Would AOL Powered Blogs Threaten WordPress, Typepad And Squarespace?

Filed as Editorial on May 10, 2010 6:23 pm

Blogsmith (a company AOL purchased many moons ago) is probably known mostly (if not entirely) for powering heavily visited sites like Engadget and AutoBlog (as well as many others).

While rumors surfaced in 2007 about a public launch beyond AOL’s official network (which would open up Blogsmith to the masses), nothing much has emerged regarding Blogsmith which thus far remains a “gated community.”

However with AOL facing financial woes (as they struggle to regain their former glory), we may see AOL  re-enter the blogosphere again later on this year by opening up Blogsmith to the masses (at least for a price).

Unlike AOL Journals which the company previously shut down, Blogsmith could actually become a hit with users (especially technology and celebrity fans), challenging Typepad, Squarespace and (to a lesser extent) WordPress for the hearts and minds of users everywhere.

If AOL decided to unleash Blogsmith to the masses, they would probably have to adjust their commenting style layout (which truth be told is rather basic when compared to other blog platforms) as well as provide some decent blog templates (as people will desire something fancier than the basic “block” layout).

AOL would also have to create a mobile app upon the iPhone in order compete against WordPress, Typepad, and Squarespace (the former who also boasts apps for Blackberry and Android lovers).

While it is doubtful that AOL would allow users to install Blogsmith upon their own servers, AOL could offer Blogsmith as a freemium or premium service (similar to how WordPress, Ning and Movable Type are set up).

Whether or not AOL decides to launch Blogsmith to the masses has yet to be seen, although if the former internet giant decided to invade the blogosphere with their own platform, we could see AOL regain some of its former glory (not to mention some much needed cash as well).

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  1. By Ed Dearborn posted on May 11, 2010 at 7:36 pm
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    The main benefit to WordPress is that it is very SEO friendly and easy to use. This is what will have to be developed to move people over who are die hard WordCampers. I know that WordPress has gained popularity even with the executives at Google. While there may be better features, people are particular once they become comfortable and complacent with what they are comfortable with.

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  2. By Bronto posted on May 12, 2010 at 2:09 am
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    I don’t know what AOL powered blogs would threaten in terms of WordPress or Typepad. But I do know that at this moment anyone posting on any of over two dozen AOL affiliate sites is required to provide a name and E-mail, and is assured of privacy. What they are NOT told is that a profile is immediate created linked to that email address and that the profile is listed under whatever name they naively signed up with.

    Don’t most people fill their own name in the indicated name space??????

    That profile will then contain an archive of anything ever posted on any of the affiliate sites, even if subsequently posted under a pseudonym.

    Think this sounds devious? Hold on. Each post will feature the writer’s name or pseudonym in blue type … which is a clickable HYPERLINK back to that profile with all the archived letters.

    Bad enough yet? This profile can and probably will be picked up by Googlebot within hours, thus splashing all the comments you’ve ever made in the past five years …. all over the world wide web.

    Invasion of privacy …. yep. Devious … absolutely. Both the profile and the hyperlink are sneakily inserted WITHOUT permission … the writer thinks they’re filling in a standard request for verification purposes.

    Be afraid. Be VERY afraid …..

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  3. By David posted on May 12, 2010 at 5:42 am
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    I can see why that would be a problem Bronto. What if someone wants to remain anonymous or why not just make someone anonymous and give an option for a profile.

    Non of that really matters unless they succeed, they tried to dominate the market early on and put to many controls on people that is why they failed, they should learn and keep the power in the hands of the user.

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  4. By Kathy Cook posted on May 12, 2010 at 9:07 am
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    I am very interested in the article about Blogsmith possibly launching as an open market product. I am currently writing my Masters thesis on the usability of free web-hosted Blogware and the weblogs they generate. I wanted to include Blogsmith in the study but as you say – it’s a ‘gated community’. How do I gain entry? My study is investigating Blogger.com, WordPress.com and 3 others. My study will include Hueristic Usability evaluations, summative usability testing and a perception survey. As my work progresses I will publish it at http://tvustudent.wordpress.com.

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  5. By Darnell Clayton posted on May 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm
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    @Kathy: Let me know when you finish writing your thesis (as I would be interested in reading it). :-)

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  6. By Kathy Cook posted on May 13, 2010 at 11:06 am
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    Hi Darnell, I’ve published the proposal on the blog so you can see what I am researching. Kathy

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  7. By Charles Cox posted on May 14, 2010 at 8:31 am
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    i host 5 of my blogs on Blogspot and it is really good for beginners. but if you want something with more features, nothing beats wordpress::,

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  8. By Dedicated Server Canada posted on September 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm
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    The difference between regular web hosting and WordPress hosting is that normally what you get is a shared web site hosting deal, with some space on the host server to store your website files, a certain amount of bandwidth and possibly a free domain name registration. With WordPress hosting however, the host is aware of your limited time and programming interest thus offering pre-installable blog WordPress scripts. This will allow you to set up a WordPress blog onto your web hosting account without manual installation or configuration in a matter of minutes.

    thanks for sharing valuable information……

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  9. By bike pedal posted on October 19, 2010 at 6:04 am
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    With WordPress hosting however, the host is aware of your limited time and programming interest thus offering pre-installable blog WordPress scripts

    Reply

  10. By PA Amplifier posted on December 13, 2010 at 1:01 am
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    of course every nation must respect copyright but there are third world countries that just can’t respect copyright at all “;

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