WPTavern sold to unnamed buyer for untold price, Chandler sticking around


Jeff Chandler first publicly hinted that he was interested in selling his WPTavern in a blog post last month called “Thanks for everything“. In it he described his difficulty making money with the site, his own personal troubles, and that he would be stepping away for a while.

Today, via the WPTavern account, Chandler shared further developments:

Happy to report that although I am not the owner of wptavern anymore, I will be staying onboard to maintain and operate the site.

WPTavern has been purchased in its entirety by an unnamed buyer for an unnamed amount. While that’s not too much information right now, Chandler did say that the site and podcast will continue to be maintained by him, with no other changes “for the foreseeable future“.

We haven’t noticed any changes to WPTavern yet, and haven’t the slightest idea who the new owner might be. Chandler says the current plan is for the new owner to stay silent for the time being. What do you folks think? Who is the most likely to have purchased WPTavern, and for how much?

You can read more about this change of hands in a blog post on WPTavern (but still no details on the new owner).

32 thoughts on “WPTavern sold to unnamed buyer for untold price, Chandler sticking around

    • That was one of my guesses too. Seems like an odd acquisition though.

      I originally assumed the forum was going to get absorbed into the WP Candy site, as I’d heard rumblings about a forum potentially popping up here, but it seems that’s not the case after all.

      • Not that odd an acquistion: third-party WP-focused sites (or what appear to be third-party WP-focused sites) are good for the brand as they help maintain buzz, publicise new features, boost the software’s visiblity in Google, generate backlinks to wordpress.org, etc.

        Of course, official sites never seem quite as cool as unofficial ones (though whether any site syndicated to the dashboard actually qualifies as ‘unofficial’ is a whole other debate), and people would question WP Tavern’s editorial independence if it were yet another Matt-owned site, so it’s easy to see why everyone concerned would keep it quiet. I can’t quite see what motive any other purchaser would have to hide their identity, though.

        • Yeah, it’s the fact that it would no longer be a third party site that made me consider it to be an odd acquisition. Third party sites are definitely always cooler as you know there is no (or at least less) bias in them.

          One potential theory on how it could be used:

          Since third party sites are cooler, perhaps a third party site could be run by the first party!? That could be achieved by having the Tavern as a syndicated platform which pulled in WordPress related posts from around the community based on voting by the community members themselves. This could then be pulled into the WordPress dashboard to replace the planet feed. It would allow the community to control the dashboard feed, whilst still be run by official channels. The Tavern forum could be used as an informal spot for non-support discussions.

          Matt and co. do seem to care a lot about avoiding censoring where possible, so this seems like a viable option to me. Your blog in particular is a shining example of where they have chosen not to censor things.

          …. or it’s someone else entirely with a totally different plan. Just thought I’d put my theory out there on the off-chance I actually get it right 🙂

  1. After I finish fixing my site, I might run a contest and prize (for winner who guesses who is the new WPT owner) will be some WP related stuff.

  2. Is it just me or does it seem a bit childish? What’s the benefit to “the secret”?

    • It could have been agreed upon as part of the sale that Jeff kept quiet? I’d like to think the new owner might reveal who they are soon (maybe they’re waiting for the right time), they might be right under our noses for all we know, it would save us all from guessing anyway! 😉 Oh and no, you can rule me out!

  3. You never know, the new owner could of posted here already (not it is not me).

    I am honestly leaning towards Matt Mullenweg

  4. My theory: it’ll be a guy no one knows and who will more or less abandon it over time. Sorry to disappoint, guys 🙂

  5. Honestly, I’d be shocked if it were Matt. As a long time community member and someone who’s seen how things have progressed over the years, its not something Matt would do.

    My money is on somebody else thats big, but quite in the community that likes to give back. They want Tavern to stay open and generate buzz by giving Jeffr0 the opportunity to continue to work it without having to worry about financial issues (see latest post).

