Question for you: Would you like to buy WPQuestions.com?

16 Comments

It was December of 2009 when Darren Hoyt and Lawrence Krubner launched WPQuestions, as a new place to have your WordPress support questions answered. Krubner announced that the pair are looking to sell the paid WordPress support site soon, though not necessarily to the highest bidder:

Darren Hoyt and I would like to sell WPQuestions.com, but only if we can find the right person (or company) to take over this site. The buyer would have be as respectful of the community as we have been.

WPQuestions is currently at about 3,000 members, and the questions/answers and payouts generated by this group is published on Codewi.se in the form of line charts. According to Krubner, WPQuestions charges 12% plus $0.90 for each question asked on the site. With just over $15,000 paid out to various question answerers over the last year, the site has pulled in over $3,000. While the site seems to be at its peak, Kruber and Hoyt are busy with other projects and say they can’t give the site the time it deserves. Hoyt is now focusing primarily on a new project called Readability, and Krubner on Codewi.se itself.

WordPress support sites come in all shapes and sizes. The dot org forums are well known, of course. WP Help Center took a different approach to WPQuestions, and will close down at the end of the month. Where do you think WPQuestions fits into the WordPress community and—we might as well ask—who is the right community member to spearhead its further growth? Is it you? Let us know in the comments.

16 thoughts on “Question for you: Would you like to buy WPQuestions.com?

  1. Thanks for the coverage, Ryan. Life and work have changed dramatically in the past year and I realized within the first few months of WPQ that I couldn’t contribute much in the way of design and free time. Lawrence has done a good job growing it and feedback has been good, but we think it would do better in the hands of someone who has more time and energy to focus on it.

  2. Think WP Stackexchange is the future in terms of WP Q&A’s (that place just keeps growing and a lot of great experts are available there). Not to mention, the stack network commands a lot of authority and has a nice search ranking boost as a result. As WP matures, I think the competition will have to be in the form of ‘free’ (i.e. revenue streams are advertising or otherwise). Good luck with the sale though, it’d be cool if you could sell it at 1 years revenue, or alternatively, take the best articles and produce an e-book.

    • I think there is a place for both, in terms of support style. Free support is fantastic, and without a doubt is what solves the majority of support questions that pop up within the community. We will always need it. At the same time, I see a place for sites like WPQuestions. I used it, actually, last January when I had a question I needed answered for a client. I had a 12 hour window where I needed something solved, and didn’t know the answer myself. By offering up a few bucks ($50 or something, if I remember right) I knew (or at least figured) I would get a response. I guess what I’m trying to say is the free support forums work out great, as long as time isn’t an issue.

      That said, the new WordPress Stack Exchange site is definitely competitive, both for WPQuestions and the dot org forums. Only time will tell where people prefer asking, and answering, questions about WordPress.

  3. I tend to agree with previous commenters that the future of WP Support is WordPress Answers ( http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/ ).

    I joined WP Answers on the first day of its Beta phase, and the levels of both growth and participation have been phenomenal.

    I think in order to remain viable, WPQuestions will have to shift its focus to the ‘Job Post’ section and convert the Q&A to a free model.

    Best of luck to whomever takes ownership. It’s got serious potential, but with some major changes.

  4. all I can say is WOW, this is a great opportunity for someone or a company to pickup a great site, I myself have spent a couple hundred dollars using wpquestions when I needed an answer and was stumped.

    Hope they find someone worth taking it over, I myself will continue to use the site as an emergency resource.

  5. did I read that correctly? $15,000 paid out to people who answered but the site only made $3,000

    is that correct? doesnt seem right.

    • That’s based on them taking 20% of each payment, plus $0.90 (which I’m guessing is to cover transactions or something?).

      So 20% of $15,000 paid out comes to $3,000. It’s not the official word from them, but that’s what my math gives me. Approximately, of course.

  6. Hey — thanks for the shout outs for http://wordpress.stackexchange.com !

    As a heavy long-time WordPress user both personally and professionally, I’m ecstatic to see a core of fellow WP enthusiasts forming a community there. We’re also looking to sponsor some community members to attend WP conferences now that the site is launched: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/02/community-conference-sponsorships/

    That said, I’m not entirely sure that the wpquestions.com domain is a good fit for us. I tried to elaborate on meta: http://meta.wordpress.stackexchange.com/questions/449/considering-a-custom-domain-for-this-site-wpquestions-com-is-for-sale

  7. It seems to me that your ‘renting’ the site off them rather than buying it. Your still giving them a cut (although its small) of the profits and they are hosting it.

