarming. For SAY to state 'The kinds of people we want to work with are emerging media personalities' is hardly a consumer-centric or consumer-friendly stance. And as I mentioned previously, to say bloggers don't want new technology and better tools is absurd when this is *precisely* what Six Apart customers have been begging for.

And nothing instills less confidence in the potential fate of us 'regular people' than watching three and a half minutes of corporate non-speak from the talking heads at SAY prattling on in effusive buzzwords about the new direction. It leaves me cold and utterly unenlightened and sad that I just lost three minutes of my life hearing about 'driving scale across a larger buy.'

How about explaining in English what's going to happen next?

The concerns over monetising are secondary to me, as I've had ads on my blog for some time though they've really done nothing in terms of 'performance.' As one of the now unwanted minorities of 'regular people who write a blog for fun,'I want to know what to expect in terms of changes to the blogging platform itself, *when* to expect anything to happen, and what impact this change will have (if any) on us non-essential people so we, too, can stratagise and plan for the future.

DS De Carvalho

Sigh.

I've been with typepad for 4 years {soon to be five}. I have all my blogs (3 in total) on this platform. I'm so mad that I stayed with the platform, because of my need for convenience, it's now costing me a pretty penny to migrate, because Typepad doesn't make it easy AT ALL. Your images stay on their servers, which is very bad for a image heavy blog like mines. The only REAL progress Typepad has ever made, since I've been a customer is allowing you to change urls, something other platforms allowed and did for years.

Has it all been bad? No. I'm one of those bloggers who has turned her passion into a media business. I'm a writer by trade and designer, so I combined both skills to create jobs for me. I don't like someone telling me I need to want ads, even if it's up to me. For a very long time there were no ads on my blog. It's only in the last year and half that I have a minimal amount of them. It seems to me that SAY media is nothing more than a Glam media or something of a hybrid of it, especially with all of this network of publishers talk, which I'm sure like most of these companies means you'll get a cut of the profits.

I'm not going to sugarcoat this. I will be moving platforms. I have no choice. Typepad has stopped evolving. This bit of news about SAY media has solidified that it's Wordpress or bust! I wish I didn't have to, but if you expect me to adhere to your 25K a monthly unique visitors just to get on board with your new platform, then yeah tchau. Even if I had those numbers I'm not interested. Evolve the platform seriously and make it robust, allow it to be flexible and perhaps I would.

I just can't sit by and give you my money anymore. And the CEO from SAY Media worries the hell outta me. Typepad seems to be grasping for straws and sadly it seems like this is some last ditch effort to salvage what was ONCE a great platform.

Plaid Cactus

I read the above comments, and it strikes me that what Six Apart has found is a way to infiltrate every blog, and use it for advertising dollars, much like my Yahoo account where advertisements run constantly in tandem with my chat window. You wouldn't be trying to take advantage of those of us who have chosen TypePad for its ease of use, would you? I guess it's a numbers game. Bigger gains at the expense of a few losses. Most of us are smart enough to see that we aren't generating the dollars that 6A is after, so by marketing every blog to potential advertisers, you increase your bottom line. You're playing the odds that people are greedy and might see something in this for themselves. You think that with established accounts, bloggers will simply play along with the new gimmicks, in order to maintain readership and not have to deal with moving to another platform.

Comments like 'nothing in TypePad changes today' and 'I'm pretty confident that this is a GOOD thing for TypePad and for those of us who work on it' do nothing to instill my confidence. I know a qualifier when I see one. I think I heard something similar earlier this year. It reminds me of a comment made earlier this year, 'we'll have to pass the bill to find out what's in it'. Hey, Ricardo. My gut feels funny, too.

I have only been blogging for a few months, so its no skin off my nose to wait and see what alterations you make to your current offerings. I find it hard to believe that 6A would make such a leap without making advertising, in some form, all-inclusive. We may get to opt out of blog-related ads, but I'm betting there will be some form of advertisement on every page. For me, TypePad is a no-brainer, but if my blog is infiltrated with advertisements, especially if I'm paying $15.00 a month, a little more effort at Blogger or Word Press won't be a problem.

gnome

Quite a thread. I've got a somewhat different take on it.

From long experience, I've found that whenever someone running something (a business, a university department, a non-profit, an online business) says "we're excited about Thing X happening" it really means:

"We're going to make this change. It's a done deal. Period Don't like it? Did we say 'that's the way it is'?."

I've worked in all those areas, and I've been on the web since before it was the web: arpanet and bitnet.

I'm sure there are exception. It would be nice to think Typepad will be one of them. But as a poker player (REAL poker like Five Card dDaw, not that quasi-gin-rummy thing called Texas Hold'Em), I bet with the cards I've got. Looks like "one of a kind" to me.

