Trellix buys Blogger.
April 15, 2001 5:50 PM   Subscribe

Trellix buys Blogger.
posted by owillis (66 comments total)
from the press release:

Did Trellix buy Pyra?

No. Trellix and Pyra have signed a technology licensing deal and consulting agreement. Pyra is pursuing other beneficial partnerships as well.

posted by will at 6:11 PM on April 15, 2001

I'm not sure "buys" is the right word, but I'm sure someone who knows for sure will clarify.

The New York Times puts it this way: "The Trellix Corp., which lets clients like provide site-building tools and Web server space to their users, will announce Monday that it has licensed Pyra’s Blogger technology for an undisclosed sum." (From tomorrow's paper; no link yet.)
posted by luke at 6:11 PM on April 15, 2001

(Semi-)inside scoop, Matt?
posted by jpoulos at 6:19 PM on April 15, 2001

Was this supposed to be published already? It's talking like April 16th (tomorrow) is in the past...
posted by pnevares at 6:38 PM on April 15, 2001

(Semi-)inside scoop, Matt?

Bricklin's page has more than I ever heard about.
posted by mathowie at 6:43 PM on April 15, 2001

Congrats to Ev on this. I'm looking forward to seeing if Pyra's focus will be to sell to businesses or individual consumers. I vote for staying focused on product dev, selling to business, and let someone else licence Blogger to sell to individuals.
posted by Calebos at 6:45 PM on April 15, 2001

Press releases are traditionally sent out after the business day for general release with the next business day's date on it, so theorhetically, this could have been sent out Friday night without being scoopish...
posted by fooljay at 6:46 PM on April 15, 2001

A couple of things:

1. Monday's a holiday in Massachusetts (Patriots Day). Is it odd that they'd release news when, I imagine, the office will be closed when it hits?

(2. I'd been to Dan Bricklin's log before and thought, "Hmm, he looks sort of familiar." Then today I saw the "Concord, MA" dateline on the story. I grew up in Concord and now work in Concord 1/4 mile from the Trellix offices on Baker Ave. I'd apparently seen Dan Bricklin around town. I knew he looked familiar. Odd, no?)
posted by MarkAnd at 7:24 PM on April 15, 2001

I can't imagine Trellix would be closed for Patriot's Day, do you? I only remember missing school for Patriot's Day, never work. I thought it was only state offices and such that closed.
posted by megnut at 7:27 PM on April 15, 2001

Maybe not. I work in *gasp* the insurance industry tangentially and most of the big Massachusetts insurance company offices are closed on Monday.
posted by MarkAnd at 7:34 PM on April 15, 2001

Large parts of the Boston area are effectively paralyzed on Patriot's Day because they close 26 miles of roads for the Boston Marathon. (But that's all south of the Charles River.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:53 PM on April 15, 2001

The big questions are how this affects Blogger users like myself. Will this prevent future congestion due to lack of servers? Will this allow Evan to add new features to Blogger? Will this allow Evan to beef up staff? What about Blogger Pro?
posted by shackbar at 11:51 PM on April 15, 2001

I just think it's all cool, all around -- good for Pyra, good for Trellix, and good for us users.
posted by lia at 1:25 AM on April 16, 2001

I think the entire deal is pretty snazzy, as it gets Pyra out of the difficulties of the past months. I just feel for the ex-Pyrates who did such a fantastic job developing Blogger.

As Ed (calebos) said above, I'm looking forward to seeing more product development(!)
posted by williamtry at 2:03 AM on April 16, 2001

My impression here is that this means money for Pyra (through the licensing deal) that Pyra can use to maintain its own public servers. Meanwhile, Trellix gains the right to set up independent private Blogger servers which it will open up to its partners -- for example, The only thing that looks affected, maybe, is

I can't imagine a deal that feels better. Thanks, Trellix!

I have to note that I laughed out loud when I saw Bricklin's story starting in 1985. (Pyra began with the birth of a young man in Nebraska ....) I actually remember when that deal with Lotus happened. I wasn't in the business then, though.

