Friends Using Typepad?

Michael Krotscheck has an interesting post called Friends don’t let Friends use TypePad, which apparently ruffled some feathers and elicited a pretty venomous response from a Six Apart Vice President. I guess is part of their new plan to “compete” but statements like “TypePad simply blows WordPress.com away on SEO” and “On WordPress.com, you’re kind of moving into a bad neighborhood — by their own admission, one-third of the blogs on WordPress.com are spam” don’t exactly lend credibility. Michael responded eloquently in a comment and then again in a follow-up post. Lloyd has jumped in with some specific facts on Typepad’s (lack of) SEO. In the meantime we just turned on sitemaps for everybody on WordPress.com, a popular user request.

46 thoughts on “Friends Using Typepad?

  1. I notice that the text in that Six Apart post, “one-third of the blogs on WordPress.com are spam”, is a link to nowhere. I don’t believe we’ve ever quoted a figure anywhere near that.

    It would be a pretty pointless stating a figure like that anyway. Spam blogs are removed and new ones reappear all the time, so today’s figure would be incorrect tomorrow. Besides, any spam blog that’s still active is merely a spam blog that we haven’t found yet – how would we count it?

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  3. This is superb. Specially the article Typepad SEO blows. One thing came to me as surprise is that even if I change the url after publishing the old url works… that’s really awesome. You guys kept it secret !

    WordPress rocks and will always.

  4. When a single blog post causes a response from the vice president of a rival blogging software you know your winning. As Tony Wheeler once said, owner of the books “lonely Planet”, “dont do something for the money, do something because you believe in it and love it and the rest will follow”, i think this is typepad’s biggest fall down. Plus matt, did you mean to have the permalink say “hypepad” and not “Typepad”, kinda fitting if you think of your blog post content ;)

  5. Juicy! lol As far as SEO, I’m not sure how anything could be much better than WordPress. Now, I’m sure my site isn’t a monster, but with 500 new visitors a day and over 8,000 of my posts indexed in the search engines, I would say WordPress Rocks. I have no idea as to Typepad’s SEO. You know the saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Well, that’s my anthem. I’m loving WordPress’ SEO so much I figure I’d add bbpress too. I’ll see how that works.

  6. Wow, this is all getting quite snidey isn’t it?
    D’ya know what would be great? A demo site for wordpress where TypePad users could type in their web address and taste it in WordPress.
    I guess it’d be difficult, but ideally it would copy the styling, import grab the posts from a feed and point out all the ways in WordPress kicks ass.
    Anyone up for the challenge?

  7. One of the first steps for optimizing Typepad blogs is to get them off Typepad. I got some junky ones over there, but none of my good sites are hosted there.

    I am half tempted to write a post roasting Anil. He won an SEO contest by telling bloggers SEO are scum, vote for me.

    And now they are trying to say they are selling as though they are a SEO platform, want to offer SEO services, and SixApart wants to follow me on Twitter. Total wankerz!

  8. “When a single blog post causes a response from the vice president of a rival blogging software you know your winning.”

    I agree, we are winning when the standard is for people in the blogging industry to engage with their customers. That’s why we’ve always done so at Six Apart.

    As far as the claims about spam, the link was pointing here: http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2008/03/03/mullenweg-indicates-over-30-percent-of-blogs-are-spam

    Note: I’d clarified that days ago on Michael’s blog, but he hasn’t approved my comment yet.

    And yep, we’re all about competition. That’s why we think it’s great that our launch of Google Sitemaps on TypePad over a year ago might have helped motivate you to do better. And that’s something that lots of users have responded to.

    Believe me, we haven’t taken cheap shots, we’ve pointed out legitimate areas where we do better. No user on TypePad defaults to URLs like example.com/?p=251 — it seems to me you could focus on fixing that, or the repeated, well-documented security issues instead of taking shots like “hypepad”.

    I do respond, aggressively, when people have factual inaccuracies in their posts, and Michael’s post has more than half a dozen of them. But if you look at our track record on our own blogs, we focus primarily on the strengths of our platforms, and think you’d do well to do the same.

  9. no need to say this, but WP blows TP out of the water…i can’t stand even reading blogs that are on TP… just not friendly to the eyes 90% of the time.

    well done wordpress. i will always love you.

  10. Anil, you’re focusing on strengths of your platform while falsely saying WordPress.com is 1/3rd spam?

    With regards to sitemap support on Typepad, the blog post you link says:

    “If you’re using one of our pre-defined themes, or have customized your own with our point-and-click tools, you can automatically publish a Sitemap by visiting the Publicity page on the Configure tab of your weblog, selecting “On” in the Google Sitemap section, saving that change and republishing your blog. If you’re using Advanced Templates, you can create your own index template with a Google Sitemap based by simply following the instructions and copying-and-pasting the handy code we’ve provided in this Knowledge Base Article.”