Reference was made above to movabletype.com -- the post now up there says even less than what's been published here. There's a lot to like about MT -- but I got the very strong impression it was just sitting on the vine. Very little updated of any significanceSooner or later to drop off. So much as I wanted to take it seriously, I went to other high-end CMS solutions.

Same thing here. When was the last time a new theme/template went up? That there was something which made users think "wow, I want to tell the world about TypePad"?

Places like Squarespace and Posterous and even, gasp, Blogspot, are nipping at your heels.

Like a lot of others have already said, I've nothing against monetization. But increasingly, and not just here, there's the really nasty development of groupthink, that the only web presence to be taken seriously is a monetized one. People who do it for love, or refusing to take freebies and have their credibility compromised -- we just don't seem to count.

No amount of saying "we're excited" is going to change this. Actions speak louder than words. SixApart has been doing plenty of actions, and none of them recently show that SixApart is excited about having us non-monetizing types.

%%robert

Davis10runner

graphic art is the small biz take on post modernism. makey money and everyone has fun. think women empowerment meets urban etiquete

dan cautrell

Hmmm...Cimmorene, I am in your boat...Nice to meet you...It was quite a shock to get a 30 day notice from Vox, expecially, after I had just printed 1000 postcards designed to drive people to my blog. Anyway, here we are. Good luck with your "fun blogger" adventure...

dan cautrell

Ha, I'm new to Typepad...Our Vox Nation was destroyed by an act of God...Please send cash...

Account Deleted

i like it jimmy thanks
http://earabicgirls.blogspot.com

lightfootletters

Vox was the best site I have used, from every aspect. The only site that was actually worth paying for. Why didn't you merge Typepad into Vox.

Catherine Arrow

I too have read through all the comments and followed the links as well as taking a quick look at the Six Apart Wikipedia entry - the last paragraph of which is particularly interesting - and in all of the discussions, I can find no clear or absolute indication as to whether or not the future of Typepad is a stable one. Just a lot of chirpy, happy, 'pat-them-on-the-head' style responses.

As a paying customer since 2006, the blogs I run are used primarily in education, they have low numbers (because of their intent) or they have very specific groups of people engaging with them, so they fall far outside the ambitions of the new Say Media company.

Of course, Six Apart and Typepad were/are commercial concerns, but as everyone knows, if today's organisations lose the trust, loyalty and support of customers, damaging their reputation through poorly executed or confused communication, then commercial success is curtailed or evaporates.

I think you need to provide your customers with some definite assurances, timelines or clear indicators as to the progression (and continuance) of service at Typepad. This has not been done so far and, looking at what is being said and discussed, it feels as though Typepad will be kept active on a 'marking time' basis until Say Media gains the critical mass and revenues it is looking for in the 'creator' space. Really, you need to give a clear 'yes or no' on the long term future of Typepad, not just for the benefit of your long term customers, but for the future credibility and longevity of Say Media - after all, who is going to join and trust an organisation which begins its life indicating that it has a penchant for quick discard in favour of a stated focus on 'monetization'?

Fix it up, sort it out, tell it like it is and at the very least, give your many smaller users an effective time period in which to plan or determine what to do next. As the very first comment stated: "My gut feels funny"...

Littleviews

I'm coming to this discussion a bit late (November 16th). First, congrats to Mena & Ben! I had no idea that TypePad was such a personal enterprise.

I actually have two regular websites and don't like the word "blog" at all, but, like with the change taking place with this organization, have learned to live with it.

I am now very interested in what SAY Media has to offer. I've never wanted to have Google or Yahoo ads, so it'll be interesting to see what they have to offer.

Note that I worked for Nelson Media for a year (contract help), observing it more or less cra$$$$$$$$$h and burn before it even took off, so I must say that the TypePad founders have done a better job of managing their enterprise. Let's hope SAY can do the same.

What I want in a (blog - ick ick ick) publishing service are specific features that allows me to manage articles, photos, and other media, plus email marketing. As a programmer, I can "do it myself," but doing so takes a lot of time. I rather be out and about than looking at my monitor, but I digress.

I think that prices are WAY TO LOW for advertisers to take advantage of quality content and that there should be a way to better match the intent of advertisers with niche writing. Just blowing out advertising catch-as-catch-can isn't a good idea. Also, in a paper publication the idea was that the advertiser supported the publication. Today, the advertiser doesn't appear to give a damn - just hits. Passive advertising might work that way, but active advertising does not. The advertising needs to serve the publication's purpose and I hope SAY takes a look at that model, rather than just grabbing eyeballs.

I certainly hope TypePad grows into an even more robust platform and, hey, it never hurts to be exposed to (as well as "pocket") money.

The comments to this entry are closed.