Hey, did everyone notice? Pyra didn't flip.
posted by dhartung at 2:23 AM on April 16, 2001

To what extent do you imagine that Trellix have done this for the PR? I would have thought that Blogger has a two-pronged synergy for potential suitors; a good product, with code etc, and a vast army of web-aware users who take an interest in Pyra's developments. I didn't know who Trellix were this morning...did you?
posted by ecvgi at 5:31 AM on April 16, 2001

I can understand people not knowing about Trellix, but I'm surprised at how many people don't seem to have heard of Dan Bricklin. He's one of the pioneers of the PC software industry; he developed VisiCalc, the first computer spreadsheet application, way back when. One of the better possible choices for someone to back Blogger, IMHO.
posted by harmful at 6:24 AM on April 16, 2001

Not only the first computer spreadsheet application, but also Apple's first Killer App. VisiCalc made the Apple a viable business machine.

But then, if you're not a multi-billionaire, you're not a computer celebrity, so I can understand how Bricklin's a reasonably obscure name.

It's a licensing deal from the sounds of it.

The big questions are how this affects Blogger users like myself.

It means there's a much better chance that Blogger will be around for you (and me! :-) to use. It means that Pyra's making money, actually selling the software to a corporation, which is big.

A client like Trellix establishes a level of corporate credibility for Pyra, and an association with Pyra creates community credibility for Trellix.

3 months too late. Kind of bitter-sweet.
posted by cCranium at 6:40 AM on April 16, 2001

The Trellix software is well worth checking out - I don't think it got as much recognition as it deserved when it came out - and they've gone the partnering route to make money (that said, I was responsible for buying a few copies.) It's a great tool for putting together pages together quickly, provided you want to use the kind of site structure it's good at. Sounds kinda like Blogger... different kind of site, but you can see that there are some interesting possibilities there.
posted by pascal at 8:08 AM on April 16, 2001

Its on Slashdot too.
posted by jeffbarr at 8:28 AM on April 16, 2001

Did you see the slashdot comments in the thread above? It's pretty obvious that the livejournal guys must have put a call out to their users to post on slashdot. They've done it in the past, and I bet they're doing it now.

Reminds me of scientologists being told to go buy bunches of tickets to battlefield earth showings when it came out.
posted by mathowie at 8:37 AM on April 16, 2001

Hey Matt, maybe livejournal just has a lot of users? After all it is open source, and Slashdot is kind of about open source. (BTW, this is Dave Winer, in trying to work around a cookie mess on the home page of Metafilter I adopted the name of a dead software guy, figured he wouldn't mind. But it didn't help, I'm still getting a Cold Fusion error on the home page.)
posted by georgetate at 8:56 AM on April 16, 2001

Thanks, guys. I'm quite excited about the deal. As for what it means for Blogger users, you're exactly right: It puts the company in much better financial shape, so Blogger is in less peril. From my perspective, it's also great because it gets Blogger much wider distribution (Tripod is also a customer of Trellix, btw.) without me having to manage 10,000 servers -- something I wouldn't want to do, even if I did have a business model to support it. So, I can concentrate on product development and the higher (more tech-savvy) end of the market, while still reaching the masses, so to speak.

Also, working with Dan is an honor and an educational experience.
posted by evhead at 9:31 AM on April 16, 2001

As one of those who contributed to the server fund, I demand a free copy of VisiCalc as a return on my investment in Blogger's future.


But what cC says: there's a difference between picking up a puppy from a prize breeder and going to the dog's home to rescue a abandoned pet.
posted by holgate at 10:03 AM on April 16, 2001

Livejournal = troll, again and again.

They're Microsoft without the market share.
posted by owillis at 10:15 AM on April 16, 2001

Should we read anything into the fact that the NYT article leads with the Blogger Server Fund story?
posted by rschram at 10:29 AM on April 16, 2001

Ev, that's what I've always said. Oh, wait ...
posted by dhartung at 10:31 AM on April 16, 2001

From the Slashdot thread: "Comments and a security model are half the fun of Livejournal." Without trying to step into anything, this sounds like a talking point to me. Unless, of course, the author just really does have fun with security models, which is entirely possible. (In the sense that "anything is possible.")
posted by rschram at 10:54 AM on April 16, 2001

by the way, our very own dhartung has a long and pretty well thought-out post in the aforementioned /. thread.
posted by lia at 11:20 AM on April 16, 2001

Of course no one takes Slashdot seriously anyway...
posted by gyc at 11:41 AM on April 16, 2001


Thanks, lia, I was just coming here to say I weighed in. I'm actually surprised there aren't more blogger users posting, but maybe it's so busy that most of them don't even go to slashdot anymore. (Pace Yogi Berra.) There's certainly more overlap here at Metafilter.

