Automattic to Oversee the Sale and Registration of Top-Level .Blog Domains

photo credit: Luis Llerena
photo credit: Luis Llerena

Automattic announced today that it will begin offering top-level .blog domain registration starting in August 2016. The .blog domain extension will be available to both WordPress and non-WordPress sites.

According to Mark Armstrong, an Automattic subsidiary is exclusively managing the registration of .blog domains and will be offering it for purchase through WordPress.com and other domain registrars.

“Automattic subsidiary Knock Knock Whois There LLC, in partnership with the domain company Primer Nivel, won the rights to the .blog domain in 2015 through an auction process overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non profit organization that oversees namespaces of the internet,” Armstrong said.

In an announcement on his blog, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg said they used the Knock Knock Whois There LLC company name to “stay stealth while in the bidding process,” which closed around $19 million.

Although WordPress.com is currently providing the registration information site at dotblog.wordpress.com, Armstrong said that the company is using Nominet (the backend registry provider for .UK) to provide the technical infrastructure for managing the domain extension.

Registration for .blog domains will be offered in a phased approach during the second half of 2016, according to the following estimated timeframe:

  • Sunrise (August): Trademark owners will be able to register .blog domains associated with their brands
  • Landrush (October): Before .blog becomes available to the public, domains may be registered during the landrush period on an application basis.
  • General Availability (November): Automattic plans to begin offering .blog domains to the general public before the end of the year.

With the exclusive rights to manage the sale of millions of .blog domains, Automattic has the opportunity to promote WordPress.com as a potential host for new registrants. The company hasn’t finalized the price but Armstrong said it will be “in the standard range for new top-level domains with some premium pricing for higher-value names.”

27 Comments


  1. Oh Goodie! Another Automattic money grab.

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    1. Ummmm…..you do realize that Automatic is a FOR PROFIT company right?

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      1. That makes part of it’s profits from partial free labour. Thus sort of breaking labour/employment laws in many countries.

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      2. That’s ridiculous!

        There’s a difference between “free” slave labor and “free” volunteer labor. Nobody is forced. Your scenario doesn’t apply to the latter in any way.

        You’re clearly mixing the two up.

        In your world the Red Cross would be in deep shit since they have paid employees and volunteers WORLDWIDE.

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  2. Very Interesting. I would not expect them to tap into this market but it’s a good business move.

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  3. Whether the above comments hold water or not, I couldn’t say, but I can’t help but wonder just how much sense .blog makes in light of Automattic’s agenda of pushing WordPress as a CMS, and not just a blog engine.

    By the time they’ve realised that grabbing the fast/easy money was a bad idea it will take years to undo, if ever.

    And besides, do they really want to become synonymous with a failing Google blogging platform in the public’s mind?

    I find this really a really strange.

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    1. Terence, where do you see Automattic pushing WordPress as a CMS? I see some developers and users doing so, certainly, but not Automattic.

      Matt’s stated goal is to expand WP’s user base dramatically. Every move he’s made emphasizes that he sees this happening essentially through the use of WP as a “blogging platform plus.” This move by Automattic seems quite consistent with that strategy.

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      1. Actually, some people would have you believe WordPress dominates the CMS market to far greater extent than Matt claims ~

        https://www.liquidweb.com/anchor/market-mastery-wordpress-hosting-dominates/

        The WordPress platform dominates their vertical by hosting 58.7 percent of all CMS-based websites.

        Not only that, but Matt says …

        https://ma.tt/2015/11/seventy-five-to-go/

        The big opportunity is still the 57% of websites that don’t use any identifiable CMS yet, and that’s where I think there is still a ton of growth for us (and I’m also rooting for all the other open source CMSes).

        http://ma.tt/category/wordpress/

        As the most widely used CMS in the world, many people use and deploy the open source version of WordPress in a sub-optimal and insecure way, but the same could be said of Linux, Apache, MySQL, Node, Rails, Java, or any widely-used software.

        So, I don’t think it just other developers making that claim.

        Which is why I think this move is curious, to say the least.

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      2. free or reduced price .blog domain for wordpress.com hosting actually makes sense as it will make the platform more “sticky”.

        Having jetpack being able to control everything about your .blog site is also an advantage for pushing jetpack.

        There are positives in controlling as much of the vertical as you can and the domain suffix itself just need to be plausible, nothing more.

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      3. Sorry, Terence, but the fact that Matt refers to WordPress as a CMS doesn’t mean what you think it does. He’s just using a phrase that resonates with others — and it’s handier than “software for creating blogs and websites.”

        What’s telling in those quotes is that he doesn’t talk about developing features that promote WP as a CMS. And that’s because that’s not where his interest lies. It never has.

