Terapad aims to change the blogging game

A new UK-based hosted blog service came out of private beta last week and is now open for business.

Terapad is an interesting-looking service which, according to CEO Stephen Tual, is a game-changing offering:

[…] Blogging has been technologically very active recently, but feature-wise it’s been completely stagnant. We’ve capitalized on this and added all the features of major corporate websites to the blogging equation. Indeed the feature list of the London-based ‘do it yourself’ service appears never-ending: online shop, discussion forums, image gallery, job search, and even integration with a host of big-name third party services, such as Google Analytics and Paypal. This certainly isn’t your average blog.

As Tual says, this isn’t just a hosted blog service but an all-embracing offering that takes in broader content management features for managing a complete website.

I’ve signed up for the free 30-day trial just to see if this really can be as game-changing as Tual believes it will be.

On first looks, it certainly is very easy to set up. You can choose whether you want just a blog, a website, or both. You can add or substract elements like a PayPal-based store, discussion forums, etc.

One thing I noticed immediately is that trackbacks are not offered at all. You don’t have a choice. That’s a big mistake, in my view, one that’s unlikely to appeal to many business bloggers as trackbacks are one of the fundamental aspects of linking and connecting between blogs. At least provide the choice.

Stuart Bruce has a good summary of the features.

If you sign up for Terapad after the 30-day trial, it will cost you $18 a month. That’s on the pricey side compared to other paid-for hosted services such as TypePad or BlogHarbor, or the Yahoo! hosted blog service based on Movable Type.

Still, you’re getting more than just a blog with Terapad.

If you do sign up for the trial, take a careful look at the terms and conditions before you click the ‘next’ button. Heavyweight conditions here, especially those relating to Stephan Tual Ltd’s rights to materials provided by users. Some businesses may not be too comfortable with this one in particular. [Edit: I linked to the wrong T&C – see the comments.]

I was curious as to what the underlying technical platform is behind Terapad. Looks like Adobe’s Cold Fusion if the .cfm file extension of all the pages is any indicator.

I’ve set up only a blog for the moment, called The Next Level? I’ll be using that as a place to comment on the service as I get to know it during the next 30 days.

You can have multiple authors for your blog (but not multiple blogs on one account). If you’re in the PR community and would like to join me in trying out Terapad as an author on my test site, just let me know.

It might be fun to experiment together.

(Via TechCrunch UK)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Craig McGinty

    Hi Neville

    I notice from your Terapad site that the file names are also a little search engine unfriendly.

    Also is it possible to import stories from another service, for example TypePad?



  2. Stephan Tual - Terapad.com

    Hi Neville, thank you for your feedback, much appreciated.

    I’ll start with the T&Cs: the ones you link to are *not* the ones for the Terapad.com service, but for the Terapad.com site itself. The correct one are a lot easier going (thank God, We’re not an evil corporation :D) , and are located here. I do see this how this could be confusing though, apologies about the mix-up, we’re going to update the site today to clarify this.

    Trackbacks: we omitted those on purpose. I’m going to blog about this in the next few days. As mentionned in our FAQ This is not a technical limitation – implementing trackback would take us about 2 to 3 days of work. IMHO Trackback pings, when they aren’t spam, have 99% percent chance of being some random person going “Yeah. What he said”, followed by an exact repost of your original article. Which in itself is quite spammy, and confusing for your readers. We could go on and on.

    However, unlike the competion, we are not spending someone else’s money, so we have a serious commitment to listen to our users. We might implement trackback, it will be disabled by default but as I said, it’s only 3 days work, don’t let that stop you from using our service :D

    I’d be happy to answer any further comments or question here.

    Stephan Tual – Terapad.com

  3. AccMan / Terapad - don’t go there

    […] There’s been a fair amount of buzz around the launch of Terapad. It’s got a lot of great features that would normally commend it to the business startup community – especially e-commerce integration and a really nice and easy interface. As usual, the PRs are all over it. Stuart gives a run down of features and Neville had a peek at the copyright retention clause in the Terms & Conditions. He says: Heavyweight conditions here, especially those relating to Stephan Tual Ltd’s rights to materials provided by users. Some businesses may not be too comfortable with this one in particular. […]

  4. AccMan / Terapad - DO go there

    […] The service is more expensive than equivalents like TypePad but there is real value beyond the blog element. The pain of handling scary widgets and dragging in snippets of code to do things like PayPal etc has already been taken care of. The service still allows you to add in code but it’s not necessary to get a good start to producing an e-commerce enhanced blog. Like Neville, I’m concerned about trackback but less so than he because I have seen trackback misused too many times. […]

  5. neville

    Stephen, thanks for your comments and clarification re the T&C I’d linked to. The correct document you reference presents a far more attractive environment from a user’s perspective.

    Re trackbacks, I did note your rationale within Terapad when I signed up re not having trackbacks. The various blog posts you’d linked to portray strong points of view against trackbacks. And I do understand everyone’s growing concerns about the amount of comment and trackback spam out there (see the latest Wired magazine for a terrific feature on splogs which includes this topic).

    Yet to simply not offer it at all will put off anyone from using your service who does want to have trackbacks. You really ought to provide the choice, perhaps in the way you suggest, ie, have it but turned off by default.

    So what to do about the spam issue? Well, if you do implement trackback functionality, I think you’ll need to also have some kind of spam-catching capability as well. Indeed, you already offer comment functionality for blogs so comment spam will already be an issue once the spammers find anyone’s blog.

    This blog runs on WordPress which has Akismet built it. I think Akismet is the best comment/trackback spam protection offered with any blog platform, bar none. They do have versions for other platforms, although I don’t think Cold Fusion is one of them.

    Craig raises a good point re importing content from other blog platforms, eg, from TypePad. You can’t currently do that (at least, I couldn’t find an option anywhere). Do you have plans to offer that functionality? And what about those file names? Craig’s right – very search engine unfriendly.

    Still, congratulations on launching Terapad. No doubt I’ll have more questions once I get to know it a bit.

  6. Stephan Tual - Terapad.com

    Well you know Neville, imports are one of the features we didn’t include in 1.0 because originally we didn’t plan to go against the standard blogging platforms. But now that we receive around 90% of our traffic from people interested in switching, it sure opened our eyes to the fact that there was a large market here in the technosphere full of people who’d like to have more features as part of their blogging solutions – and they see Terapad as solid alternative. So to answer you question, yes, imports will be in.

    As for the URLs, while I wouldn’t call them pretty, but I wouldn’t call them search engine unfriendly either. In fact, I can take any of our already established clients’ sites, copy any of their content (at any level) in Google, run a search, and be directed to the right page. That’s any content, anywhere on their site.

    Feedback like this is very important to us, because it helps us prioritize – dare I say stay focused. Keep it coming, and thank you for the kind words regarding our launch.

  7. Ian Green


    Like you I’ve been experimenting with terapad Ian Green’s Media Blog alongside my normal Blogger site at Green Gathering.
    I do take on a lot of points Stephan makes – we’ve been having a very lively email conversation on the topic. Stephan has been very accomodating to some of my comments and indeed feedburner has just been uploaded.
    My own view on trackbacks and links is that do they really serve a purpose in promoting the quality of the blogger rather than ensure they get the best ranking regardless of the content. See my blog: Are we all just whores?
    On Terapad I think it will evolve – Stephan is not afraid of listening to his clients and implementing stuf PDQ.

Comments are closed.