The big news in the blogging world today is Six Apart’s expansion out of the software and blog hosting provider fields with their announcement of a new line client services. With the purchase of Apperceptive, Six Apart gets the benefit of some of the most experienced Movable Type site builders out there, and with its new partnership with ad network Adify, presents the possibility of a complete money-making ecosystem for bloggers of every level. It’s an ambitious move, and could be very good for both Six Apart and the people who use its entire range of products, from Vox to Movable Type Enterprise.
It remains to be seen, though, exactly what shape the new services branch will take. Some smaller Movable Type developers are wondering if the provider of their software is going to be taking away their customers. I don’t see that happening because, frankly, the market is still huge, and there are plenty of other software vendors with their own client services departments that also support a thriving market of smaller client services companies. In the best-case scenario the experience of the client services department will benefit the smaller developers directly: When a Six Apart client requires some custom functionality, that functionality will make it into the developer community’s hands in some way, even if it becomes a paid plug-in and not part of the core product.
It could be quite a trick for Six Apart to juggle its related but distinct products and communities: Vox, TypePad, and Movable Type all have their target markets. And now there are the side-by-side commercial and open source versions of Movable Type, both of which are dependent on having a healthy developer community. There’s still a huge need for plug-in developers who know Perl, especially as more people move to MT4, whether the commercial version or the OS one, and find that some key plug-ins don’t work. If Six Apart shares the wealth of knowledge that they’ve gained by bringing in Apperceptive, their developer community could flourish, which would benefit everyone.
See also: An interview with 6A’s Anil Dash.
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