LeWeb: Where now for WordPress?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Matt Mullenweg

It’s been a tricky year in the blogging world – Six Apart, the traditional blog business representative at Le Web has gone, attention has shifted to things like Twitter and Facebook, and new services like Tumblr and Posterous are driving innovation.

So, how do Matt Mullenweg and Toni Schneider of Automattic see the future of blogging?

About 30m people are using WordPress – about 10% of the world’s site. 300m uniques a month on WordPress.com, which is about half of the WordPress-powered sites.

Are they making money? “We don’t talk about our revenues in public,” says Toni. “We’ve been focusing on our team and infrastructure, and not focusing on revenue. We will be doing that over the next year.” They’re breaking even he says. Most of their revenue comes from WordPress.com, and the revenue comes from premium services, from extra space up to WordPress VIP for companies. They’re a company of 74 people.

“Blogging hasn’t found its AdWords yet,” says Mullenweg. That still needs to be found

Why haven’t they been acquired? “Our goal is not to be acquired,” says Mullenweg. “We’re also a quirky little company. We’re a tech company that gives away our intellectual property. We’re a distributed company.”

Indeed, he’d like to grow to the point where they don’t need acquisition. The web needs something open, for publishers at least. You have something that’s Facebook-sized out there in WordPress blogs – so how do you unify that? There’s a lot of interesting stuff on the web happening there.

“There’re really not any different between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. There are trade offs.”

He seems to suggest that there’s a lot of mileage in connecting up the hosted services of .com with .org installs in a way that makes it much easier to do things that your $8 a month hosting account can’t do. And maybe that’s where their revenue will come…

blog platformsBlogginglewebleweb10WordPress

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.