1. What a great post, and I hope the WordPress team end up reading it. The best way to improve something and to maintain leadership is to be aware of what risks exist and have plans on how to counter them. I think you’ve done a great job of identifying these and hopefully this will help WP remain the blogging platform of choice for millions (in my head everyone should use WordPress ;) )

  2. Nice article. Few thoughts:

    WordPress.com & Akismet is mostly free. It costs them a ton of money to maintain the infrastructure. How good is their cash position? In this climate of recession, their burn rate is what I would be most concerned about as VC fundings are harder to get.

    WordPress is not very cooperative (barely tolerates) with commercial plugin or theme developers and relies on people to donate their time & labor to the community only for free. Today we mostly moved away from developing WordPress plugins and down the road I am sure others will too. Let’s see how many people are as willing to donate their labor & time for free when the economy is crumbling all around them and the “day-job” of these moon-lighters may be at stake.

  3. I’d say the only real “threat” is that someone else shows up doing it better. Aside from that, not much could rock their boat. Third parties come and go, but they came around originally because of WordPress’s success. Change in license couldn’t happen, no way. Anything else is just too unlikely to be concerned with. Matt is really young and (if his pictures are any proof) very healthy; he’s not going anywhere.

    @Angsuman Chakraborty – Also, they offer a premium service on WordPress.com, so there is some revenue coming through that project at least. Also, how should the WordPress team leaders be more cooperative to commercial WP developers?

  4. Jim Child

    Thanks for your thoughts, Jeff! You managed to put together a very concise consolidation of the “risks” that WP faces as time goes on.

    So now “we”, and that should definitely include the folks at WP/Automattic, have a list of things to watch out for. As a loosely knit community we can all make efforts to avoid the known pitfalls.

    WordPress Forever!

  5. I was very pleased to hear Matt say in the special interview I conducted with him that the decisions he makes regarding WordPress.org are made with the community in mind. That is exactly what I wanted to hear.

    Not to say that Matt was being dishonest or anything, but watch out with that kind of language! Of course he’s going to say what you want to hear in public! The question is whether it really seemed honest and whether they are actually thinking of the community (which they are IMHO, they just don’t always LISTEN to the community, because they think they know better).

  6. tekzt

    @Angsuman Chakraborty – There is no need for WordPress to cooperate with commercial WP Developers. The developer would be the one who benefits through it, not wordpress or the wordpress community. They have their own developers who not only develop wordpress but also some of the plugins, which are considered “third party”, cause they are released by the persons and not through automattic.

    If they had money issues they would cut the wordpress.com-stats plugin for .org users which runs on wordpress.com and would remove pingomatic as a default service (or strip pingomatic itself down to a lesser server load). that would cut some major costs.

    Automattic doesn´t keep you from developing for wordpress. It´s very accessable for any developer. They just don´t want to host stuff of you if you´re an commercial developer and have link to your commercial site in the foorer. That´s perfectly ok with me, because even if the plugin on their site is free, it´s advertising. Just because its not on the wordpress site doesnt mean you can´t get word about your plugins out there.

    @jeremyclarke – That´s true, sometimes they forget to listen *coughtinymcecough*

  7. Security is my number one fear and the same for most I think. WP did have an exploit that let a lot of websites get hacked. I have a few clients that were hit (before my services of course :P) and lost all of their data.

    If WordPress suffers a larger hack that infects hundreds of thousands of websites I think most mainstream users will run horrified to another platform.

    Another good reason to stay current on updates :)

    Nice post Jeff, very thought provoking! Looking forward to the podcast tonight, should be frEAkY!

  8. Actually, I’ve always thought that the main reason MT got overtaken by WP was that PHP is better generally more user-friendly than Perl ;) If it hadn’t been wordpress, it would have been some other PHP-based platform. Budget webhosts were more likely to offer PHP support than Perl, and to offer automated installation of PHP software. The licencing screwup just speeded up the process.

    Therefore if another framework were to overtake PHP in popularity, wordpress would be dead in the water. I have no idea when that will happen but I find it difficult to believe that it never will. Anyway, I have my suspicions that either #4 or #5 will do for them before that happens.

  9. WordPress will be around and thriving long after I’m gone, and I’m only 25. :)

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