Mainly it was a lot like some of those Dave Winer XML-RPC threads: I don't know what this is, so I'm going to post my unrelated opinions about Microsoft. Even with moderation I'm finding the signal at Slashdot to be in woeful decline; plus, I'm getting used to being modded mostly not at all and when I am it's down. I've got karma to burn but I am not a troll. I'm wondering if anybody cares anymore.
posted by dhartung at 11:45 AM on April 16, 2001

Dan, I've been finding Slashdot less repulsive lately, but I wonder if that's just because my standards are lower or that the trolls aren't dominating others quite so much. One of life's mysteries.
posted by georgetate at 12:29 PM on April 16, 2001

get your new stickers while they're hot:

posted by mathowie at 1:07 PM on April 16, 2001

Wow! I can just slice my mousepad in half and have a whole new logo!
posted by bradlands at 1:49 PM on April 16, 2001

the NYT is pretty good at cropping:

the good ole' days

posted by mathowie at 2:19 PM on April 16, 2001

...and color balancing.
posted by bradlands at 2:43 PM on April 16, 2001

And erasing the tip of Meg's toe, no?
posted by IPLawyer at 3:08 PM on April 16, 2001

Uhmm.. do I smell some hostility here, Matt?
posted by kchristidis at 3:14 PM on April 16, 2001

Megs toe was not erased. If you compare the two photos at the same magnification, the current photo was cropped at the exact pixel Meg's toe came into the frame.
posted by MarkBakalor at 3:42 PM on April 16, 2001

The exact pixel, you say? Now what are the odds of that, Scully? Say, who's the guy over in the corner chain-smoking?
posted by bradlands at 4:29 PM on April 16, 2001

The New York Times on the Web, where we say, "We don't just use old photos, we crop people out to last pixel."
posted by rschram at 4:30 PM on April 16, 2001

All the news that fits, we print, right?
posted by dhartung at 6:12 PM on April 16, 2001

Wasn't cropping people out of photos Winston's job at the Ministry of Information in 1984?
posted by briank at 6:16 PM on April 16, 2001

Yes, using old photos and cropping people out of them is tacky. It's also cost-effective.
posted by davidfg at 7:28 PM on April 16, 2001

Mathowie wasn't referred to as "one of his people," that was Matt Hamer, another former Pyra employee. Who, it should be noted, is also no damned lackey.
posted by megnut at 10:08 PM on April 16, 2001

Wrong Matt, Ed. (Not that the comment makes sense either way.)
posted by evhead at 10:13 PM on April 16, 2001

ev has posted the pyra side of the story.
posted by mmanning at 11:19 PM on April 16, 2001

This is interesting. What happens when more and more news subjects begin reacting to news stories about them in real time? Is that gonna make journalists a little more accurate? I should hope so.

It'll also help spin too.
posted by owillis at 12:36 AM on April 17, 2001

Just read all this. Sounds like it keeps Blogger afloat for awhile, but it does take Ev away from developing new features. Like most things in life, it's a trade off... but it sounds like the best trade off that Blogger could reasonably get.

As for the idea that someone from LiveJournal "sicked the dogs on you", it didn't happen. I was in Vegas this morning, flew in, and went to work... one person mentioned the deal in our business community late this afternoon, though.

As far as LiveJournal not having the marketshare, although LiveJournal only has 100,000 registered accounts, we have approximately the same amount of actively posting accounts as Blogger. We also have significantly more posts per day than Blogger and we're growing at a faster rate, doubling in size about every 75 days. Based on Ev's reported growth rate, we anticipate passing Blogger in total users in about 3 months or so.

All in all, I would say we're pretty much on an even level in most respects... except that we are open source and have hundreds of volunteers and around 70 developers. We didn't even have to spend $500,000 of someone else's money to do it.

