19 October 2009

TypePad Motion: A Tame Resurrection Of Pownce Or A Very Interesting BuddyPress Competitor (Updated)

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If you go to Pownce.com, you will only find a landing page indicating you that they were acquired by Six Apart almost a year ago and that the Pownce Team now works over there. After they started to work in Six Apart, Everyone thought it was because the Pownce Team would be the ones now running Vox.com and that it was going to get Pownce infused some time in the future. That was not it and mere 2 weeks ago they launched TypePad Motion. 

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TypePad Motion Free : Needlessly Mediocre

I would describe it as a Pownce Lite, A Barebones Pownce. That alone is a shame but the worst is that TypePad Motion is no more than a Tech display to sell a Special TypePad Motion Hosted version that allow you to have sort of a Custom Site in the vein of Tumblr, Soup.io and Posterous.  Other good examples of this would be Sweetcron and Amplifeeder even if they are very lifestreaming focused. The difference is that it also includes its own community. That makes it also a direct competitor to Wordpress BuddyPress.

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All that is ok and well as Six Apart can do whatever the hell they want. But that don’t means their decision to do it the way they did it is the right one. My biggest gripe with the way they are doing it is that it would had made more sense to Have TypePad Motion Demo (or Vanilla as they call it) to be customizable even in a light way just like you can do Soup.io or Posterous. Then they could offer a option to directly upgrade option to the custom one and hand you over all the features, options and support that comes with that.

The last thing that annoyed me was how broken the integration of TypePad Profiles and Type'Pad Motion Profiles is since it is kept fully separated.

But what they gave out instead is just a missed opportunity.

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(If you are looking for a full Pownce revival with TypePad Motion, You will be disappointed)

TypePad Motion Custom Hosted Version: Very Interesting But Still Lacking

Must admit that the idea is sound and the way you can integrate TypePad Motion is very attractive. Just that Six Apart is not very open on telling what it cost, how it will work, if there are various prices to get it, etc.

Then you start looking at it and since it is based in Pownce and was made by the Pownce Team. Should not it have some of the best Pownce features?. It don’t.

                                        tn_site_zachary_quinto

              (Zachary Quinto is one of the first high profile clients using it. Check it)

I was expecting to be able to simply link-embed something. More when i recall that Pownce was one of the innovators with oEmbed. I also expected the very innovative features of Intelligent Forwarding, Replies Tracking, Event Overlook, etc, etc to be part of the paid TypePad Motion. At least i can affirm that they thought about integrate oEmbed into it but that in the end it was a political call from Six Apart higher ups (he didn’t said it like that, but that is quite obvious), So if a very integral cool feature like oEmbed got voted out. Not very surprised about the other getting voted out too and becoming a “Not Invented Here” problem.

UPDATE(20/10/09):TypePad Motion Developer Mike Malone has commented with a big clarification on the decisions for not including oEmbed and i guess that could apply to other Pownce features not in TypePad Motion and how there was a serious misunderstanding in the message of what TypePad Motion is from the web pages that i found when looking for info on it researching this post. I have added that to  my final notes:

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“Hey, interesting article. I just wanted to clarify a few things.


First, oEmbed - this wasn't a political decision so much as it was a technical / time constraint one. Motion uses the TypePad API, which uses the infrastructure built for Vox, TypePad, and a number of other services that are hosted by Six Apart. This stuff is battle-tested and there's a lot of internal knowledge re: how it all works. I've been vocal about trying to use oEmbed more heavily, but it's a tricky issue because doing so wouldn't just affect Motion. Because Motion uses the same internal infrastructure as other Six Apart properties, switching to oEmbed would affect all those other properties as well. At the end of the day, we still support the oEmbed use-case: converting URLs to embeds, we just do it a slightly different way. It's likely that some of the internal Six Apart stuff will start migrating to be oEmbed-based in the near future, but the change will be completely transparent to people building on top of the TypePad platform.


More importantly though, I wanted to clear up some misconceptions re: Motion as a product. We're not actually selling Motion, it's completely free. It's open source software (BSD license) and the code is available on GitHub at http://github.com/sixapart/typepad-motion/. It looks like you found a page that our marketing & sales department put together that's poorly messaged. That will be corrected. If you want to run your own, personal, branded Motion site you can grab the source code and customize it to your hearts content. You can even run it on top of the TypePad API free of charge. You can learn more about how to get your own Motion site up and running at http://developer.typepad.com/motion/create-motion.html. Six Apart also has a services division that will help you build custom Motion sites if you don't want to do it yourself. This service _does_ cost money, and the page you found was a marketing page for services.

