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Interview with Blogs.mu founder James Farmer

blogs.mu.pngEarlier today I posted about a fantastic new service by the name of Blogs.mu – a service that enables you to set up your own blog network. Now I’d like to post a quick interview with James Farmer – co founder of Incsub, the team behind Blogs.mu and the company that runs the WordPress MU hub WPMU DEV and the industry news blog WPMU.org. He’s also the founder of Edublogs.org. He (like me) is based in Melbourne, Australia.

He caught up with me over email last week to talk about Incsub’s brand new offering: Blogs.mu.

So what’s the difference between, say, Blogs.mu and WordPress.com?

jamesfarmer.jpg

Well, the main difference is that at Blogs.mu you become the blog provider, and you have a huge amount of flexibility and functionality that you just won’t get anywhere else.

It’s like WordPress.com in a box really, only better! Once you’re up and running you can create and host as many blogs as you want, at your own domain.

You’ve been able to do this for a while using WordPress MU but that’s been pretty hard as you need to setup hosting, run installation, download and configure themes and plugins etc.

Now though, we do that all for you… and you are free to grow your blog network or community in whatever niche you like – and, of course, run your own advertising!

It’s white label blog networks if you will… kinda like Ning.com for blogging.

So, you say users can run their own advertising, how does that work?

Blogs.mu Supporters (starting from 5 cents per blog per month) can run their own advertising across the entire network just by dropping in any ad code – it’s simple and very effective (or at least we like to think that!)

Every blog theme has 4 ad ‘spots’: under the post title and above the content, under the content and above the comments and at the top of each sidebar – as well as across a footer slot, for running JS contextual ads like Kontera or similar.

And you can set display rules for your ads too – like ‘only show them to IE browsers’ or ‘only show them to search engine visitors’ so you can make money like WordPress.com too… without annoying your users.

So what’s with the MU, are you big in Mauritius?

Heh, very funny, the MU actually stands for MultiUser – as in WordPress MU – also known as WPMU. We love the platform and have been on it from the start – one our WPMU Sites (Edublogs) is older than WordPress.com by 3 weeks… so we know what we’re doing.

And yeh, we did the obvious as well and setup WP.MU too – it’s an installation service for people who do want to get down and dirty with the guts of it all.

So we hope we’re covering every base!

And how do you think Problogger readers could best use Blogs.mu?

Well, I’m hoping there are a heap of ways that established and aspiring probloggers could use Blogs.mu. First up, if you’ve got an active community then this is a great way to get them writing in your space (you could even configure your site to a subdomain of your existing site!)

Another way would be that it’s a really affordable and powerful way to run your own 10 or so blog network.

Either way there are tons of advertising opportunities – and we’re looking into incorporating eCommerce, membership subscriptions, ‘pay to blog’ features and more pretty shortly.

Also, we’ve got some forums up and running for existing and prospective users (it’s completely free to join) at forums.blogs.mu so if any of your readers would like us to consider or build in specific features – we’d love to hear from them!

Check out Blogs.mu for yourself.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Asswass says:

    I became a user and checked it out. I’ll be using it in a near future. Don’t have the time to run multiple blogs or a whole network.

  2. Great interview. Interesting pricing model and allowing for ads to be placed on user’s sites is wonderful

  3. Paritosh says:

    Innovative concept with a bright future.

  4. HEY This is Awesome! Thanks Darren for this tip. I will have to check out this Blogs.mu to help set up my Blog Network…

  5. Otto says:

    Seems quite promising – I just opened free.blogs.mu, let’s see if people get interested. I’ve already tried to build a service like that based on WP MU, but it never worked properly.

  6. JC says:

    This all looks very interesting to say the least. I will definitely be keeping up with it.

  7. This is quite brilliant!

    The possibilities could be endless, painless and effortless.

    James, you’ve just revolutionized things for so many of us smaller media onwers!

    I cannot wait to start playing with this new tool!

    Miss Gisele

  8. Novickarija says:

    i like the design, im gonna try it :)

  9. James Farmer says:

    Heya Guys, Glad you like the site and thanks for the feedback – if you have any questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to swing by the forums: http://forums.blogs.mu and we’ll ehlp you out personally.

    Cheers, James

  10. Sounds interesting. It seems like a good way of setting up your own blog network.

  11. I would like to ask James how blogs.mu makes money?

  12. This is goooooooodddddddd…………..he is very clever and brilliant..

  13. Luca says:

    I must admit I’m pretty new in MU stuff and I’m still a learner, but the interview gives quite interesting information, so I won’t this the opportunity to have a deep look at this service and check if it can be useful for my projects.
    thanks for sharing!!!
    Luca

  14. Bill Masson says:

    Hi James,
    I have taken the plunge with the single blog option and will give it a go for a month, oh thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

    You have certainly done a good job with this CMS model, but I am still finding it a bit restrictive when it comes down to choice of plugins, i would like to see an option to import your own theme that can be edited.

    Your support forum tells me that the theme is SEO up to the eyeballs, but i prefer to have more control over these options, it would be advantages to include HeadSpace 2 or simple tags, these two plugins are great for predictive tagging and allow for Robot editing to follow or no follow.

    I appreciate you don’t want to go top heavy with plugins as this increases the upgrade workload.

    There is the annoying message from Blogs.mu reminding me to upgrade on every page i visit in the admin. I have tried to get rid of it but no joy.

    Overall I am reasonably pleased with Blogs.mu , I guess I am still used to my own hosting and having total control over my WP Blogs. I can see the major benefit of using your service for 100s or 1000s of sites, but for anybody who has say 15 or 20 blogs it may not suit, all depends on the individual, whether they want to save time.

    Thank’s for the read

  15. axel g says:

    Sounds nice to have your own blog network!

    Nice interview…

  16. axel g says:

    Sounds great to have your own blog network!

    Nice interview…

  17. It might be as restrictive as WP.com is… I just checked the licensing… You can’t do a lot of things as an IM. I wouldn’t want to entrust a lot of content to a system that can be shutdown for unwarranted commercial activity… even one that you are PAYING for!

    Mmm.

    Kenneth

  18. Well thats straight from the horses mouth. Good job there, I wonder how they will earn by providing the service free? There is a catch somewhere or is it?

  19. Barry says:

    @Bill Masson: You can turn off the messages in your profile (labeled Tips).

  20. Now with service , i think that running blog networks won’t be as hard as it used to be . Though establishing one is not on my to-do list yet .

  21. Dean Saliba says:

    Something I’ll certainly look into. I’ve thought about running a blog network before but the thought of people only posting once and then abandoning the blogs puts me off.