Blogging Firm Shifts Management, Makes Acquisition

  |  July 15, 2004   |  Comments

The changing of the guard is seen as a sign of the company's maturation.

In a sign of maturation in the blogging space, software firm Six Apart has named a new CEO, acquired a European competitor and expanding its offerings in Japan.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Six Apart said its twentysomething co-founder, Mena Trott, has stepped down as CEO, remaining as president. Barak Berkowitz, a 20-year business veteran, member of the company's board of directors and acting CEO for the last six months, has taken her place.

Trott founded the company in 2002 with her husband, Benjamin Trott, who remains as CTO. "Young CEOs exist, but I doubt they exist without help from experienced elders (I just had to use that word)," the former CEO posted on her blog.

"People pooh-poohed the blogging space, saw it as a hobbyist world, just cute little diaries, at first," Berkowitz said. "Now it's being used in business and as a communication tool for media sites, politics, any number of people who want to communicate with other groups of people."

Andrew Anker is joining the company and assuming the role of EVP of corporate development. Anker was the co-founder and CEO of Wired Digital and most recently was a general partner with venture capital firm August Capital.

Six Apart also acquired Paris-based Ublog, a provider of blogging tools and hosting services in Europe, which extends its overseas reach. Ublog, distributed in French, Spanish and German, will change its name to Six Apart EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa). Loic Le Meur, the former owner of Ublog, will become the general manager of Six Apart EMEA. Six Apart would not disclose the purchase price.

The company also expanded its reach in Japan, saying it would provide its TypePad blogging service to Hitachi, Japan's largest manufacturing company.

Six Apart already provides TypePad to Nifty, a Fujitsu-owned ISP, and NTT Communications OCN, a broadband ISP owned by telecommunications company NTT, in Japan. Also, the company will now be selling TypePad Japan, a version of its blogging service tailored for Japanese users.

TypePad, which will be sold by Hitachi as Boxer Blog, is a service that makes it possible to set up and maintain a blog easily and quickly.

TypePad Japan, launched this week, has a Japanese interface and customer service in Japanese. It can be purchased in Japanese currency and is priced similarly to its U.S. counterpart, which runs $4.95 a month for the basic version, $8.95 for Plus and $14.95 for Pro, with a discount for a full year's commitment.

"People have been playing with these ideas and trying to figure out tools to help people express themselves for a long time. Now they have clearly come to fruition," Berkowitz said.

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