Jeff Chandler interviewed Lance Willett, an Automattic Theme Wrangler, on his WordPress Weekly podcast last Saturday. During the interview, he asked Lance if customers that buy WordPress.com premium themes could transfer ownership of those themes to self hosted installations of WordPress. While Lance didn’t have an answer to that question at the time, he did share something we found very interesting. Automattic is working behind the scenes to make the transition from WordPress.com to self hosted WordPress installations easier.
Lance told Jeff, “We want to encourage people to do the migration, we’re actually working on a way to make that easier for people.”
At first glance it seems like a strange business move, right? Why would Automattic want to encourage bloggers to quit WordPress.com and move to self hosted installations, where Automattic doesn’t have the same potential for monetary gain?
Well, people are going to migrate no matter what. It is really a natural progression to want to move to a self-hosted WordPress install as your needs change and Automattic’s fantastic product meets its limitations. Right now, moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is pretty much the same as moving from any other blogging platform to WordPress.org.
So it makes sense for Automattic to make the transition simpler so that the WordPress customer (something more than simply an Automattic customer) stays satisfied.
In the interview, Lance said that they’ve been working with preferred hosts behind the scenes “to figure out how we could get all of our themes bundled with them so that if you were to move, it would essentially be seamlesss. You would get the same theme and maybe even all your widgets and everything.”
He said it probably wouldn’t be a one-click sort of transition, but it would hopefully be much simpler than it is right now. And of course, you know that if hosting companies are involved, there is likely something there monetarily for Automattic too.
So what do you think? Is this a smart move by Automattic? Is it a good opportunity for new revenue?
If you want to listen to that part of the conversation, it starts around minute 53. Also, stay tuned to WP Weekly, as it seems Jeff has put the podcast and WPTavern back into gear. You may also like to check out our interview of Lance from last week as well.