Six Apart Updates TypePad Blogging Service

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Six Apart has enhanced its TypePad hosted blog publishing service with features that tap into the popularity of individual social profiles and online-activity notification feeds.

Six Apart expects that the improvements, scheduled to go live on Friday, will help its publishers form tighter bonds with their blog visitors.

"One of the trends that underlies what we're doing is that our bloggers increasingly are asking for ways of building stronger relationships with their readers," said Chris Alden, Six Apart's CEO.

One of the changes is a revamping of a years-old authentication and profile system called TypeKey, which in its new form will be called TypePad Profiles.

With this feature, bloggers and readers will be able to create rich profiles that not only contain their photos and basic personal information but also incorporate links to their memberships in other sites.

For example, a TypePad profile is able to display the user's status on the microblogging service Twitter and display a list of the person's latest comments across TypePad blogs.

"Now as a blogger you can give your readers a meaningful profile," Alden said. "It's all about helping to connect the bloggers with their readers and with other bloggers in a more substantial way."

Six Apart is also adding a new system for managing and monitoring blog comments that has a control panel interface and features things like e-mail notifications of replies to comments, as well as the ability to reply via e-mail.

Finally, Six Apart is introducing in beta mode TypePad Connect, which extends TypePad Profiles and the commenting feature to publishers in other competing platforms like Wordpress and Google's Blogger for free.

"This ties into the things we've been focusing on: revamping TypePad for the next generation but also extending the TypePad service to interconnect into a broader base of bloggers," Alden said.

There are millions of blogs hosted on TypePad, which has five subscription levels whose monthly costs range from US$4.95 to $89.95.

While TypePad is aimed at professional bloggers and small businesses, Six Apart also provides a free blog-publishing hosted service designed for consumers and for personal use called Vox.

Six Apart also makes a blog publishing product called Movable Type for people and organizations that want to have the software installed on their own machines.

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