Business opportunities in blogville?

All software has bugs, no doubt. So pulling out one story to make a point isn't really fair. (Especially recalling the story about stones and glass houses.)

But if I looked I know I could find story after story, including some that I could write from first hand experience, about the terrible rough edges on all the software on which our much beloved blogosphere runs. And from that observation and those stories comes the premise of this post. Here's one of the stories:

"It all started two weeks ago when I undertook the “drop-in” upgrade from Movable Type 3.14 to 3.17. Well, “drop-in” is not really the word. I had made some changes to my server configuration that I thought should not affect Movable Type and, in fact, did not for version 3.14.

However, because of a change in an open source library component that is a dependency for Movable Type 3.17, my configuration broke Movable Type 3.17. As a result, Movable Type was not properly pinging the technorati server to put my tagged links in their tag repositories. There were other smaller and larger issues that I independently tracked to this same dependency." (from "The Community Engine Blog, Distributed Tagging Hell", emphases added.)

From my observation of this and many other stories, there is no blog server or service out there that I would call commercial grade. I don't see evidence that the current incumbents are going to deliver what is required.

Here are some of the requirements for that, as I see them:

  • Installs reliably on any supported server. Doesn't require administrator to be a technical wizard. Once installed, stays installed.

  • Measures up to enterprise requirements in scalability and security.

  • Integrates with other enterprise infrastructure, particularly databases, web servers, directories, access control and enablement.

  • Is self evident to the end users, requiring minimal IT support during initial deployment and longer term adoption.

My bet is that with the growing prominence and publicity around blogging, around now is a good time to start a business to build just that. 

And let's not get clever about this... It's got to be recognizably a blog server, not some crazy adaptation of an existing product that gets the word "blog" slapped onto it. And on the other hand, not some wild hybrid of blog, wiki, and knowledge management. Just a really great, industrial strength, blogging system.

I am convinced that such a beast would make money and that the time is finally ripe for it.

What is much less clear is whether it is sufficient to start a business. You know what they say: "Is it a business or just a product?" ... "Is it a product or just a feature?"

I think I will write more about this.

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Posted on July 1, 2005 and filed under Blogs, Technology.