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Announced in a 900-word press release from hell, What Counts has launched BlogUnit, a rack-mounted appliance that provides blogs, podcasts, and other content publishing capabilities in a plug-and-play box aimed at large corporations.
I learned about BlogUnit during a delicious lunch arranged at Union Square Café by their PR firm. Buy me lunch at a great restaurant, and I’m always ready to listen.
Mis-Named Product?
BlogUnit, which sells for $10K to $75K, is aimed at large companies that have compliance, security, versioning and legal concerns about blogging, and it’ll take more than an appliance to solve those problems. But as an Intranet tool, it sounds like it has real advantages.
BlogUnit seems mis-named. It’s a content management system on which companies could blog. Seems to me that the word blog is in the title because it’s a hot word. For blogging, I don’t see its advantage over existing blogging platforms like MoveableType which also are customizeable, can have different levels of permission, and sit on the company’s own servers. But then again, I’m not a geek.
CEO and co-founder David Geller [right] and Marketing Director and co-founder Brian Ratzliff believe that as corporations embrace blogging as part of their communications and work-collaboration strategies, many big companies may have to manage and oversee hundreds of company-related internal and external blogs. They will have to monitor and maintain content, manage integration, maintain security standards, and facilitate collaboration across blogs. Setting up and managing these blogs has the potential, he maintains, to be very expensive and labor-intensive.
“BlogUnit Series anticipates those needs and provides a powerful, scalable, ready-to-use platform that makes this next stage in e-communication practical,” says the press release.
Blogger Bashing
While I’m sure BlogUnit provides a service big companies need and will welcome, I really take issue with CEO David Geller’s view of bloggers:
Within five years, he says, citizen journalists face off against “credentialed journalists. People will choose industry experts with sources and credibility,” he says, as if bloggers couldn’t possibly have those or journalistic skills. “Blogging,” he says, “shouldn’t give you license to write first and research later.”
Hint: when pitching a blogger for a story, it’s a good idea not to put down bloggers.
BlogUnit’s Features
On the company’s blog, which is basically a sales pitch for BlogUnit, Geller asks, “with an abundance of excellent blogging platforms already available, why do companies need Blog Unit?”
He answers:
• Companies that need to abide by HIPAA rules or adhere to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act need to consider where and how there data are stored. With an appliance like BlogUnit, sitting in a company’s own data center, behind their firewall, the risks of fraudulent or accidental data loss or abuse are greatly reduced.
• Security features designed to allow companies to segment and control access to blogs and syndications feeds.
• Rich publishing features companies require to manage their content including versioning (with roll-back and roll-forward capabilities) and workflow.
I’m sure Six Apart will respond with a corporate blogging solution, and that Microsoft, which already has 1100 or so employees blogging, also will enter the race at some point.
BlogUnit is first into the content management appliance space, and if they market well, they will have a good head start.