Terra/Lycos Blog Builder
Lycos launches its ad campaign today for blog.tripod.lycos.com, the first of many majors to enter blogspace. Their What is a Blog page says: "Blogs are text based and no HTML is required to set them up or to edit them -- just fill out a form!" Makes it sound like something I want to do with my time.
Excerpts from a WSJ article on the mainstreaming of blogspace:
...Terra Lycos, based in Spain, hopes the new service will drive growth in subscribers to its paid Tripod service, which charges $4.95 to $19.95 a month and offers other features such as Web publishing tools, e-mail accounts and domain names.
"Terra Lycos wants to step out front ahead of Yahoo in getting blogging as a core feature for users," said Greg Bloom, a senior analyst with Nielsen//NetRatings (a vendor to Lycos). He added that should Yahoo offer blogging in the future, he expects the Sunnyvale, Calif. company to charge for the feature.
An AOL spokesman said the company is looking to introduce a blog product, with a "spring timeframe." A Yahoo spokeswoman said, "We have not to date announced any plans to introduce this medium as part of our service offerings."
Terra Lycos will advertise the product starting Wednesday (Today) through direct marketing and online ads. The company wouldn't disclose how much it cost to develop the service nor how much it will spend on marketing.
...Mr. Bloom said. "This is something that is going to go mainstream."
Terra Lycos hopes that many of its users will sample the new product. As of last Sept. 30, the company had 5.3 million registered subscribers for all its products, 2.5 of whom are paying. Terra Lycos doesn't break out its subscriber data by unit. Besides Tripod, other fee-based divisions include Lycos Finance, MatchMaker.com and Lycos InSite (a paid listing service for search engines).
Pyra Labs will have to contend for the first time with a large competitor in the blog world, but Jason Shellen, director of business development, says he is unconcerned. "Blogging is still a pretty big space, and there's room for lots of players in the blogging world," Mr. Shellen said. "We're working on some unique things that will take blogging further. Whether or not big companies pick up on the growing trend, I think we'll still do well." He said over a million people have started a blog with the company's software, and that 15 to 20% of those were regularly updated. He wouldn't say how many people are paying the $35 annual fee for the company's premium blogging tool, called Blogger Pro, which was introduced a year ago...
Some well-known Web publishers, including Salon Media Group, have set up blog services. Scott Rosenberg, managing editor of Salon.com, argues that sites with distinct identities may be able to charge for blogs, but broader portals may not.
Mr. Rosenberg noted that a lot of free blogging software is already available, meaning big portals like AOL and MSN may find it hard to charge. "For the people who chose to [pay] at Salon, it's more about the affiliation with what we do editorially."
Salon Blogs charges members $40 per year for software; since its inception in July, about 1,000 people have signed up.
Terra Lycos said it plans to add more features for premium customers based on user comments, and also to introduce a more basic version of the Weblogging tool for its nonpaying members within a few months.