Still, we're nothing to be afraid of. If anything, you should be happy that LiveJournal is doing so well, since it is to everyone's benefit that there is an open source weblog. I know all of you love your journals, but think about it... why do you have nothing better to do than to defend proprietary software and create paranoia about a bunch of people who are running an open source, volunteer-run and supported online community? Afraid we're gonna infect you or something?!

I may disagree with Pyra in principle, but at least I base those disagreements on Ev.'s words and actions. I have never seen a single well-reasoned and well-informed critique of LiveJournal from any of you.

I guess that when you choose to remain ignorant, it is all too easy to write off anything you don't understand as either a cult or a conspiracy. Sorry if I woke any of you. You can all go back to sleep now...
posted by markkraft at 2:07 AM on April 17, 2001

direct from "insomnia" to his troops:

"For future reference, try to do two things for me:

1> If you see a Slashdot post (or Memepool, or any other post or article on the 'net where our feedback could get us extra attention, e-mail me immediately. . If I can reply to these articles sooner, we will get more attention to our message.

2> If you can mod me up on groups like Slashdot, please do so. I want us to be able to address these sites with a single, clear voice that gets noticed.


posted by owillis at 2:22 AM on April 17, 2001

Um... first off, this doesn't qualify as a well-reasoned or well-informed critique. Secondly, did I reply to the post today? I think not.

It's also worth noting that when I originally suggested this idea, numerous LiveJournal users argued that while I should respond to appropriate posts with a reply from LJ, modding up posts would be wrong. As a result, I decided not to go ahead with the idea.

If I had posted today, I would still have essentially said the same thing I said here... Sounds like it keeps Blogger afloat for awhile, but it takes Ev away from developing new features.

I've noticed that you have hunted down about a half-dozen posts in the past by LJ users and called them everything from spammers to "like religious wackos". Like I said before, when you choose to remain ignorant, it is all too easy to write off anything you don't understand as either a cult or a conspiracy.
posted by markkraft at 3:24 AM on April 17, 2001

My problem with you fellows is your need to constantly slam/spam services like Blogger, Diaryland, and Userland for being corporate and "sucky".

In your minds it seems they're all plotting against you, because you're "volunteers" and "open source". What the software does is way more important than the people or the f-in philosophy behind it. Saying "open source!" "open source!" has the same effect as saying "dot com! ipo!" to my ears if there's no meat behind it.

I have no problem with your product/service - but any thought I may have had of even trying it out is squashed by your adversarial attitudes.

The way I see things are that products/services attract users by letting the product stand on their own. Your attempts to slam Blogger/Diaryland/Manila make you guys look like wusses, it gives the impression that your product can't stand on its own two feet (which it probably could well do).

Attacking your "competitors" when they haven't done the same to you (like talk about spamming blogger mailing lists, and flooding slashdot when someone mentions the word weblogs) makes you look like a buncha ninnies. Then you whine because you don't get any press. How petty.

I have zero stake in Blogger/Manila financially, I just think they make neat shit. I've been on Metafilter for over a year now, and I'm here because its the best damn community online.

Why don't you guys over at LJ shut up, code some cool software and let the best one "win"?*

Here's an easy way to understand it: Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player to ever play the game, yet - he didn't wake up every morning yelling to any reporter he could find and say "Know what? I'm the greatest basketball player to ever play, and everyone else SUCKS!". No, he showed up, got on the court, and kicked ass because he knew everyone else sucked in comparison and made his statement where it counted.

*(although there's no battle to win. the more people writing online the better...)
posted by owillis at 3:59 AM on April 17, 2001

I guess that when you choose to remain ignorant, it is all too easy to write off anything you don't understand as either a cult or a conspiracy. Sorry if I woke any of you. You can all go back to sleep now...

I'm happy to see that there are alternatives to Blogger, and I actually don't mind being categorically dismissed offhand as another ignorant paranoid--if I could, in return, have some peace from proselytizing strangers hawking a service with features I don't need (such as telling the world what MP3 I'm listening to at the moment or syndicating my updates to my defined clique) instead of ones I do (such as having all changed index and archive files automatically formatted and uploaded to my own server on every update). Thank you.
posted by DaShiv at 4:30 AM on April 17, 2001

Oliver thanks for defending us evil closed-source guys, but the story isn't the software, it's the medium.

