Yahoo Inc. and Six Apart Ltd., creator of Movable Type -- the most popular software used to create professional blogs -- said on Sunday Yahoo will be the preferred supplier of Movable Type for small businesses.
The partnership is the latest in a string of deals by the world's largest Internet media company as it seeks to embrace so-called "social media," the new generation of Web sites that encourage Internet users to share written text, photos and videos.
On Friday, Yahoo acquired Del.icio.us, a site for users to share their favorite Web links. Earlier this year, it acquired Flickr, which offers a way to annotate and share photos.
Yahoo will effectively act as the preferred provider of Movable Type for small business users, taking advantage of its scale and efficiency, Anil Dash, vice president of professional products for San Francisco-based Six Apart, said in a phone interview.
"This is going to be our recommended (sales) channel for small business," he said.
Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo said it will offer commercial blogs based on Movable Type as part of its existing small business Web-site management service.
Yahoo provides customers with a unique Web address, blogging tools and business-class e-mail services with spam and virus protections for less than $12 a month.
Movable Type is commonly used by businesses, Web designers and professional bloggers to create easily updated websites. Other blog software such as Google Inc.'s Blogger, WordPress, Xanga and Six Apart's own Live Journal, are more often used to create blogs for individuals.
Yahoo hosts roughly 30 million individual websites, including hundreds of thousands of small business sites, said Rich Riley, general manager of Yahoo's small business unit. One in eight U.S. online stores are hosted by Yahoo, he said.
Yahoo is one of the world's largest suppliers of hosted websites, which refers to websites set and maintained for customers by Yahoo for a monthly subscription fee.
Six Apart said it had optimized the underlying software in Movable Type so that it responds twice as fast as the same software offered by Six Apart's own website.
Six Apart continues to develop versions of Movable Type designed to run inside big businesses, along with its consumer-oriented Live Journal software and a quick set-up version of Movable Type known as TypePad.
Separately, Dash said Six Apart's Japanese unit is developing a version of Movable Type to run on Oracle database software, in a bid to encourage wider use of blogs among big businesses. Six Apart was developed to run on open source database software originally.
Privately-held Six Apart, founded four years ago by husband-and-wife team Ben and Mena Trott, counts 100 employees worldwide. It has received nearly $12 million in funding from backers Neoteny Co. Ltd. and August Capital, Dash said.
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