Cory Miller and the team at iThemes announced today that they are launching a new WordPress service into the market. iThemes Sync made its debut today, offering customers a way to manage WordPress core, theme and plugin updates from one centralized dashboard.
During our interview with Cory on the WordPress Weekly Podcast, he explained that what started out as a theme company has gradually evolved into a plugin and service company. iThemes is focusing more on plugins than themes these days. With BackupBuddy in their tool belt along with Exchange, iThemes’ most recent foray into e-commerce, the company is more heavily investing in plugins and services. iThemes is aiming to become a one-stop shop for all things related to running a WordPress-powered business. The Sync service is one more piece in that puzzle.
Competition Heats Up Among Centralized WordPress Dashboard Services
Managing multiple WordPres sites from one place is nothing new. Services such as ManageWP, InfiniteWP, CMS Commander and WP Remote have been in this space for a few years and have already developed a wide array of complex features. Where does iThemes sync fit in?
Miller says that Sync was developed based on feedback from their current customers:
We’re always seeking to save our customers time and hassle — what we believe good software, whether it’s a theme or plugin, should do for people. And frankly updating WP and themes and plugins were a time sink for our customer community and for us as WordPress users. That’s why we ultimately built iThemes Sync. But it also pairs very well with our other products, like BackupBuddy, and we’re planning some cool integrations with it very soon that will help people do more with Sync and BackupBuddy.”
In addition to anticipating customer needs, Miller says that their product will also serve to ramp up the competition among others that provide this service. “Regarding competing against others that may already be in this space, it’s both. It’s a value add for our customers, but iThemes Sync is intended to be a full-fledged product in our lineup with a great roadmap.”
Step one will be for iThemes to make the Sync product available to non-iThemes customers. They are aiming to do this by the end of November.
As WordPress usage is increasing across the web, the challenge of administrating multiple WordPress sites is becoming more common, even among non-developers. Competition to provide the best service for this challenge is only natural.
While iThemes Sync may not yet have all the bells and whistles of others who provide this service, Miller is excited to get into this space and embraces the competition.
Competition is a part of business, something on which I wrote a detailed post about earlier this year. I have a love-hate relationship with competition. Most of us, if we’re honest, hate competition. We’d all rather have monopolies and keep doing what we’re doing. But ultimately, competition benefits the user (and customer). It makes us all better for those who pay us for what we do. And that’s a good thing for WordPress too.
Many WordPress companies that started as theme providers are branching out into plugin and service territory and taking the market by storm. Do you think large WordPress companies can successfully deliver high quality products across such a broad spectrum? Do you enjoy having more options to choose from or would you prefer to use a service that focuses solely on delivering a centralized dashboard?