BTW, I give a lot to open source. I've encouraged Ev and Dan to do the same, their kindnesses to each other are truly inspiring. Now being kind to the users and to the environment that supports them would be welcome.

In other words --> XML-RPC or SOAP interfaces for all this stuff, and a way to get the users data on to the users' hard disks. How is LiveJournal doing at getting the users their data? (I don't know the answer to that, it's a serious question.)
posted by davewiner at 7:02 AM on April 17, 2001

Good points. We have a few ways of getting LJ users their data already, since journals are saveable.

We are also in the middle of creating myLJ, which will allow people to keep their journals on any server, yet still interact directly with LiveJournal's community. (Brad actually programmed this support in from day one, but never implemented everything).

Although XML-RPC support is easily integrated through the same methods that are currently out there for Blogger, we plan on making it even easier, essentially built in to LiveJournal as a configurable option.
posted by markkraft at 8:40 AM on April 17, 2001

Kottke needs to take a drink, because I'm requesting that this discussion move to Metatalk. Thanks.
posted by snarkout at 8:53 AM on April 17, 2001

I thought this article was kind of funny..

"Major Internet sites such as Yahoo, America Online and Microsoft offer their own self-publishing tools. Microsoft's FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver offer commercial Web publishing tools that are popular with Webmasters. These require some familiarity with HTML used to format sites. "

I've always been amazed by cnet's ability to take an article, and ensure the names Microsoft, Macromedia, AOL, and Yahoo all appear in 99.9% of all articles they post, whether they have anything to do with the actual story that is being presented.
posted by benjh at 7:11 PM on April 17, 2001

I thought the Reuters story was great, they gave us a link, that's cool, and there's this quote from Dan:

"These are people who are writing for their friends,'' Bricklin said. "No one's going to win any Pulitzer prizes.''

Ooops. Dan doesn't get it. There will be Pulitzers in this space. We're just getting started.

Reminds me of Philippe Kahn saying no one would ever write a hit software product in Turbo C. Of course that's what he was selling.

It'll be interesting to see now that Dan is a thought leader in this area, how quickly he can turn a meme. I already know Evan can. Heh heh. Who bought who?
posted by davewiner at 9:23 PM on April 17, 2001

Benjh, if you look at the article, you'll see it's from Reuters, and it's appeared in several other places, including Yahoo! I agree though, I found the article kind of funny since none of these companies offer software that shares many similarities to the popular weblogging tools aside from HTML. But more and more I wonder where the hell journalists get their information hardly seems based in fact.
posted by megnut at 10:09 PM on April 17, 2001

Meg - Journalists pull info from... well - let's just say there's considerable cleanup involved later on.

And of course I sort of want to be one. Odd, huh?

(have I posted enough words in this thread? :)
posted by owillis at 10:32 PM on April 17, 2001

What happens when more and more news subjects begin reacting to news stories about them in real time? Is that gonna make journalists a little more accurate?

Hahahahahahahaha! No. It won't matter at all unless the negative reactions start to reach a significant percentage of the consumers of a given news outlet. Until they start looking bad in lots of peoples' eyes, they're not going to care one whit.
posted by aaron at 11:44 PM on April 17, 2001

Aaron, if a significant percentage of journalists react negatively to your ill-informed, distorted and amusingly inaccurate assessments of the industry, will you stop making them?

If so, the line starts here.
posted by luke at 8:45 AM on April 18, 2001

For those who didn't see it -- Dan does get it. He was misquoted, as he explains, here:

(BTW, I can attest to this. I wasn't in on the interview, but as soon as the Reuters story hit, Dan said he was misquoted in an email to myself and a few Trellix people. He didn't just cobble that together after Dave called him on it. Unfortunate.)
posted by evhead at 6:24 PM on April 18, 2001

Luke, considering I am one of them, your Anne Robinson-like attempts at public embarassment only make me snicker.
posted by aaron at 9:18 PM on April 18, 2001

I don't get the reference to Anne Robinson.
posted by mecran01 at 2:24 PM on April 19, 2001

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