Yahoo will make available to subscribers of its Web hosting services the open-source WordPress blog publishing software.y.
The deal is similar to one Yahoo struck last week with Six Apart, maker of Moveable Type, and is intended to broaden the blogging software options accessible to individuals and companies that use Yahoo to host their Web sites.
Like Moveable Type, WordPress will be a free option to all new and existing Yahoo Web hosting subscribers, starting with the most basic plan that costs US$11.95 per month.
"We're committed to working with industry leaders to provide top-notch publishing platforms," said Guy Yalif, Yahoo's director of Web hosting products.
Installing and maintaining WordPress via the Yahoo service will require just a few clicks, and thus will be much simpler and quicker than if users do it manually, said Matt Mullenweg, WordPress' founding developer.
This is because Yahoo automates tricky technical steps, such as setting up a database and configuration files, Mullenweg said.
Using WordPress via Yahoo also erases the need for users to download the software from the Wordpress.org Web site and upload it a hosting provider, Mullenweg said.
"We're making it very easy for professional bloggers to use WordPress so that they can focus on their audience and message, instead of on the blogging software infrastructure," Yalif said.
For example, Yahoo will automatically update WordPress whenever an upgrade is available, so users don't have to worry about keeping up with new versions, Yalif said.
Still, Yahoo may have to spend time doing outreach and education to some Web-hosting clients who consider blogging a technically complicated and time-consuming endeavor.
Yahoo's deals with Six Apart and WordPress interest Karen McMasters, but blogging to her seems an activity for a technically savvy person, which she doesn't consider herself.
Moreover, as president of BareBabies, a baby product online vendor, McMasters spends so much time at her computer that she doubts she would have much interest extending her PC time in order to blog.
She acknowledges that the Yahoo announcement "sounds really cool and I could probably learn and benefit a lot from blogging, but I probably still wouldn't use [the Yahoo blogging tools]," said McMasters, a Yahoo Web hosting client for about five years. Her BareBabies.com and Ciaobellababy.com stores are on track to generate about US$3 million in sales this year.
WordPress also has similar deals with other Web hosting providers that also automate and simplify the installation of the software and, like Yahoo, offer complementary services, such as storage, traffic analysis, e-mail addresses and domain names.
Yahoo hosting services are available from the company's small business division, but subscribers don't have to be small businesses to sign up for a plan, Yalif said.