Movable Type isn't like Britney Spears anymore

VideoEgg announced today it will acquire Six Apart (creators of Movable Type). Or, depending on how you look at it, it's a merger. VideoEgg and Six Apart will form a new company, called "SAY Media." But where does that leave Movable Type?

If you read the announcement, you'll note Movable Type is mentioned nowhere. It's all about creating "a modern media company." Read: it's about delivering ads to audiences. Put more cynically, it's about the (overlapping) VCs behind the two companies dreaming about revenues worthy of a decent cash-out -- creating a social media Google, minus the search thing.

Looking at the SAY Media site that went live today, you'll have to check carefully to find Movable Type. (Hint: down below between the grey links.) It's hard to tell if there is any actual mention of the product, since the site has no search engine and hasn't been indexed by Google or Bing yet -- but I haven't been able to find it. I'm pretty certain the SAY website doesn't mention Britney Spears, either. And that should be unnerving to current Movable Type users.

The Movable Type site still showcases Britney Spears as a major reference, and through a strange coincidence, the two iconic brands have managed to coordinate their rise and fall. As Movable Type changed from free to for-fee licensing in 2004, Britney entered a difficult period in her life and career. Of course, MT still had some staunch supporters, and Britney's fans kept defending her through her ordeals as well. Then, by the end of 2007, Spears released her album Blackout, and MT went open source. Things where looking up.

But that's where the parallels end. While Blackout was a successful comeback, Movable Type's open sourcing hasn't managed to recreate the community that once was. To further fragment it, there's also a fork of the MT project called "Melody." Unfortunately, that doesn't really seem to be able to carry a tune, either. Movable Type came out in a new version 5 at the beginning of this year, but that version was long overdue and somewhat disappointing. Worse, the "enterprise" version of MT is still in version 4 over half a year later. It's a lot like releasing remixes instead of new original material.

If you're a current MT user and want to be reassured, you'll have to make do with the only quote on that I've been able to find: "Alden says that Say Media will continue to support and grow the Typepad and Moveable Type platforms." That doesn't exactly sound like the step up in pace MT would need to stay competitive.

However, if there's one thing Britney Spears could learn from Movable Type, it's conquering Japan. While Britney never managed to gain an audience there, Movable Type seems to be a popular CMS in that market. But being big in Japan alone may not be enough for a sustainable career. Unless you're firmly committed to Perl over PHP, and static publishing over dynamic, I'd suggest you go down to your local blog shop and consider some alternatives.

You can still get Movable Type, with regular bugfixes; but it's not the party it once was. The label has moved on.

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