    If I read that correctly, you either have to turn an option on, or if you have custom templates you have to copy and paste a 40 line template file in a proprietary markup language and then submit it to Google using webmaster tools, which require more template editing or file creation to verify. Even once you submit to Google Webmaster it’s a waste because sitemaps are mostly used by non-Google engines like MSN.

    For WordPress.com there are no additional templates, no buttons to click, no registration for webmaster tools required – it just works. We support sitemaps auto-discovery. I think the difference in the two processes in our “support for sitemaps” is a good illustration of the differences between the platforms. For WordPress.com users it just works, even if they don’t notice it.

    As for the spam thing, you seem to have misread a mistaken article. Perhaps I could clarify my comments?

    As quoted in the source article, we’ve deleted over 800,000 splogs from WordPress.com, an example of us being highly proactive and vigilant against splogs on the system.

    The article you link decides to divide 800,000 by 2.5 million, which was the number of blogs we had at the time, and gets the headline “30 Percent Of Blogs Are Spam.”

    There are two mistakes there, first the math is completely wrong. Instead of dividing 800k into 2.5m, you should add them, then divide. That gives you about 24%, in line with the linked Silicon Valley Insider article.

    The second problem is the logical leap from us deleting 800,000 splogs over the lifetime of WordPress.com to telling people that 30% of the blogs currently on WordPress.com are spam, or suggesting that there are 1.1 million splogs on WordPress.com. I’m assuming you had an honest misunderstanding and not malicious intent, so I hope this clears it up for you.

    Here’s another article with a good overview of splogs on WordPress.com, called Why WordPress.com is Virtually Spam Free:

    http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2007/04/09/why-wordpresscom-is-virtually-spam-free/

  11. Matt: in a proprietary markup language

    Hold on. This sounds like abuse of “proprietary” for purposes of making something sound “evil.” What is so egregious about the MT/TP template language being application-specific? Or rather, what makes it worth mentioning as an supposedly Bad Thing that doesn’t also apply to WordPress’ the_title() or any other given tag?

  12. @avril, in regards to my comment “When a single blog post causes a response from the vice president of a rival blogging software you know your winning.” i was actually aiming that towards matt, in that matt is winning. I always think of the funny Mac vs Pc advertisements when typepad comes into my head, typepad being the PC, where wordpress works out of the box and typepad being in other boxes ;)

  13. Su, as Anil said on the other entry, “Let’s talk about what normal people who aren’t PHP coders can do.”

    The implication is that MT’s templates are easier to learn and modify than WordPress’, which are PHP-based, which has been made explicitly elsewhere.

    I think this is bull — they both have a learning curve but at least at the end of WP’s you know some PHP, which is highly applicable other places. In fact MT’s templating only recently became as flexible as PHP:

    “As of MT 4.1, the Movable Type templating language is now Turing Complete. MT 4.1 introduces some new looping constructs, additional variable types (like hashes and arrays) and control flow structures like If-ElseIf-Else).”

    So what you end up with is a pale imitation meta-language that is only useful in the context of a single application, hence proprietary.

  14. Just to add to Matt’s rebuttal, the figures we quote for the number of blogs and users on WordPress.com are always counted after spam has been removed. And the spam figures we quote refer to blogs and users that have already been removed.

  15. Yes, matt you read it correctly. Typepad is less a blog, than a system to publish (and republish) static pages that they call a blog. Their permalinks are horrible… Who told them adding .html to their slug makes google like them more?

    Every enterprise customer that was suckered in to Typepad runs screaming from it months later – the rest just don’t realize what their system isn’t doing for them… yet.

  16. I’ll always use WordPress – it’s simpler, it’s free, it’s open source and it’s just friendly.
    Wordpress is the best because it’s easy. It takes, what 5 seconds to register. Plus a bit of time to confirm an email address. Then you have a blog online and ready. Sitemaps? Yes. Stats? Yes. Lots of space? Yes. Support from awesome people? Yes. And it’s all 100% free.
    I read hundreds of blogs on WordPress.com and often use the random / next feature on the headerboard thing, and I’ve not once seen a spam blog on there.

    Long Live WordPress.

