Adobe’s Contribution to Bloggers – Contribute 4. A complete review.

Adobe has launched a new version of Contribute (part of Macromedia acquisition), their web publishing tool. As Adobe mentions in their site: “Adobe Contribute 4 enables anyone to quickly, easily,…

Adobe has launched a new version of Contribute (part of Macromedia acquisition), their web publishing tool.

As Adobe mentions in their site: “Adobe Contribute 4 enables anyone to quickly, easily, and safely update existing websites and blogs. With Contribute 4, content authors can post and publish content to multiple websites and blogs from a single application or publish directly from within Microsoft Office applications.”

Let’s see whether Contribute adds any significant contribution to my blogging experience or not.I downloaded the trial version and configured my blogger site. Here is the review:

  • Once passed the login/password stage, Contribute should have displayed all my blogs (I have registered 28 in my blogger account), and asked me to select which ones I want to import to Contribute. Instead of this, the product tried importing all the blogs and wasn’t able to import any (got repetitive errors)
  • The product took significant amount of time (compared to Zoundry) to import my blog entries. More than Zoundry, more than Live Writer.
  • Support for Tags – I expected Contribute to provide me options of entering tags for Technorati/icerocket/ and other applications. Though you can add these in preferences, but preference is at the blog level and not at the post level. Remember, every post is different and I would like to have an option of tagging at post level (and not just the blog level)
  • The product UI looks very similar to Zoundry. Have a look at the images below – Do you see any difference?
  • It’s too heavy – Too heavy to be a blog editing tool. This might be suitable for webmasters, but definitely not for bloggers.
  • Usability concerns– I am not too pleased with the usability part too. I wanted to add hyperlink to a text and the least that Contribute could have done was to have a hyperlink symbol in the menu bar (or Ctrl+K). UI, in my opinion is not at all intuitive.
  • Plugins for MS office products – Using Contribute one can publish blog from other MS office products (Word/Excel etc.). Fair enough, but honestly, I can use Blogger’s word plugin to achieve the same, and performancing’s plugin for publishing from the browser. Really don’t need a heavy product for this purpose.
  • And finally, the moolah factor – Priced at $149 (INR Rs. 6,854) Contribute is definitely not for bloggers. I will never use this product. There are free products available on the net (Live Writer, Zoundry etc.), which serve the same purpose (more elegantly)

Frankly speaking, Contribute doesn’t add any value to a blogger; but maybe if you are a webmaster and have the budget to buy branded softwares, go ahead and add your contribution to Adobe’s top line (i.e. profits).

If I were the Product manager of Contribute, I would have launched 2 versions of Contribute:
a. Contribute – for webmasters (with bells and whistles features)
b. Contribute Lite -Toned down version for bloggers (for free).
After all, bloggers needs are completely different from webmasters. And Adobe should have known this.
As far as I am concerned, I will stick to live writer.

Adobe links: Adobe Contribute | Download Contribute | 10 Reasons to buy Contribute

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