Ok, six-apart have been around for the best part of a decade… but for some reason them and their product Vox is suddenly The Word On The Street. (or simply word >.<, in online community parlance). I’m not hundred per cent why – the ability to lock down individual posts to groups while still running an open blog is cool. But the killer app? Not sure, we’ll see…. (no I don’t have all the answers. Heh).

This is an important year for Six Apart. Unlike YouTube and many other advertising-funded “Web 2.0” businesses, the company takes the decidedly old-fashioned approach of actually charging people for its services.

Its blog-publishing tools, Movable Type and TypePad, are used by many professional bloggers and by companies both big and small, which pay anything from $US4.95 a month to hundreds of dollars a year. Mena said 50 million people read one of the tens of thousands of TypePad blogs every month.

This is a good and growing business that supports 150 employees, but it is not the break-out phenomenon that justified the fancy price paid for YouTube.

For that reason the Trotts recently launched Vox, a free personal blogging and social-networking service – and Six Apart’s shot at the big time.

One of the important advances with Vox is the privacy controls that allow users to choose just who can see “every post, every picture, every sound clip, every video”.

That was from our friends at News. And thanks to Ella James and Neil McD for sending me emails on it…