    I’d name names but I’d rather let someone else try and figure it out. I’m sure it will all be revealed in due time. I think I’ve offered enough clues that most that run the WordCamp circuit could offer a decent guess.

    And no, its not me 😉

  6. I’m really, really happy for Jeff and am glad he could get something for the site, while still being able to contribute to the community.

    After reading his “more of the same” post, however, I can’t help wondering what is in it for the buyer. If all the display and affiliate advertising is going to go away from the site, the what incentive is there for the buyer? I mean, if the sale was mostly about helping out Jeff, then I’m all for it — but the cynic in me can’t help but wonder what the real value in the site is, especially if it isn’t even going to be monetized.

    At one time, the Tavern was a great place to get insights and information about WordPress and the forum was really active — but to be honest, I think that WPCandy has filled the void pretty well (and has done a better job offering certain types of content) on the site side, and I wonder about the forum in light of things like the WordPress stack exchange, etc.

    Don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t intended as a swipe at Jeff — I think he’s a great guy and he did a really great job with the site when he was able to give it his all. The reality is, however, he wasn’t able to make a sustainable living giving it his all and now that he has real life obligations like a home and pending nuptials, I totally understand how writing about WordPress isn’t going top priority.

    Anyway, as weird as it all sounds, I’m happy for Jeff and hope this can give him an opportunity to infuse new life into the Tavern.

  7. I’m glad WP Tavern will continue to exist.

    I’m sad how it happened.

    How many times has it almost died now? 3? 4?

    This isn’t a cat with 9 lives. If it were built purely on passion, it would live forever…

    My advice to the Jeffe, get out of retail, get a job in tech, to pay the bills. You’ve got skills. Keep The Tavern open for the thrills. Brother, you have more blessings than you know.

    That model has worked out for many, ala Robert Scobble. I don’t think they ever cried wolf. Instead, they cried “Pay Day!” when their passion opened new doors.

  8. While I’m not an active forum member at WPTavern, I do listen to the podcast. I find it entertaining and informative. I know from first hand experience that it’s very hard to keep something going that you have a passion for yet at the same time have to worry about paying the bills.

    As a podcaster myself, I just want Jeff to up the sound quality of his show and stop using Talk Shoe. The show sounds horrible and while content IS king, there are times where I find myself getting annoyed. A minor gripe, but I think it would behoove him to consider a different platform.

    I’m glad he’ll still get the opportunity to do what he loves to do.

    • Just curious, have you listened to the WPCandy Podcast yet? It’s still pretty young (22 episodes), but would love to hear your thoughts on it sometime.

      • I listen to WPCandy podcast as well and even on Skype it’s a noticeable difference in the quality of the show over WP Tavern podcast. The WordPress Community podcast is also irritating at times to listen to. The worst thing IMO is when someone on the episode is just using the little condenser mic on their computer and listening through the computer speakers, which can cause feedback.

        At Sock Monkey Sound we use recording studio gear, Logic Pro or Pro Tools to record episodes. Even then you never know what could happen: people talking off mic, talking over each other (I’m guilty), shorts in mic cables, bad phone connections, and Skype issues.

        A couple months ago I had to call Henry Rollins and tell him that we had to cancel an interview due to Skype being unable to makes calls to land lines and cell phones for about 8 hours. That really sucked.

        When do interviews with people over the phone we usually set up our microphones through the Toft board and then record the conversation using the E-camm Call Recorder. It records a .mov file and it comes with some simple programs that enable you to split the sides of the conversation. From there we’re able to clean up the interviewees sound quality a bit using some limiting, compression, and leveling. While not ideal, It’s served us fairly well up til now.

        Content really is king though, I’ve listened to some horrible sound stuff because the topic or show were really interesting.

        @Ryan: the WPCandy show is fun to listen to cuz you guys keep it lose and seem to have some fun with it while being knowledgeable. I listen to WPCandy, WP Tavern, and WP Communtiy so I can learn about something that I know far less about than the people on the show. All the shows have been great educational tools for me.

