SF-based Weebly, a fruit from the YCombinator tree, just joined the hosted blogging world, pitting itself against TypePad, WordPress and Movable Type.Whether you see it as evidence of things to come or a trend in the dying stages of its hype era, no time is better than the present to make a mark in the personal publishing movement. Enterprises in particular are snapping up any solution purporting collabo-rich technologies. Consider the latest Central Desktop offering, which offers Twitter-like functions, or the use of XOS technology to bring a more sportsmanlike atmosphere to the professional entertainment world.
In the case of Weebly, less was more. It began as a simple web publishing tool with a straightforward drag-and-drop offering that drew the loyalty of ease-hunting users, including small business owners.
Thank AJAX in great part for said ease. The dynamic interface enables users to customize multiple elements of the blog in widget form. Add or subtract text, images, video and even functionalities like Google Maps and, soon, AdSense. (Google's Blogger has a similar feature on its own drag-and-drop template.)
Om Malik of GigaOm called Weebly "stunning," though the blogger also admitted none of their professional blogs would likely use the new platform, which borders on too simple. Nonetheless, "it will be particularly attractive to those who are looking to dabble in blogging," Malik admitted.
Despite raising $650,000 in angel funding, Weebly has yet to develop a working business model. And while they're the first new face in some time to appear in the hosted-blogging arena, attracting mainstream users will be an arduous task.
Casual writers flock to offerings like Xanga and Blogger; professionals migrate to WordPress and Movable Type. While it's possible for user-friendly Weebly to carve a niche for itself between these two worlds, the company has a fine line to walk.
With a number of established brands holding the personal publishing world down, a new blogging platform needs more than a plain-Jane interface; it could also use a whole lot of luck. And lest the characteristically cutesy Web 2.0 moniker get in the way of Weebly's gumption, it's imperative they not act too, well, feebly in its efforts to seize mindshare.
Check out Om Malik's GigaOm coverage of the hot new blogging platform, or give Weebly a spin on your own.