There will be some inane debate regarding the Typepad Feature List and what FEATURE X is in PLUS PACKGE while FEATURE Y is in PRO PACKAGE. Fact of the matter is, there are, at least, two features in all of the packages which make the Typepad service superior to anything I’ve tried.
Speed. I’ve got the most recent version of Movabletype install on a variety of different pieces of hardware. While the performance of the applications varies from machine to machine, it’s a generally slow experience. Until Typepad showed up, the speed of MT was fine with me. I did most of the work for the weblog OUTSIDE of the weblog and used MT simply for posting, minor, edits, and template tweaks.
Typepad (at least in it’s BETA form) is fast… really fast. Waiting for the software to complete your last action is a thing of the past and that simple fact transforms the user experience. Typepad becomes a sophisticated weblog dashboard as opposed to a useful conduit for publishing.
The other unlisted feature is usability. Six Apart is clearly thinking of a specific spectrum of end user as their design presents a simple, useful interface which scales from sophisticated new users to power uses with ease. If you think this is easy to do, I ask you to take a look at the administration interface for any competing services and compare against Typepad.
Fortunately, Six Apart has not lowered the usability bar to the level of the AOL user and, personally, I’m glad. While brain-dead-weblogging probably means more cash money in the door, Six Apart continues to target the moderately sophisticated user and that means the voice of the Typepad community won’t sound like lunch time at highschool.