    • Talk Show does kinda sound like crap. However, as the WPCandy podcast with me showed, using Skype isn’t much better (albeit I was having connectivity issues at the time).

      I wonder if there is any good sounding way to do podcast interviews over the net without sounding like crap. DO ANYBODY NO?

      • The biggest problem with Skype is the need for 100% of attendees to have solid internet connections to handle the call.

        And as far as sound quality, we’ve had a consistent battle and we’re slowly learning. Basically the first key is decent mics and after that a proper balance in volume from each person on the call. We’ve had real inconsistency there that hopefully is worked out for the upcoming episode.

        Chip is right above though that Skype will just have its issues with the call freaking out when two people talk at once. Also, sometimes you just get a crappy connection even if everything seems okay on your end.

        If you listen to some larger, high profile podcasts, even they have their issues, and working through them just takes time to find and fix new kinks.

      • Just saw this now. One of my best friends runs his own podcasting network (5by5.tv) and it’s pretty much entirely driven by Skype. 5by5’s shows sound great for a few reasons:

        * We all have a good microphones — I use the Rode Podcaster USB mic and so does much of the rest of the hosts, save Dan who has his own nicer setup.
        * Dan has an audio editor/engineer that can clean stuff up before it becomes available to download.
        * He does live mixing through a soundboard and with Wirecast to make sure stuff sounds great.

        That said, the key is almost always with the microphone. A strong connection is key too, but a good mic will do wonders.

  9. Why buy what is basically a dead set past it’s prime? The Tavern has long since been passed up by WPCandy and caters to an extremely small niche. Don’t believe me? Look at the comments and forum posts on WPTavern, it’s the same small group of people. It doesn’t have much reach.

    Jeff is loved in this small community, but there is a reason he has failed to monetize the Tavern. The site just isn’t that good and it’s reach just isn’t that broad. The Podcast was the only interesting part of the site and even that has been basically dead for practically a year and has been passed up by WPCandy’s podcast.

    If the investor wanted to invest in a site with a future that actually brings high quality reporting and WordPress content to the community than they should have invested in WPCandy instead.

    My guess is those guessing Matt are correct.

    The fact that Jeff is removing display advertising and affiliate links is the clincher for me. It means it just advertises WordPress through it’s content, and that is beneficial to Matt.

    Advertising commercial themes and plugins? Not beneficial to Matt because let’s face it… no matter how much he says he doesn’t have a problem with commercial themes and plugins, he really does. So it makes sense that if Matt was the buyer that all advertising would be removed.

    But either way, it’s good for Jeff but good luck getting a return on that investment whoever *coughMattcough* the investor might be.

  10. Maybe no one bought the site and rather than keep explaining to folks that it is for sale, Jeff decided to just close it down.

    WPTavern has not been active for two years. So basically he was selling a site with obsolete content that had seen better times. The forum did get some traffic, but in the past few years, it was not nearly as active as it was when Jeff was holding regular weekly podcasts.

    This is a case where the owner, Jeff, lost interest in running the site. If probably could have been successful if he got others involved, but I have a feeling that he wanted to do everything himself. In the end, he did not have the passion to keep it going and starting looking for ways to cash out.

    I know Matt and I have seen him make some silly decisions, but I don’t think he would buy a WP news site with old content. And if Matt did buy WPTavern, he probably would have announced that Jeff Chandler is the latest WP employee. This has not happened.

    My feeling is no one was crazy enough to pay the price that Jeff wanted for the site so he just shut it down.

    • I highly doubt Jeff’s going to have done that Steve (in fact I’m pretty sure he’d not do such a thing), he loved WordPress (and still does), along with the community around it. Sometimes life and personal things just get in the way of things, it’s not going to have been an easy decision to make, that’s for sure!

Comments are closed.