  17. For months and months I have been reporting spam blogs that show up while tag surfing. I usually get a little note thanking me for the work, maybe a mention that through the same IP they found dozens more. While I’m happy to be able to do my little part the spammers at bay, it bothers me how easy it must be for them to set up spam blogs on wordpress. Can’t something be done to at least make it not worth their while?

  18. Another round of WP bashing TP…mostly pro-WP here, as far as I can tell, so I better jump in in defense of TP. Anyway, after being on both TP and WP for a year now I still cannot find a good reason to switch to WP. Not for what I want/need to do with my blog. My reasons for blogging match what TP has to offer, not WP. If the shoe fits, wear it; unfortunately WP doesn’t fit at all.

  19. Thanks Ian! We also do things on signup to stop them, but often they’re indistinguishable from normal signups until they start posting.

  20. “they both have a learning curve but at least at the end of WP’s you know some PHP, which is highly applicable other places.”

    True, but also, the universe of PHP developers is almost certainly much larger than the universe of MT developers, which means if you get stuck it’s much more likely you’ll be able to get help. (This of course is the benefit of any non-proprietary language.)

  21. [...] templates are easier to learn and modify than WordPress’, which are PHP-based

    Can I cite this to the “WP templates are not PHP!” crowd? Totally honest question. That denial has been a point of absolute confusion to me for some time.

    they both have a learning curve but at least at the end of WP’s you know some PHP, which is highly applicable other places.

    You skipped a step here. Every templating language has a learning curve; you’re stating the obvious. But let’s clarify: Are you in fact equating the two curves?
    The side-benefit of picking up some PHP is irrelevant to the actual topic at hand, and can be applied just as well to MT templating if the person wants to learn that, as well as any other language that may be of interest given their output format is not limited to it.
    (All: note I’m not saying either is simpler/harder here. I’m asking for clarification of Matt’s claim.)

    meta-language that is only useful in the context of a single application

    Two, actually, though they don’t share the complete breadth of the language.

  22. The implication is that MT’s templates are easier to learn and modify than WordPress’, which are PHP-based, which has been made explicitly elsewhere.

    I think this is bull — they both have a learning curve but at least at the end of WP’s you know some PHP, which is highly applicable other places. In fact MT’s templating only recently became as flexible as PHP:

    So what you end up with is a pale imitation meta-language that is only useful in the context of a single application, hence proprietary.

    Oh come on now, Matt, that’s just plain silly. The drive to make MT’s templating language “turing complete” was simply to allow users to use ONLY MT templating language constructs to do things like variable assignment and create control structures if they so choose.

    You know full well that PHP is and has been for 8 years completely supported in MT templates so that if you are a PHP geek, you can use that. But of course, MT makes it easy for those who aren’t as well.

    And I’m disappointed by your implication that one has to learn a whole language to modify templates. Learning PHP syntax is a hell of a lot harder for a newb than <&MTEntryTitle&> and the like.

    In any case, all of this is rather silly. Quibbling over things like this and who makes it one step easier to create a Google sitemap makes everyone look like an ass.

    I’d like to once again appeal to everyone’s maturity here. Stop with the bullshit quibbling on all sides and get on with creating the best software for your users. This is getting old.

  23. I disagree that one arbitrary syntax is objectively more or less difficult to learn to a newcomer. I think editing code in general sucks, syntactic sugar is just one piece of the puzzle. There’s a Google Summer of Code project to address some of weaker template areas in WP, but its methods thus far seem to have been okay for the many thousands of themes and theme authors out there.

  24. WP and MT are two very different approaches to one end. Coding platform inherent differences aside, the implication of greater “usefulness” of PHP over Perl sounds academic to me. Honest, which non-coder can state with a straight face that PHP is less of a tooth extraction process than Perl or vice versa? It’s gobbledygook either way. Plus, given the premise of a non-coder POV, I’m not sure it’s all that reasonable to somewhat turn around and then point at a (much) wider range of applications in PHP “out there”. True that, but for a non-coder it might as well be pure C or Python. So, I consider it a non-issue – again, from a non-coder’s POV. From the coder’s angle I’m sure there’s ample room for evangelization of PHP over Perl and viceversa, but I simply don’t care.

    No, WP’s key strength arises for me from the simplicity in the chores of deploying and maintaining a blog, both out of the box and overall. Applying a different theme in WP is pretty much a point, click, and “oooh!” process. In MT, templating has undoubtedly come a long way, but the strength of MT comes after deployment: its creation of static pages.

    Creating a fun and useful blog is, in my subjective opinion, very, very straightforward in WP, and only somewhat more cumbersome in MT, counting in steps for tweaks and customization. But once you have the misfortune of fame (via Digg or Slashdot or Boingboing) your chances of survival on a self-hosted blog are much better served with MT.

