Automattic wants to unify “the dark matter of the web”

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Matt Mullenweg and Toni Schneider, founder and CEO of Automattic respectively, were interviewed by Alexia Tsotsis at LeWeb this past weekend about the future of their company’s products, and WordPress in general. When asked about the future of Automattic, Mullenweg said:

The top referrers for a lot of big sites are Facebook, Twitter, everything like that, but if you look at that there’s an ‘Other’ that often has 4x, 5x what Facebook will send in a day, in terms of traffic… You have something that’s Facebook-sized out there, but it’s spread across millions and millions of domains so it’s difficult to think about and difficult to talk about. But it’s sort of this dark matter of the web, that has a huge gravitational force. And what we want to figure out is how to unifiy that…

With the large influence that WordPress.org and WordPress.com have over the internet, Automattic may have the best chance at unifying that part of the web. Schneider said that 30 million publishers are using WordPress today, or about 10% of all websites in the world today. Approximately half of those WordPress sites are running on WordPress.com, and the other half are running the software themselves.

Mullenweg went on to list plugins like After the Deadline and VaultPress as examples of unifying this “dark matter”. He went on to describe what this might end up looking like:

Right now you sign up for Intense Debate, and you go through that process. You sign up for VaultPress to secure your blog and you go through that process. I’m wondering if there’s something that, where we can sort of put all of this together and provide, just more like a, I don’t want to call it an App Store experience, ’cause it’s not that at all. But just something where you have something you can drop in your WordPress that just adds all this really cool stuff that we’ve built especially for WordPress.com. So there’s really no difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, in terms of the features you get.

He finished with “I don’t know what that looks like, but we’re working on it.”

Automattic currently employs 74 people, distributed throughout the world. While Automattic won’t go into detail regarding their revenue, their largest source of revenue comes from WordPress.com’s premium services. WordPress VIP is included at the very high end of these premium services. When asked about being acquired, Mullenweg said:

Our goal is not to be acquired… Long term our hope is that we can find revenues and growth to the point where we don’t need to be acquired, because I feel like the web really does need a strong independent voice here for publishing, if nothing else.

You can view the full interview, embedded below:

LeWeb 2010 was December 8 and 9 in Paris, France. LeWeb is a conference that typically brings in 2500 entrepreneurs, investors, and journalists within the internet industry.

5 thoughts on “Automattic wants to unify “the dark matter of the web”

  1. I love the looks on Matt’s and Toni’s faces when the interviewer would ask her questions. They looked as though they couldn’t believe some of the questions she was firing away. My favorite… “So, why have you not been acquired?” Is that question for real?!?

    I have a lot of respect for Matt and Toni. It’s a shame this interview was conducted better since a lot of people want to hear what they have to say.

  2. Pingback: Paul Maiorana joins Automattic as Director of Platform Services | WPCandy

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