Poetica announced today that its team and technology have been acquired by Condé Nast. The technology provided realtime “Google-docs style collaboration” in the WordPress post editor as well as a non-WordPress editor available via the public Poetica.com service. As of June 1, 2016, the service will be shut down.
The Poetica team will continue to develop the technology as part of Copilot, Condé Nast’s proprietary publishing platform.
According to CTO and co-founder Blaine Cook, development on the open source plugin will be discontinued, as the plugin is dependent on the Poetica service. Those who have been using the plugin will have no choice but to find an alternative.
WordPress isn’t well-equipped for content collaboration. In fact, thanks to its fancy post locking feature, WordPress is streamlined to enable the opposite of a collaborative editorial workflow. It’s designed for one user to work on a post while locking all other users out.
Additionally, after a post is published, no further collaboration can be made, as the only way to make edits is to push changes immediately to the live copy.
Poetica was one of the few tools that provided a way for editorial teams to write together, allowing multiple WordPress users to view and edit content at the same time. The plugin tracked changes and allowed users to make suggested edits that could be accepted or rejected.
Although Poetica provided a much-needed collaboration tool for WordPress, its founders said they were unable to create a profitable business model around the software:
Up until now, though, we’ve been a small five-person team. We’ve tackled the dual problems of creating a humane, intuitive, and collaborative way to interact with text, on any device and any content platform; and the parallel challenge of creating a viable business model. Unfortunately, these goals were often at odds with each-other, competing for our limited time and attention.
After Poetica.com is shut down, it will destroy any drafts and user data from the site, as Condé Nast has only acquired the software and not the user data. Users will soon be notified via email about how to download a full archive of their drafts ahead of the June 1st shutdown.
Isn’t that something? Automattic has a nifty plugin in its arsenal called Edit Flow and they have the resources to provide a similar feature set that this plugin offered. Unfortunately, Edit Flow development seems to be at a stand still.