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Say: Six Apart + VideoEgg

The story has completely broken now (TechCrunch, GigaOM, NY Times) that Six Apart is being is being acquired by VideoEgg, and the combined entities are going to be called Say Media and focus on advertising. This is bittersweet news as Six Apart, with their platforms, has always been Automattic’s and WordPress’s most direct competitor, with Movable Type equivalent to WordPress.org, Typepad (and Livejournal and Vox) to WordPress.com, Typepad anti-spam to Akismet, Typepad Connect to IntenseDebate. I’ve always thought of them like our big brother — they created the marketplace and introduced the concept of blogs to countless people, and still to this day employ 2-3x the number of people at Automattic. (And, it follows, probably do more revenue than us.) I remember many aspects of Six Apart’s history vividly: Anil joining Six Apart in 2003. The 3.0 licensing change and Mark Pilgrim’s Freedom 0 essay, a few weeks later when I first met Ben and Mena on my first trip to San Francisco, visiting Six Apart’s old old digs in an office park somewhere. They had clocks on their walls where their different employees were and I thought that was the coolest thing. Jay Allen joining MT. Typekey launch! The Salon feature. The acquisition of Livejournal. Yadis née OpenID. Their big series B. Mena’s TED Talk. Project Comet which launched as Vox and frankly had me freak out. Acquisition of Rojo (with Chris Alden later becomeing 6A’s CEO). Typepad introducing Pages. Livejournal sold to SUP. The tift we got into around WordPress 2.5. On stage with Steve Jobs at launch of app storeBuying Pownce. (Some of this is out of order.) About a year ago something changed and the Typepad (and Blogger) team really started to hit a groove and seemed to be launching significant, well thought out, and social features on a near-weekly basis. On a feature-for-feature basis the Big Three are closer than they’ve ever been. The tech press is fickle and these launches get almost no coverage, but for each platform’s respective users they’ve been really meaningful. The new company is not getting out of the platform business. Their position is incredibly strong in Japan and I get the sense that’s where the center of gravity for Movable Type development has been for a while. But their primary focus (and revenue) is shifting, and I think that is great for the market as a whole. I would be really sad if Adsense continues to be the best best the world can come up with with regards to advertising on blogs, and now in Say you have the quiet execution monster of Videoegg combined with some of the folks who understand blogging better than anyone else in the world, and my hope is that Automattic’s work with dovetail with Say’s more than ever. VideoEgg, for now, is actually a great example of a site using WordPress as a CMS. (View its source.)