Akismet launches Partner Program to reward account referrals (in closed beta)

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Automattic has quietly launched a new Partner Program for their (fair to say absurdly) popular plugin Akismet. The new Partner Program will reward WordPress professionals for referring their customers to Akismet’s subscription options by giving them a cut of that member’s first year of subscription payments. I was able to learn a bit about the new program’s launch from Pete Davies, the Premium Services Lead at Automattic, and I’m convinced it’s a clever business decision for the Akismet project.

Those accepted into the Partner Program will be given a special link that they can in turn give to their own clients. This link will bring the user to a sign-up page listing only the paid Akismet plans. Forty-five days after a new use has signed up using the special link, Automattic will pay out 40% of the expected first year’s revenue from that user to the partner via PayPal.

The program is in closed beta right now, but as a little something special for WPCandy readers the kind folks at Akismet have reserved 25 spots just for WPCandy readers itching to try the new program. Just fill out their application form to get the process started. Keep in mind that while each of you is perfect in every way, not everyone who jumps on it will necessarily be accepted to the Partner Program. They will at least consider you first, though, when you say WPCandy sent you.

This program differs from a more traditional affiliate system, as their splash page explains. Automattic intends the program only “for use with your existing clients,” and certain methods of linking are against the rules:

Linking to your referrer code on the internet, or in any way promoting it to people that aren’t your customers is prohibited, and will result in your being removed from the program. The plan here is to have less spam, not more!

The Partner Program page includes a rundown of the various plans that Akismet offers. In case you haven’t run across it before I’ll summarize them here:

  • For personal, non-commercial use Akismet is free. It’s worth noting that this doesn’t change with the launch of the Partner Program.
  • For an individual site with to 80,000 comments per month, the “Pro” level is $5/month.
  • For multiple medium-sized sites totaling 80,000 comments per month, the “Enterprise” level is $50/month.
  • For up to 300,000 comments per month, the “Corporate” level is $395/month.

Akismet’s influence in the WordPress community is hard to overstate. WordPress downloads have come packaged with Akismet for years now. Nearly a year ago Akismet saw a big 2.5 update and at that time had caught over 20 billion spam comments. Now the caught spam number is nearing 36 billion — that’s billion, with a “b”. Akismet is so crazy popular that it was even immortalized as a cartoon dog. Seriously, how can you really top that?

Reflections on the Partner Program

It occurs to me that this new Akismet program will likely lead to many more Akismet accounts, and many more paying accounts at that. Based on my own personal experience, there were times freelancing when I would just use my Akismet key for their sites. I shouldn’t have, but I did. Were this new program in place back then, though, I’m sure I would have done differently.

This new program will end up not only bringing in more Akismet accounts, it will also result in more (properly) paying users. That developers will see a return for their referrals is a happy coincidence, but that this will generate so many more paying users is what makes this a smart business move.

It sounds like a bit more information will be coming out about this next week. In the meantime let’s chat. Are you more inclined to set up proper paying accounts for your clients now that the new Akismet Partner Program is in place? Oh, and will you be applying as some of the first WPCandy readers (read: first anywhere, really) to try the new system?

7 thoughts on “Akismet launches Partner Program to reward account referrals (in closed beta)

  1. This is very sensible, and I’d like to think it relates to the following brief conversation I had with @photomatt on Twitter where he responded to my discussion with @pgibbs over the problem with corporates and Akismet: https://twitter.com/#!/photomatt/statuses/119670331110723584

    What it boils down to is that we could cheerfully apply VaultPress, Akismet etc to our corporate clients, but without a partner program we can’t make money from it unless we add a mark-up. And mark-ups on public prices often cause procurement issues. Corporates can’t always use credit cards to pay.

    So this is good news and I look forward to us being involved. Well done Automattic for listening.

    • Perhaps based on the response they see with the Akismet Partner Program they may look into bringing the same system into their other products (VaultPress, VideoPress, etc.).

      • VaultPress would be very interesting. I’d have to review their guarantees and how well it works with edge cases in order to be able to recommend to clients, but it certainly looks good on the surface.

        Partner programs are win-win situations – we get to make more money by selling Automattic products, and Automattic get money from an army of partners. This is one of the reasons why MS has done so well. I look forward to seeing this develop and grow over time.

        • I’m sure it’s just a matter of the right implementation. This Akismet program tells me they really aren’t interested in creating affiliate programs that encourage folks to post links all over the internet. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like this for VaultPress — in good time, of course.

  2. Pingback: Akismet Testing Out Partner Program

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