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December 02, 2004

MSN Spaces will make blogs communication tools

Today, only 2% of all online consumers in the US have a personal blog. MSN Spaces is Microsoft’s attempt to bring blogging into the mainstream. I had a preview of it last week but was just only now able to go in and set up a blog. From what I see, MSN has succeeded in creating a very solid, innovative communication tool.

MSN Spaces is very full featured – users can add posts from cell phones as well as via email. Drag-and-drop layout design and pre-fabbed templates make creating a custom look and feel a cinch. A couple of other innovations:

+ Permissions are linked into MSN Messenger and MSN Address books. Only .NET Passport email addresses are accepted.

+ Integration with MSN Photos and MSN Music to upload photo albums and playlists easily. Moreover, users can click on a playlist and sample or purchase the song or album.

+ Put Spaces content elsewhere on MSN. MSN Hotmail and Messenger have a new feature called Contact Cards that will take the latest post or photo added to your Space and displays it next to your contact information. When you update your Space, your name changes – it’s like indicating the “presence” of new content, rather than your actual presence.

Notice a trend here? There’s heavy integration of Spaces into the whole MSN communication suite of email and instant messaging. I think this is very smart, especially as MSN hopes to attract a new audience group to blogging. The next wave of bloggers is going to look very different from today’s blogger – their motivation will be on sharing experiences rather than having a place for their ideas and opinions. The integration puts the blog in context of other communications, such as email and IM. If you’re about to email me, you’ll see my latest post/photo – instant context setting and traffic generation to my blog. If you mention the blog posts in an email/IM, I’ll have even more incentive to keep blogging. That integration distinguishes MSN Spaces from other services like Lycos’ Circles and other traditional blogging tool providers like Blogger.

So welcome MSN to the wonderful world of blogging!

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» MSN Spaces is Live - The End of Blogging as we Know it? from Threadwatch.org

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Comments

Jeff Clavier

Even though I understand and appreciate the reasons why Microsoft wants to create a walled garden around MSN Space, and make sure that it is easy to integrate other MSN-hosted elements (pictures, playlists,...) - and difficult with others, it seems that this strategy is primarily focusing on keeping MSN users into MSN.
By providing a simple/slick tool, which is actually not bad for an initial version, they can make sure that aspiring bloggers in the MSN community do not look at other tools ("my first ever blog post" seems to be a typical topic in newly created MSN Spaces tonight).

More sophisticated bloggers (and there are quite a few using Blogger who seem to be looking for a new home) will want to see features (and openess) more or less at par with TypePad, MovableType or WordPress in order to make a move.

My 2 cents

Rafael

Briefly looked at it. When you get to a point of actually wanting to "blog", I'm thinking users would rather have less features, a blank slate i.e clean default designs to chose from, than all those integration points. Blogger, with the ability to use different designs, and movable type with some great basic designs, is what I would think people would prefer. All that other integration (being able to blog from a cell phone or from Messenger) you have to learn. These guys should have just copied Scoble's blog.

BTW. Cool, that you're into triathlons. Me too (http://www.ironteam.net)

Steve Shu

For what it's worth, I think that the strong relationship between the elections and blogging definitely support the case for blogs being excellent communication channels. That said, on a macro-level it seems difficult to measure how much some of the features like music, photo, mobile, IM, etc. integration are going to have an impact on who decides to use what platform and whether this has a measureable impact on communication vs. clutter vs. hobby vs. entertainment. Probably a fertile area for trench-level research (Harvardesque MBA style) tracing users.

Kevin

Too bad you lose any copywrite to anything you publish to a MS blog.

http://www.gadgetopia.com/2004/12/02/AllYourContentAreBelongToUs.html

That should be a dealbreaker for anyone with any common sense

Jerome

The first three sites on MSN spaces that I saw looked like this (this is a copy and paste of one):

~*~FoR sUm RaNdOm ReAsOn 2DaY i HaV a ObSeSsIoN wId StArS nD tHoSe LiNeS!! lOl CrAzY i No!!! DaTz Me InNiT! wElL aLl My M8z FiNk Im CRaZy!! LoL! mEnTaL! lOl! BoBbIe? Do U rEmEmBa DaT tImE iN eNgLiSh WeN i WoZ hYpEr Nd We WoZ dOiN dAt DrUgZ fInG? nD iT wOz LiKe I wOz HiGh On DrUgZ? LOL I WASNT D/W

andy

Dear webmaster,

My name is andy. And i am from china. I find your blog from google.com. And deeply impressed by your space and words, So I am very happy to exchange website link with you. our oil painting website info is as follows:
Title:wholesale oil painting from China
Website: http://www.jandm.cn
Logo: http://www.jandm.cn/images/logo2.gif
Description:J&M artwork offers beautiful oil paintings artwork and frames. Flattest price and museum quality. 100% hand made and 100% payback guarantee.

If you would like to exchange your link with us. Please contact me and give me your site info.We will add yours soon.Thanks a lot.
My msn is xmbeckham#hotmail.com (change # into @)
email: jandm58@gmail.com (change # into @)

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