    Seriously, I think competition is healthy and it’s also very healthy to favor one’s own baby (mine’s are prettier than yours combined by the way) but there are differences that in some respects make WP preferable, and in others give MT an edge.

    I say, feud on in development – the clueless non-coding crowd adores you both all the more for it. And: thank you for the ongoing effort.

  25. When I first put a blog on my own website, I used moveable type. I thought it would be a natural step from using livejournal – which I’ve used to keep in touch with friends since 2001.

    However, as a not-excessively-technical type I found it extremely difficult to customise to my needs and wants. So much so that I started to look elsewhere.

    At the time I subscribed to several blogs which used wordpress, so I thought I’d give that a go instead. I’ve never looked back. It may not be the prettiest or most technically advanced blog ever, but I’m happy.

    Just a bit of an input from a regular user here via the ‘Other WordPress News’ link.

  26. I clearly know absolutely nothing compared to those of you who have responded to this, but for what it’s worth, I have a self-hosted WP blog AND a Typepad blog. I love WP in every respect — but my stats with TP have Google all over them. People find me, so no complaints…

  27. Just thought I’d jump in to offer my .o2 about why I use WordPress.

    I had a live journal and wanted a self hosted blog – more flexibility, more ability to put everything I wanted in one space. I looked around at the blogs I was reading and saw that they used Movable Type, so I attempted to get my blog set up with Movable Type. I struggled with it for days before giving up and wondering if there was something easier out there for someone like me who knew nothing about Perl or PHP, and just some of the basics of html. Enter WordPress. I had my self-hosted blog up and running in one afternoon. In the years that I’ve been using WordPress I have learned some PHP, plenty enough to know how to modify my blog when I want/need to. The forums have been invaluable in helping me learn. It has always worked for what I need, and am planning on using WP as I continue to expand my site because I know it will work.

  28. I think this entire conversation is mental and is making everyone look stupid. Personally, I like WordPress much more than Typepad, and I think comparing it is probably not the smartest way to do things here.

    WordPress is just a clean mix of HTML and PHP, both languages that are really extensible and usable, and WordPress has taught me 10% of PHP that I now use to code websites (yes, I’m a 11 year old. Get over it).

    Being an avid web programmer, I don’t like proprietary templates that call things. I like WordPress’s way of doing things the safe way with functions, and Typepad’s way of making people learn something new is just confusing.

    Typepad does offer support for PHP, something we should all praise, but I still like WordPress, and I think that Sitemaps is a great idea.

    However, to calm everyone dawn and bring the competition into a more equal space, I’m going to have to say something pro-Typepad: The way they do it will probably be more customizable.

    In WordPress, I have looked for a page or tab in the administration for customizing my Sitemap, like changing the importance, etc. There was none.

    That was just to make Typepad and Anil (who’s comments are backfiring, no offense) feel a bit better, but I still love WordPress and the way it is.

  29. I won’t join the MT vs WP debate here. But just like to say thanks for turning on sitemaps. Additional stuff to bother my mind if I should move my blogs that frequently get attacked by hackers (’til now with no luck) or to remain self-hosted ’til someone cracks in. :|

  30. I’m a neophyte coder – I can generally get something done with some hepl from someone far better than I. WordPress allows me to do things without too much difficulty – and for almost anything I want to do someone has made a plugin for it. I tried various other blog-engines but found WordPress that allowed me to do things faster and more efficently.
    I do still have some difficulties but there is a huge community for WordPress blogs which I have found helpful, informative and have great downloads.
    Moveable Type just confused me, made me feel ill – WordPress FTP up -> set up -> and it runs.

  31. Anil, in the spirit of focusing on our own tools, I looked into the numbers behind your blog entry showing 42 reported vulnerabilities in WordPress in 2008. I looked through the actual CVEs and it looks like there are only actually 3 — a bit of a miscount on your part. I left a comment on that entry with more info. I expect the other years are similarly inaccurate, I just don’t have time at the moment to go through them.

  32. Matt, I just now checked too for the year 2008, via this page (that link simply preselects WP as the “vendor”) and picked Jan 2008 – Dec 2008 as the time range, leaving everything else (including “product”) to “Any”, hit the “Calculate Statistics” button, and…

    … the number 42 for vulnerabilities in 2008 pops up, straight away. Rinse and repeat, the number remains the same.

    But even taking your statement as the gospel here, so: assuming that indeed the “actual” CVEs – i.e. those on which the statistics were compiled – do allow for a differentiation among three presumably real and thirty-nine apparently less real vulnerabilities, I’m curious as to why such a seemingly critical clarification isn’t mentioned on the pertinent page. Or has DHS nefariously blacked those out, too?