There's no pricing information on that page because the work that services does varies a lot from customer to customer, so pricing is done on a case-by-case basis.
Hope you give Motion a second look, and look forward to hearing more feedback in the future!”

Even then, The feature set is good and competitive and i bet it is easier to have than having to set up BuddyPress and maintain it yourself.

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The other question is if its better than solutions like Ning, SocialGO or KickApps and while that may be a matter taste and case by case scenario. But for a personal brand like a celebrity or Internet PowerUser TypePad Motion is i thin the best choice.  If you are a Org, Company or Brand, Then i think that the other options are better suited for you.

Final Notes

As you can see, This is a conflicted post because i find myself strongly disliking one part of TypePad Motion and somewhat liking the other even with its sorely lacking features considering the pedigree the offering comes from.

Not that is a bad thing as this may prove enough for you to make your own mind about each part or so i hope.

Update Based on TypePad Motion Clarification:

Well, After reading Mike Malone comment, it looks like i was mislead in my judgment of TypePad Motion based on the available web pages you found linked to the demo version and because the post in the TypePad Blog is not really clear on the fact that it was free for your own use. I thought it was like other TypePad development that allowed you to build modules, plugins and widgets for it. This was the reason i didn’t mentioned it since it was too new.

This still don’t affects the title of this post since it resulted true on both accounts. As a pownce revival it falls short because it got nothing about pownce but the developers that were at pownce and It is indeed a BuddyPress direct competitor since you can take the code and run with it to do your own Socialize your site and have a blog and be able to integrate as a site in any way you like. The only difference right now it is that TypePad does offers you the option to have a hosted version from them and that the price tag depends on a case by case scenario.

So taking in count that you can have TypePad Motion and run with it(Open Source) and also be able to integrate other things via Free TypePad API’s. It looks that it is not only a competitor to BuddyPress but that it is Equal from a developer standpoint given they are both big CMS platforms.So the only thing to the decide between them is if you want the Microblogging part built in right away or you prefer to adapt it yourself (BuddyPress case)

Finally, i want to thank Mike for his prompt reply and not letting a bad message from TypePad Marketing & Sales got in the way and left me with the wrong impression. I stand corrected.

Linkage

TypePad Motion <—The Indistinct Free TypePad Hosted Version, Demo, Whatever

Go TypePad Motion <—The Info-Promo Page For The Hosted Version

TypePad Motion Download <—For Developers Interested In Building A Site With T.M

TypePad Motion in GitHub  <—Code Repository



1 comments :

6p01053625d16c970b said...

Hey, interesting article. I just wanted to clarify a few things.

First, oEmbed - this wasn't a political decision so much as it was a technical / time constraint one. Motion uses the TypePad API, which uses the infrastructure built for Vox, TypePad, and a number of other services that are hosted by Six Apart. This stuff is battle-tested and there's a lot of internal knowledge re: how it all works. I've been vocal about trying to use oEmbed more heavily, but it's a tricky issue because doing so wouldn't just affect Motion. Because Motion uses the same internal infrastructure as other Six Apart properties, switching to oEmbed would affect all those other properties as well. At the end of the day, we still support the oEmbed use-case: converting URLs to embeds, we just do it a slightly different way. It's likely that some of the internal Six Apart stuff will start migrating to be oEmbed-based in the near future, but the change will be completely transparent to people building on top of the TypePad platform.

More importantly though, I wanted to clear up some misconceptions re: Motion as a product. We're not actually selling Motion, it's completely free. It's open source software (BSD license) and the code is available on GitHub at http://github.com/sixapart/typepad-motion/. It looks like you found a page that our marketing & sales department put together that's poorly messaged. That will be corrected. If you want to run your own, personal, branded Motion site you can grab the source code and customize it to your hearts content. You can even run it on top of the TypePad API free of charge. You can learn more about how to get your own Motion site up and running at http://developer.typepad.com/motion/create-motion.html. Six Apart also has a services division that will help you build custom Motion sites if you don't want to do it yourself. This service _does_ cost money, and the page you found was a marketing page for services. There's no pricing information on that page because the work that services does varies a lot from customer to customer, so pricing is done on a case-by-case basis.

Hope you give Motion a second look, and look forward to hearing more feedback in the future!

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