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.
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?