    Anyway – I searched for the CVE’s on NIST here and searched for “WordPress” using the same criteria (i.e. Jan 08 – Dec 08, leaving all else to “Any”) – lo and behold…

    44 vulnerabilities pop up this time (perhaps two have been added?). More curiouser yet, of those 44, none is labeled as “Low” risk according to the CVSS Severity ranking, while 27 are “Medium” risk and 17 as “High” risk vulnerabilities.

    So, either my fingers hit the “operator dumbify” button, or the DHS has been secretly awarding no-bid contracts to Six Apart to run the NVD, or: we’re looking at very dissimilar things here.

  33. Álvaro, I take more than a little offense at your tone in the first comment you left. When you made the comment “…the clueless non-coding crowd adores you both…” you were being needlessly insulting and, frankly, showing your own bias and ignorance. I consider myself one of those “clueless non-coding crowd”. I don’t make my living, or even spend a significant amount of my free time, coding. I’m a network plumber, who makes sure that date flows through the tubes the way it’s supposed to flow. But, even in my poor, clueless state, I managed to code two plugins for WordPress. In fact, I was able to figure out the PHP to do some things in WP that I spent months trying to accomplish in MoveableType’s allegedly easier to learn template system.

    If I’m a fanboy because I like a system that works and is easier for me to learn, then call me a fanboy. God knows, I’ve been called worse. And, I’ll say this, in spite of Matt actually discouraging me from donating money to WordPress, I did, because when I changed from MT to WP due to licensing issues, I said that if I ever found a blogging platform that did what I wanted and needed it to do, I would pay for it. WordPress kept its promise to me, so I kept my promise to it.

  34. What can I say… I’m sorry if, in my self-deprecating mood, I swept you along in my scathing indictment of the clueless non-coding crowd and the perils of putting “easy” scripts into our clueless little hands. However, and hopefully to your relief, I would also submit that your indicated professional engagement with the intertubes makes you an intertubes professional, which therefore naturally disqualifies yourself from counting yourself among us clueless amateur tinkerers. Of course, I’m referring to those who can’t seriously tell an echo and a print statement apart – something I feel safe to surmise that you can.

    Much more to the point, and while I honestly fail to understand why you feel my self-deprecating comment is “needlessly insulting”, your professional network job is but another link in a large chain of specializations involved in keeping the intertubes humming along, together with the likes of server admins, server OS specialists, security specialists and so on. I respect, appreciate and acknowledge all and everybody as necessary, vital contributors.

    But this isn’t about “respect”. The topic here was inspired by Michael Krotscheck’s overall fairly decent remarks, precisely from a non-coder perspective (although he’s a gifted and highly experienced designer, so not entirely clueless either, isn’t he?). With one exception: when he (in my opinion) gingerly stepped over the issue of security, with his pertaining hardly seriously pitched comment.

    Needless to say, as is certainly and very understandably the case when “big guns” like Matt and Anil get involved in a discussion on the merits of their respective “baby”, some giving and taking is to be expected. But it’s terribly disingenuous and dangerous when a topic as important as security becomes snowed in / painted over in a PR piddling match.

    Again, I claim defense in my dangerous ignorance of anything intertubed. But that doesn’t mean I’m bereft of logic, either. As expressly subjective as Krotscheck’s piece was, Anil had a point when he referred to CERT. Just as Matt has a point when he argues that core code and plugins ought to be separated, as the comparison between MT and WP clearly limps in that regard provided your evaluation criterion (also) hinges on a perspective of direct liability. If some independent author’s plugin creates a vulnerability, it’s harder to argue “weakness” than in the case of a problem with the core – which is what Matt (again, rightly) points out in his latest reply to me.

    The thing is, because WP has become enormously popular, there’s a greater risk in vulnerabilities in much the same way that Microsoft’s efforts toward security are critical: popularity attracts bad guys’ attention. And it’s bad guys that we all (both authors and the intertube pros) should work hard for to deny them as much as we can. Belittling existing, real-world issues is an act of irresponsibility, pure and simple; it’s highly unbecoming to see the enormous efforts and contributions to increasing security made (e.g. by WP and its developer community) reduced to “oh but that’s their problem” type remarks.

    After all, security of “our” blogs is a shared and immensely complex problem, where even Dan Kaminsky’s “recent” find of a DNS cache poisoning vulnerability comes into play. Let’s keep the discussion honest, is my closing statement here.

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