Mark Evans recently asked: So How is WordPress Going to Make Money, Matt? My immediate reaction was to formulate what seemed like a better question.
How is Automattic going to make money, Toni? While WordPress is an open-source software project, Automattic is a privately-held for-profit firm. Toni Schneider is the CEO.
Matthew Mullenweg founded Automattic, having earlier founded WordPress. If I had to use a conventional term for Matt’s current post at Automattic, it would be CTO, or perhaps Chief Software Architect.
One way to answer the question is to ask Toni. In fact, I will do so by email. But I don’t expect to be able to get more out of him than Lindsay Campbell did when she interviewed him for WallStrip. I noted at the time (August 2007) Toni’s remark that Automattic was at about breakeven.
So we did at one point in time have an answer to the question: is Automattic making money? More recently, we got an answer to the question: do Automattic’s original investors consider its financial prospects good enough to invest further? The answer is yes: in January 2008, Automattic closed a $29.5M round of financing led by its original investors.
Toni and Matt each remarked at the time that the money is not just for the WordPress blogging software, but for other projects.
This is already a post-sized chunk of text, and all I’ve done is set the scene. I plan to follow it with another couple of posts this week, probably one on WordPress and another on Automattic’s other projects.
7 thoughts on “How is Automattic Going to Make Money?”
I’m looking forward to what Toni has to say!
Hi Andrew, Automattic is already making money from upgrades, VIP hosting, ads, Akismet licensing, and enterprise services. We’ll add new revenue streams over time, but only ones that we find useful and unobtrusive (for example, no plans to show ads to all WordPress.com visitors, since that would be pretty inefficient and probably a bad user experience).
I can tell you as a small web host that the money is in the service, upgrades, add ons the higher end market. No matter how free the software is or the hosted app, there will always be something that a percentage of the people will buy. Wether it’s to add functionality or get added support, there will always be something to upsell. Meanwhile we can use a cool app for free! My 2 cents….
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