First off, it’s extremely weird to be writing about the demise of a website that not too long ago, was writing about the demise and resurgence of WPTavern. WPDaily, one of the many sites dedicated to all things WordPress has closed its doors today. The move comes as a shock to many within the WordPress community, including me. WPDaily was spearheaded by John Saddington, leader of the development team 8Bit and project manager of PressGram. While no direct cause of the shutdown was given, John noted that while the site achieved a variety of goals, it did not achieve the larger global goals and strategy of their organization at the present time.
We achieved every single goal and metric that we had set out to accomplish (and then some) in this glorious experiment and so we consider it a “success.” But, it did not achieve the much larger global goals and strategy of our organization at this present time.
One thing I can confirm is that criticism and negative reactions to some of their published content was definitely not a reason for the shutdown. I give John a lot of credit for everything he did with WPDaily. The man was a publishing machine and if you blinked, you missed a ton of content. I occasionally joked that John published so much content that he was the reason infinite scroll was invented. Everywhere I looked, I saw John Saddington with the first comment on posts. This just shows how much he was on the ball with information. I know from experience that the only way John could accomplish what he did with WPDaily involved ridiculously long hours, lots of typing, living within the inbox, and juggling his time with reviewing products and just being in touch with people. For anyone that thinks running a community news type website is easy, you’re wrong. It’s very difficult. It requires lots of time reading, communicating, piecing together stories, managing the conversations that take place and a host of other responsibilities. This is why I continue to think that if you don’t have a primary source of funding, that creating a site like WPDaily or WPTavern just isn’t worth it in the long run.
However, the shutdown of WPDaily stirred up the conversation again around WordPress news sites and how they can be sustainable. According to one individual, the curation of WordPress content can not be achieved by 1 person or 10 but rather, should be an automated process. Then, you could charge access to the site as it would do all of the filtering for you. Hard to say if that idea would take off but the site I have in mind that could potentially make this work is PostStat.us. Brian Krogsgard has stated on Twitter that he has a few tricks up his sleeve to monetize the site but we will have to wait until they are implemented to find out what they are.
I want to personally say to John Saddington that I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and especially with PressGram. At the same time however, I make a formal request that you highly consider leaving the content archived somewhere for reference material or you either sell, or provide the archive to someone who is more concerned with the historical significance of the content than any other agenda.
Last but not least, I want to thank the individuals who suggested to others that they can use WPTavern to get their fix for WordPress information. However, WPTavern can not and will not be a direct replacement for WPDaily. Both sites contain their own unique flavors, takes on various topics that come up in the community.
As of July 11th 2013, the site has been turned back on and is in Archive mode.
Sad to see WP Daily close down, but I can definitely appreciate that while running WP Daily, how John could ever have time for anything else!
I agree it would be good if the historical content was made available somehow too. It’d be a shame for all the work John put in to just vanish.
Great work, John. WP Daily will be missed, and I wish you the best with whatever you do with your new-found time ;)