WordPress.com grows by 2007’s WordPress.com every month

7 Comments

Matt Mullenweg posted for the first time today over at ThemeShaper, the old stomping grounds of Ian Stewart which has become the Automattic theme blog. He shares some of the background on the big WordPress.com news from this morning, including this fun tidbit: In 2007 WordPress.com hosted approximately 1.7 million blogs. Today, with nearly 17 millinion blogs, WordPress.com adds 1.7 million blogs every two months. In other words, they grow by one 2007 WordPress.com every sixty days.

Yeah.

Mullenweg also shared some background on the WordPress.com paid themes announcement, particularly why it is only happening now:

To answer a question I’m sure many of you have: why did this take so long? Well after the above post, it became obvious to me that we had to figure out the GPL issues first so introducing a WP.com marketplace wouldn’t inadvertently harm the WordPress community by sucking the air out of .org theme development, so I held off the revenue and success we knew this would bring to work out the GPL issues out with the community.

The launch this morning actually uses some of the code from 2007’s almost-launch. Paid themes on WordPress.com were that close to happening then.

Mullenweg also emphasized the important of the experimental nature of this new step forward. He posited a few questions that I think would be worth pondering here as well:

  • Will anyone buy these things?
  • How will the private forums work for support, both for WordPress.com users and partners?
  • What are the most effective price ranges?
  • How many themes and partners should WordPress.com have?
  • How can WordPress.com promote the premium themes, while balancing adding new free ones?

Only time will really tell. What do you think?

7 thoughts on “WordPress.com grows by 2007’s WordPress.com every month

  1. Didn’t understand what the GPL had to do with them opening up for premium themes on wp.com.
    You don’t seem to get a downloadable copy of the theme in question. So you pay $45 for a theme only usable on wp.com when you can get two standalone themes from WooThemes for $70.

    • The GPL angle, I think, was as simple as them wanting to only include themes on .com that are GPL. So while they could have made any themes available, restricting it to only GPL themes was their own choice.

      As far as the cost… for those using .com, I would think the price tag for buying and downloading a theme would cost even more. They would need to know how to set it up, manage it themselves, their hosting, etc. They are using WordPress.com because it’s easy for them. It’s just a different audience — obviously we would never buy a theme for that on dot com, but then we would never be using dot com would we :)

  2. i think it will be a roaring success. There will be lots of speed bumps along the way – the biggest of them probably coming from the theme development community rather than paying wp.com customers.

    I think the price points will need some experimentation but I don’t think they are unreasonable. If you are a wp.com user and want to give your site a real professional look and feel then commercial themes now become a really cost effective way of doing rather than going the self hosted route.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if WP.com brings in $1m in revenue this year from this – easily – and that’s only if they convert an 8th of 1% of their 17M+ wp.com users to a commercial theme. If you consider most commercial theme shops would be hitting for a conversion rate well over 1% then this becomes a pretty big potential revenue earner for both Automattic and theme shops.

  3. Pingback: The impact of Commercial Themes on WordPress.com | Pistachio Media - Pistachio Media

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