Pressgram founder John Saddington announced today that he will be shutting down the project and pulling the app from the Apple Store on September 11. The app started as a WordPress-powered photo sharing app and evolved to support all kinds of publishing platforms. Last March, Saddington dropped the social layer in favor of focusing his efforts on the publishing features.
Despite running a successful $50K+ Kickstarter campaign, Saddington was not able to continue development on the project.
Today marks the 2-year (official) anniversary of Pressgram and it is with a very heavy heart that I am announcing that active development on Pressgram is being discontinued.
He does not specify the reasons for shutting down the app in his departure post, which is more of a thank you to investors and a farewell to users. However, his responses to users on Twitter indicate that he could not continue to uphold the financial burden of the Amazon AWS costs of running the service, which centralized publishing requests to various social outlets.
In response to users who inquired whether or not they will be able to continue using the app, Saddington replied, “The service will turn off officially at the end of the month, unfortunately.”
When Pressgram was in the crowdfunding stage, WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg had pledged $10K dollars to help get it off the ground but eventually withdrew his pledge when he learned that the project would not be open source. The last time we spoke with Saddington, he was open to open sourcing the app but has thus far continued with it under a proprietary license. Now that development is being discontinued, users want to know about the possibility of open sourcing the code so that it doesn’t disappear. He confirmed that this is still a possibility.
At a later date, Saddington plans to share more thoughts about why the project didn’t end up working out. The information will undoubtedly be of interest to his many Kickstarter backers, some of whom pledged hundreds of dollars to see this app become a reality.
From the beginning, Pressgram had mass appeal, given that it used WordPress to power a creative application with the potential to become a viable alternative to some of the larger players, such as Instagram. Many in the WordPress community were hoping that that app would be open source, since it was originally based on open source software and could potentially help move the WordPress app space forward.
If Pressgram were open source, it’s possible that someone could use the code as a starting place to build an app that doesn’t require a centralized service. Where could Saddington have taken Pressgram if he had a team of enthusiastic open source contributors surrounding the project and improving upon it at a faster rate? Would you like to see the app open sourced or do you think it should be simply retired? Let us know in the comments.