Six Apart, my kinda company

Say what you will about the whole MT 3.0D licensing debacle, Six Apart is an awesome company.

They've really worked hard to resolve the public relations nightmare they found themselves in last month. And they've made changes which should appeal to most everyone. Sure, they made some mistakes. What company doesn't?

What they continue to get right is that they listen and respond. And it perfectly demonstrates the power of the software they produce. Especially when it comes to corporate-to-user communications.

I've read that Six Apart made a mistake by enabling Trackbacks on their company weblog. I totally disagree. Let's look:

  • May 13th: Mena posted news of the MT 3.0D release on "Mena's Corner" (a weblog that was set up specifically for communicating to their customers -- a personal, human face to this "Six Apart" corporate entity).
  • May 13th: Reaction to that post was swift and unforgiving. The vast majority of people were not too pleased about this development and were quite vocal about it. The trackback mechanism provided direct evidence of this and you can rest assured it played a huge role in Six Apart's response that followed, less than 2 days later.
  • May 15th: Licenses were adjusted and reposted.
  • May 18th: Mena posts a call for feedback regarding how users are using Movable Type.1 Trackbacks are again employed to allow end-users to provide their feedback through their own weblogs.
  • June 16th: Six Apart revises license plans again, based on user feedback. And there was much rejoicing.

I tell you, this is lightning fast response. And unheard-of behavior for a corporation. Typically, a corporation sets pricing for their products and customers just have to deal. The level of outrage from Movable Type users is proof positive that Movable Type is a product that is dear to many. The swift and gracious response on the part of Six Apart shows their commitment to their users and to the MT community.

The new licenses provide an affordable non-commercial license for unlimited weblogs and either 5 authors ($69.95) or unlimited authors ($99.95). The free edition is still limited to 1 author and 3 weblogs (with the understanding that a weblog may consist of one or more blogs, hosted at a common URL). They've also revised the commercial, educational and non-profit licenses.

So for those of you that have stuck around through all of this, perhaps watching with amusement or even bemusement, aren't you glad you did?

1 Some have said such a survey should have been done before they announced the new license plans, but in actuality, they already had-- the MT 3.0 beta application included a survey survey with questions regarding usage and that factored into those decisions. Unfortunately, most people responded with "I just have 1 blog", forgetting to count the little "sub-blogs" that are commonly used to supplement a weblog site.


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Arvind said:

hehe amusement for me. When I first read the entry on Six Log my mind went to think of all those switcher that switched and whether now they would switch back :P

sn said:

I think that the new princing plans are great for such a fine piece of software (hope the new features are on their way).

Unfortunately I think they missed the point that matters me the most, educational organizations. I've been managing an university's online journal using MT. Several (100+) students participate on this journal.

They have proposed a fee of 1000$ (100 users) which I think is really inadequate. We are non-profit, educational, contribute regularly to MT translations and open-source - our students learn from our installation.

Universities have a record of building their own systems or contributing to existing ones and give the work back to the community, so I don't think this was the best move.

Just my 0,2€. :/

Adam Kalsey said:


I'm not sure what pricing structure you're reading. A single class or multiple classes under one teacher can use MT for $40 with unlimited authors and blogs.

If you want to use MT across your whole school, the pricing is rather inexpensive. The packages start at $299 for 300 users and go up to $1000 for unlimited students.

sn said:

I have to get in touch again with MT, since this quote was sent personally to me two weeks ago, when the first version of the princing struture was defined.

Mark J said:

I think a lot of people, like myself, were itching to switch, and the license fiasco was merely a catalyst. I like Movable Type... quite a lot... and I will continue to use it for various purposes. For my main blog, however, I had simply outgrown it. I don't have the Perl knowledge to hack it to my liking; most of what I was doing was taking MT's static output and making it into PHP input, and then performing logic. A PHP-based system just gives me more flexibility.

Regardless, kudos to Six Apart for fixing their license. If money was my only reason for looking at alternatives, I would have waited until now, and would have been very pleased.

lee said:

Am moving as needed to pMachine for free stuff, pMachinePro for multi-blogs ($45), and ExpressionEngine ($150-200) for complex sites. PHP-based, fast, no rebuilding, modular, easy to set up and customize, lots of goodies built in. Not perfect, but much better than MT. Don't have the time to wait for MT to grow up -- why bother when there are many competitors out there. We paid our $20 to $150 per blog installed (and we installed many of them), so it's not like we didn't spend money on MT. We were looking before the pricing fiasco because support had gotten so sparse and, well, snotty, which would've been somewhat acceptable if the documentation were decent. Mainly we felt betrayed since we'd been waiting and waiting for MT Pro -- which was, as far as we can tell, abandoned. I hope Six Apart does well, and will revisit it if MT Pro is ever released. But I'm not holding my breath.

Scott Gowell said:

Congratulations on being hired by 6A!!!!

ania said:

super nice:) ...If money was my only reason for looking at alternatives, I would have waited until now, and would have been very pleased.

Brad Carps said:

I always liked the MT software, but I hopped on the OSS bandwagon with WordPress. I remember using some of your plugins, fondly, and I'm happy that you're happy. Good luck!

marysia said:

"So for those of you that have stuck around through all of this, perhaps watching with amusement or even bemusement, aren’t you glad you did?"
I agree with you.


This article was published on June 16, 2004 11:50 AM.

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