How absurd: Six Apart, the blog-software maker which has helped so many bloggers overturn the staid, outdated conventions of journalism and PR, has tried to use an embargo to quash news of a software upgrade until 9 p.m. tonight. Mashable published the news earlier this morning, and then yanked its story. The software in question, Movable Type Pro, is an anodyne improvement, turning MT's existing commenter features into a social network. Why this news ought to be released in a coordinated fashion is beyond me; for that matter, why it's interesting is also beyond me, since Six Apart has been trying to get into the social-network business since its ill-fated purchase of LiveJournal in 2005. News.com, admirably, has kept its post online. Here's Mashable's now-unpublished report by writer Kristen Nicole:
A couple of months ago Six Apart launched a new initiative that provided custom ad options aimed to offer more engaging ways for brands to interact with content producers and consumers, thanks in part to its acquisition of Apperceptive. Things seemed to have worked well for Six Apart as a result, and the next step for the blogging software creator is a new self-service option for site publishers to add social networking capabilities to their online publications with the upgraded Movable Type Pro (MT Pro).
This combines Movable Type’s blogging platform with social networking features, which is something that many traditional and new media sites have begun to do in the past couple of years for branding purposes and additional engagement with consumers. Many traditional media companies have found this to be a challenging task given the existing crossover audience and lack of integration with publishers’ content for consumers’ purposes.
Now that companies have begun to find more productive ways of interacting with their customers online, Six Apart is capitalizing on this growing necessity with additional social networking tools that can be integrated with the Movable Type blogging platform. This will include things like social media content aggregation capabilities for users, more ways for users to share and contribute items, forums, groups, and more.
I asked Chris Alden, CEO of Six Apart, and a few of his team members how brands are hoping to use any of this user-generated content that’s coming through these newly enhanced blogs and online publications, and he mentioned that things like forums and content aggregation are quite popular, though there may not be a direct way in which brands will be using the content per say. Being part of the conversation, however, is priceless. “Even if it’s sharing content that they find interesting across the Web is contributing content,” said Alden, “aggregating is important for these larger companies. It’s not theoretical anymore. It’s real.”
Along with the new MT Pro launch, Six Apart is also releasing Movable Type 4.2, which is the most recent version of its platform. It comes with a handful of new and improved features, including enhanced performance, simplified default templates for easy “quick start” blogs, and open source TypePad Anti-spam built in.