TUCOWS Plans Branded Blogging Service for Resellers

TUCOWS is preparing to roll out a private-label service providing weblog hosting for its network of more than 5,000 resellers. As part of its expansion, TUCOWS said Friday that it had acquired BlogRolling, a service that manages "blogrolls" (link lists) for 32,000 weblog users.

The Toronto company has been developing its Blogware weblog service for a year, and began beta-testing it wirth a small group of resellers in October. Tucows hasn't released information on pricing, but resellers are currently offering Blogware for between $5 and $14 a month.

TUCOWS began life as a shareware download archive known as The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software (hence TUCOWS), but its primary focus is now the domain name reseller market. It operates the ICANN-approved registrar OpenSRS (Open Shared Reseller System), which registered 853,000 domains in the fourth quarter of last year. OpenSRS provides transparent private-label services to ISPs, telecoms and cable companies.

Resellers have been a driving force in the growth of many large hosting companies, but haven't had an easy entry point into the world of blogging. License restrictions rule out the use of the most popular blogging app, Moveable Type, for mass-market resale. The largest blog hosting outfits, Google's Blogger and Live Journal are free services.

Blogware is available only to TUCOWS resellers, and is "built specifically to deal with the needs of ISPs and webhosters ... the service was built to scale to meet the needs of a very demanding market."

TUCOWS said its acquisition of Blogrolling will add features to Blogware. In an e-mail to users, TUCOWS promised that it will run Blogrolling "as is" for the foreseeable future. "We will *not* limit or disable the service in any way or prevent users of specific weblog/website management tools from continuing to use or access the service," the e-mail said.