  8. Yeah, they are not actually selling the site, it’s more of a franchise deal, they retain a set fee per transaction and control of the code, the server, the domain i.e. everything they need to pull the rug out from under you in the event of any future disagreements or if they just get greedy.

    They are hoping that someone will come in and invest their time, energy and personal connections to build their membership from 3,000 to 30,000. Seriously, if you have the time, talent and inclination to build a community – and anyone will tell you that community building is tough – pour your efforts into a site that YOU control; you are the most valuable asset.

    There is nothing immoral about this sort of partnership (it’s just a dumb move for the partner who puts in all the work in return for no real power) but the headline is incorrect and it was misleading and self-serving of Darren not to take the opportunity to clarify matters when he commented. This is NOT a sale.

    • Darren has pointed out to me that, in fact, he did not notice that the headline and the text of the post characterized the proposed deal as an outright sale. It was, therefore, wrong of me to suggest that he had been misleading or self-serving in failing to take the opportunity to clarify the matter in his comment.

      Obviously, Darren has been super busy and, right now, is busy dealing with a bone fide Web controversy, so, I totally accept that he didn’t have time to read the post properly before commenting his thanks to Ryan. It is, however, still important to note that the proposed partnership is not a website sale in the usual, outright, Flippa sense and it could lead to a lot of bad feeling further down the road if the buyer takes this post at face value and doesn’t bother to absorb the small print – that would end being a rotten experience for everyone.

      Probably the best thing about blog comments is that they can point out precisely this sort of mistake, so, no-one should be offended or feel attacked when genuine mistakes are pointed out.

  9. Just to clarify a few things:

    1.) The site currently charges 12% and .90 cents. The site has made, after all PayPal fees are subtracted, something like $1,500 so far. Roughly the site makes, after PayPal fees, something like 10% of the prize money. It makes something between $30 and $60 a week. The new owner would be free to raise prices, of course, if they felt doing so would be wise. (We started off charging 6% and .60 cents, so we’ve already doubled prices from when we started.)

    2.) Donnacha WordSkill is possibly mis-reading what “ownership” means. I’m sure that is my fault. I should have written the initial post more clearly. What exactly do you own if you buy the site? Please read our informal agreement:

    “…It is understood that you own 100% of the data that is collected through your website. Codewi.se makes no claims regarding the text that you write, the images you create, the CSS that you create, or any other element that you might contribute to the design. You own 100% of the copyright of all the elements that you create.

    You also own all of the data that you collect from your own users. The text that they post, as both questions and answers, does not belong to Codewi.se. Whether or not such material belongs to you depends on whatever agreement you wish to enforce between yourself and your own users. Nothing in this agreement precludes you from fashioning your own copyright agreement to govern relations between yourself and your own users. So long as no one infringes on those elements where Codewi.se has claimed a copyright, you are free to negotiate your own terms with your own users.

    It is understood that the data that your users contribute will be stored in databases controlled by Codewi.se. However, this data does not belong to Codewi.se. Codewi.se holds this data in its databases as part of its service to you. Codewi.se agrees to never mine this data for its own commercial ends, save through whatever exceptions are made in this agreement, and in other agreements that you may reach with Codewi.se. ”

    http://codewi.se/2010/10/23/agreement-govern-codewise-beta-program/

    The content of the database is yours, which means you could always export the data, write your own software to work with it, and set up your own site, free of Codewi.se.

    I realize my original post is poorly written, and I will amend it. What I was trying to say is that we are not selling the software that powers the Codewi.se sites. We are, however, selling the data, so if you wanted to take that data and start your own site with it, at WPQuestions.com, you could. But if you’d like to use the software that we have created, then it would be on the terms of any other Codewi.se site.

    • No, I don’t think I did misread “what ownership means” and I had made no criticism at all of your post – I merely pointed out that the actual terms – which I gleaned from your post – reveal quite a different proposition from the one that the headline and text of this WPCandy post suggested. If it wasn’t already clear from my first comment, I think it’s fair to say that my second comment made that crystal clear.

      In your lengthy definition of ownership, you make no mention of probably the single-most important element, the domain. Regardless of who owns the content, control of the site lies in the script, which the new “owner” will have no access to, and the domain. Am I really the one who has problems grasping the concept of ownership?

      Anyway, I wish you and whoever pays a fruitful partnership and hope that your users will continue to get good answers to their WordPress questions.

  10. @donnacha WordSkill – just to be clear, you are buying the domain name, wpquestions.com, plus all the data in the database. You can do anything you want with it. You’ve got the domain and you’ve got all of the data in the database. If you wanted to use our software, you could, as a normal Codewi.se site. Otherwise, you can take the domain and the user data and write your own software.

  11. Pingback: WPQuestions.com goes on the auction block | WP Weekly.net

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