Monday, July 9, 2007

21Publish: become a blog host

Blogging and social networking are major issues nowadays, keeping the lights on in many business development departments, marketing strategy rooms and non-profit organization headquarters. They are more or less what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been in the last three years or so. For that reason, 21Publish is a very interesting Web2.0 venture.

While most other blog services mainly offer blogs for individuals not for groups, with 21Publish you can become a blog host yourself. This platform will aggregates the individual and independent blogs of any number of people with a shared interest: any club, college, media company or enterprise can use the system and offer blogs to their members, users, students or friends. I am not sure how many more of those there are out there but this one is certainly an interesting service.

21Publish is specifically designed to be used as a community publishing network. Administration panel allows central control over the network. The look of the Blog Community can reflect its own brand, hand on its own domain and be using its own design. It can work as a fully functional, stand-alone website or be seamlessly integrated into an existing one. Here are a few featured communities linked from the 21Publish website:
Key features

A list of handy features (see all of them here) gives users the means to customize their blog communities according to their needs in terms of community features, design, user functions, and privacy. Key features are:
  • BlogPortal as community homepage
  • Central console to manage multi-user platform
  • Suitable for thousands of users with independent yet inter-connected blogs
  • Multiple Options for user registration process
  • RSS Integration of existing Blogs operated through other providers
  • Runs under or fully integrated into your existing site
  • Selection of templates or your own CSS editing
Hosted application

For the good and the bad of it, 21Publish is a hosted application. It means there's no software to install, no maintenance and no updates required at your end. You can set up and run your own personal BlogPortal and invite others to join in. But this also means you don't have 100% control over the system. For a group of good friends sharing a common interest this would not be of any problem. For some companies and chief technical officers I know it probably would.

21Publish is a classic 2-layer system: the first layer is your BlogPortal or community homepage where users can register and login, find new blog entries or community news. The second layer consists of all the individual blogs of community members.


Free for small communities of up to 100 users (blogs) providing 2MB of webspace for each, 21Publish's business model also allows on-demand upgrade options and enterprise solutions with pricing depends on three factors:
  • The number of users (bloggers)
  • How much web space allowed for each user
  • Allowing 21Publish to be the ones who place advertising on user blogs or not
Using your own advertising through banners or Google AdSense, as well as using your own domain (domain mapping) is only available in paid BlogPortals. There is an online price calculator on the company's website.

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