Automattic is a billion dollar company. That is nice. But I think the future is in WordPress.org, not in WordPress.com, it can reach a 100 billion dollar valuation! In this post I am going to tell you exactly how to get there.
Automattic Inc., the company behind WordPress.com, did a very good job. The company, founded by Matt Mullenweg, worth over 1B dollar. They develop the WordPress.com publishing platform and the WordPress.com VIP cloud services. But they are working in a very competitive market with many high quality players, providing much better products.
It took automattic 10 years to earn the 1B dollar price tag. I think their entire strategy was wrong. Instead of focusing in hosting and other niche services, where they have tons of competitors, they should have focused in their platform ecosystem.
Learning from Others
Apple Inc., for example, created a new ecosystem with it’s mobile iOS. They offer free and premium applications in their App Store. Apple earn 1B dollar annually by selling apps developed by others. Why? because they control all the aspects of the ecosystem.
Just like Apple, WordPress created a great ecosystem with its easy-to-use CMS. And just like apple, WordPress offers free themes and plugins in it’s repositories. But, unlike apple, WordPress has no premium themes/plugins. Players like envato took over this segment, earning tens of millions of dollars each year. And many more medium theme shops and a long tail of plugin developers earn extra few more millions.
What do they need to do?
The foundations are already there. WordPress has the largest plugin repository (40K plugins) and the largest theme repository (3K themes) in the world. They just need to offer developers to sell their premium products from the main repositories. Controlling the payments and usage licences on wp.org ecosystem, and charging minor fees for each purchase.
It’s a win-win situation for everybody! WordPress.org can earn money and invest even more in the platform. Developers are always looking for new ways to market their products – using the official repository will make it easier for their user to install plugins from the sites dashboard. No more zip file downloads! No more long install instructions!
And the most important, the users (site owners) will have access to good premium products from their dashboards. They are already willing to pay money to improve their website, if you offer them new products inside their dashboard, the entire category will grow. More paying clients -> more plugins -> more fees to wp.org.
WordPrss.org has more potential than WordPress.com. In my opinion, implementing this strategy, they will reach 100B dollar valuation in 5 years!
As a site owner, I buy many themes and plugins, and I would prefer to search for premium plugins from my sites dashboard. It will make the process easier for me. I prefer to pay to WordPress than to some unknown market place or anonymous developer. And I prefer to install premium plugin like do with free plugin, from my dashboard, with a few mouse clicks, no zip files.
As a plugin developer, I will no longer have to maintain an e-commerce site for my plugins. I will no longer have to pay fees for several external market places. My plugin will be hosted on wp.org, I can easily setup localized versions using the community translate platform, I can see reliable usage stats, and I will receive payment from WordPress or use the credit to buy other plugins (wp.org as an electronic wallet for websites). When you control your own ecosystem the opportunities are endless.
So, what do you think? Would you like to see premium products in your dashboard?