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      4. Wait a minute. He describes WordPress incorrectly to make it easier to understand?

        I don’t know Matt ~ other than by reputation and his public persona ~ but neither of those suggest to me he’d use that kind of logic.

        From what I understand of the guy he would be far more likely to meet the issue head on and get people to understand his way off looking at things.
        Not take the easy way out and use some handy terms to mislead them.

        No, I don’t buy it.

        In fact, as I remember he even started not calling it either a CMS or a blog, but “a WordPress”, to try and make it into a noun.

        That’s surely not the mark of someone who takes the easy way out if its misleading.

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      5. He describes WordPress incorrectly to make it easier to understand?

        LOL. By your logic, calling what is officially known as association football “soccer” to an American would be describing it incorrectly! And calling it “football” to a European would also be misleading!

        No: different audiences, different labels. Neither is misleading.

        Matt simply knows his audience.

        And he needs to know his audience. He has shareholders to satisfy.

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      6. There is a difference between ‘WordPress’ and ‘wordpress.com’ which makes all the difference here. Make no bones about it, Automaticc bought the rights to .blog (primarily) to sell to their wordpress.com users. Not a single part of the conversation prior to the purchase involved the term ‘CMS’, I’m sure.

        Is WordPress becoming more blog-centric? No. Is it becoming more web/site/app-centric? No. Is there a need for two fellas to try to out smartass each other over the semantics of it? Always.

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      7. @Simon

        Seriously? You speak like someone who has no idea how the domain business works.

        I guarantee you Automatic doesn’t care who or for what purpose .blog domains are registered.

        Being able to “exclusively manage” ANY new TLD is essentially a license to print money. It will make their $19M investment look like spare change.

        It just blows my mind that Google let them get it.

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      8. @Ron Yes, seriously, although I think you’ve mis-interpreted “primarily”? I’m not for a second saying that they’re going to turn people away if they’re not on wordpress.com – or claiming that I (want to) know the domain business inside out. I’m saying that they’ll likely use wordpress.com as their primary ‘shop front’ to sell the domains – to people setting up a new WP blog. That makes sense and should go without saying. I said that in the context of the ‘Blog’ vs. ‘CMS’ thread above, which I was replying to. This is a wildly different conversation than the one which you started (and ended).

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  4. My first thought is who would want a .blog domain? I run niche, hobby and personal sites and blogs. The .blog domain doesn’t interest me at all. I don’t think business or commercial sites will be interested. The idea may be good but .blog may not be the best choice.

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    1. I believe WP will be very successful running the .BLOG extension Laura. I do agree with you though when I build sites I want them to not necessarily be though of as a blog.

      I guess this shows were WordPress main market and userbase still is.

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      1. I think you should probably rephrase that as “I guess this shows were WordPress.com main market and userbase still is.”

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      2. They do the surveys and must have some idea about how the software is used. I’ve been frustrated with limits to WP lately. But, many people haven’t known anything but WordPress since they started online. So, it must seem safe to them. I don’t know if you have written about the flat file CMS versus MySQL database CMS. I didn’t realize it was an upcoming thing until just this week. I used to run a site with Thingamablog (years ago). It was database free – which was what I liked about it. I don’t know if it’s better than a database site but… it would be like going back to building my own sites again. I’d be able to manage images so much easier than the Media Library with WP. I’d never have cat ID#17884 again either. I wouldn’t need to risk a database to set the # back to 1. Anyway, if you haven’t already written something about the flat file thing I hope you will. Even the most die hard WordPress fan should know what’s out there and have perspective.

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      3. Didn’t find anything posted here. Maybe it’s not marketally correct (there is probably a very clever phrase for that, somewhere) for a WP resource site.

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      4. I’ve been frustrated with limits to WP lately.

        Aren’t you the one that always talks about how you never use plugins?

        What do you expect?

        That’s what plugins are for. WP will never be all things to all people. Plugins do a great job of making it more of what you need it to be.

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    1. You should try that. See if anyone is paying attention. Or, diy.blog could work.

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  5. I thought the .blog would be quite nice to have and would point it to my blog. I thought I’d get the same name as my usual domain name which costs at most £12 year. just with the .blog on the end. It would be similar to my .co.uk, .online and .website extensions, keeping my branding happy. Thought I’d register ready for when the time came and bobs your uncle.

    I was absolutely amazed this morning to find out it will cost me £187.50 to register the .blog extension. Plus a £22.50 registration fee and a £165 application fee. OMG! Whatever is going on here? I’m only a small biz. These prices are ludicrous and that’s only for one year!

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  6. My God.. 30 US Dolar for a domain that is really expensive. I wonder what extra benefit does a blogger had if they use wordpress.com as the chosen one.

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