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Sampa – Blog Platform On Steriods

Sampa is an interesting new homepage-builder product that
has just gone into beta. Like a lot of the products I’m interested in these days, it’s
quite hard to explain what it is! Sampa founder Marcelo Calbucci, an ex-Microsoftie who is
still based in Redmond, calls it a “blog on steroids” – in other words, the next level up
from a blog platform like Typepad or blogger.com. Marcelo admits they’re still trying to
define their market segment, but basically what he wants it to be is a platform for users
to create a whole range of different apps – blogs, newsgroups, pages, photo
albums, family tree, etc. If I had to slot it into a market segment, for now it’d be a blogging

Example Sampa site, Marcelo’s own website.

I get the sense that Marcelo wants it to be much more than a blogging service though –
he even mentioned to me that it’s a WebOS (a web-based development platform). This is
where he may have issues, because right now the Sampa site is targeting
non-programmers – consumers, families, small businesses. It wants to be “easy to maintain, affordable and
customizable”, but if you take a look at the admin interface (screenshot below) it looks
a little forbidding for the casual user. 

Another thing that Sampa could do is go the same route as the Microcontent
I profiled in earlier posts (43Things, Suprglu, Peoplefeeds, etc) – i.e.
be a central place for bloggers to access their various types of content across the Web.
Flickr photos, delicious links, etc. Maybe also include widgets and gadgets, like the
Personalized Start Pages.  

For a homepage-builder, it’s a crowded market – because everybody from SixApart to siteKreator (to pick one from the econsultant
list) is trying to create a unique product that will also appeal to mainstream users.
It’s a tall ask to sell a web platform to Joe and Jane Bloggs, so I wonder whether Sampa
needs to either make their interface a whole lot more simple – or alternatively change
tack and go for the early adopter market, more befitting its “blog on steroids”

So, it’s an interesting app but it probably needs more refinement. It is a very early beta though and you can test it out
yourself at https://sampa.com/sm/pplan.aspx.

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