One of the blogging worlds best known brands is no longer with news today that SixApart, the company behind MovableType and TypePad, has been acquired by VideoEgg.
Founded in September 2001 by husband and wife team Ben and Mena Trott, SixApart drove the first great growth wave in blogging through its blog content management platform MovableType.
After taking an initial round of funding in 2003, SixApart launched TypePad, a hosted blogging service based on the MovableType code that for many years became the most popular paid/ professional hosted blog service in the market, attracting pro bloggers and media companies alike.
The company continued to expand, acquiring LiveJournal in 2005, then later launching Vox, a social media oriented hosted blogging solution that was meant to compete with the rise of services such as Tumblr and Wordpress.com.
A critical mistake in the early history of the company was to force paid licensing on users of MovableType. It was a move I was highly critical of at the time, and it alone created the rise of WordPress, then a rarely used CMS with little interest in the blogging community, and subsequently drove the rise of Automattic. The effect of that move can’t be underestimated in the long term: although SixApart went on to be successful in other areas, its decision to cut off its community in an attempt to raise money was a mistake. A decision in later years to open source MovableType, while welcomed by many, was sadly for the company a case of too little, too late with WordPress having by that time become the defacto standard in self hosted blogging, and most importantly, the platform with the strongest (free) community development.
SixApart did attempt to branch out into new markets, including blog advertising, with mixed results. The rise of social media sites including Facebook saw a switch in the rapid growth in blogging to one of a mature market, and its products suffered at the hands of trendier, and usually free or freemium competitors.
Although the company isn’t going badly today, it’s once greatness has been sadly dwarfed by others.
Under the acquisition, the combined SixApart/ VideoEgg will be known as SAY Media with VideoEgg CEO Matt Sanchez at the helm. Statements from both companies say that they intend to retain MovableType and TypePad, however speculation is rife that at least one service may be sold off.
Regards to the team at SixApart, including the brilliant Anil Dash, Ben and Mena Trott, and the rest of the team. I may not have always been your greatest fan, but there is little doubt that without your contributions to blogging, this great space may not have risen to what it is today without you.