Women's blog network Sugar Inc. has made a surprise move: it's giving users access to its platform so that they can create their own blogs. The San Francisco-based company made the announcement through a post on its tech blog, Geeksugar.
The new system, called OnSugar, promises a "sweet and simple" alternative to services like Google's Blogger and Six Apart's TypePad. Powered by the Drupal open-source platform, it will give bloggers free access to Sugar's tools for creating multiple kinds of posts: regular text posts as well as photo galleries, polls, quotations, videos, and the like (yes, this is a bit like Tumblr).
OnSugar bloggers can also take advantage of shopping widgets from the Sugar-owned ShopStyle, take a cut of the sales, and use images from Getty Images for free. They can also have Sugar import existing blogs on Blogger, WordPress, or TypePad into the OnSugar platform.
This is surprising, given the fact that the industry trend has been to create an ad network to pull in publishers, not a blogging platform. Sugar, which already has loads of user accounts through its social network, TeamSugar, will not be serving any ads yet but rather will let bloggers use the ad network of their choice. That includes the ad network of Glam Media, which is typically talked about as a Sugar competitor.