If you had a problem with your wordpress.com blog, you could find help in the wordpress.com forums. Or you could contact staff via the Support contact form. Up to about a year ago, support tickets would usually be answered within a day or two. With the steadily increasing number of wordpress.com blogs, however, this service began to deteriorate, and we began to see complaints from users who waited several days —or even weeks— for a reply or never got a reply at all. Staff responses in such cases would be: sorry, we’re a little behind, we’ve got twenty five million blogs to care for, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
What would the logical step be (since the company is doing very well)? My naive logic says hire more staff, and temporarily reassign some staff. Oh, but I forget: staff are busy implementing “infinite scrolling”. Priorities, dear, priorities… Welcome to wordpress ‘logic’:
We believe everyone deserves fantastic support for their WordPress.com blog. Our backlog of requests has consistently grown as our team of 10 receives nearly 8,000 messages a week. To get caught up and give our customers the support they expect with paid upgrades, we made the difficult decision to limit the contact form to customers with upgrades. Once we are caught up we will work on bringing a high level of support back for everyone.
If you are new to WordPress.com we have a step-by-step guide to all things WordPress. Our helpful forums remain open and you can find more details in our support documentation. There we have guides on getting started, writing your first post, and finding your readers.
We will update this space as we work on bringing back outstanding, free support for everyone. Thank you.
For me, this is the last in a series of unacceptable moves. Previous ones include repeated unannounced changes, repeated refusals to make major changes optional or listen to reasonable suggestions, and the older 30-minute block on volunteers in the forums (as well as the case of Mr. Andrew Spittle, staff member caught spying on us in a private volunteers blog). As of today, commenting on all older posts here is disabled, and my theme-related posts will probably stop being updated.
Related post: There we go again…
Update May 2012:
The lovely notice recorded here now shows up if you try to contact Support while logged out; if you’re logged in, you get this:
First, review top questions for an instant answer.
Many support requests are easily answered with a quick look at our handy dandy support documents.
Second, type your question and let’s see if we already have an answer handy.
[Brings up relevant Support docs.]
Finally, let the community know what’s on your mind.
[Leads to the forums; also includes a “More Info” link to the lovely notice…]
So are you planning on leaving WordPress.com and moving to a self hosted blog through WordPress.org Panos, or will you be considering another blog service?
Can’t say I blame you at all Panos. Every time you think it can’t get any worse, it does.
It does, Rich, again and again…
I will decrease my participation in the forums as well, but I won’t disappear completely. I believe Matt would be happy if dissenting voices like yours or mine weren’t there, and I’m not going to do him this favor.
Ha, even ever-patient naive Tess agrees…
Well, how could it be otherwise in this case? How many more demonstrations of how little they respect users would we need?
Sorry for the wrong order of replies John: I received notifications for Rich’s and Tess’s comments but strangely didn’t receive yours.
No, I’m not planning on going self-hosted. Why should I? This blog was designed exclusively for helping wordpress.com users. What I’m not willing to do, after this WP move, is play the role of a substitute for WP support. WP should know better than to alienate experienced volunteers like Rich, Tess or me.
@Panos Thank you Panos :) , that is strange that you did not receive a notification for my comment, but strange things do seem to happen to my WordPress.com Account for some reason. ;)
Good :) , for a second there I thought that you were thinking about leaving WordPress.com.
Thank you for alerting us about this, I had no idea about this Support Situation, since it was not announced on the WordPress.com Offical Blog; the saga continues. :D
You’re welcome. And actually the one you should be thanking is Sergio (airodyssey): he’s the one who alerted us other volunteers. Sergio was an excellent volunteer who also stopped volunteering (when Matt closed the thread on infinite scrolling).
Not sure this is something I would shout from the mountaintops – the peasants will figure this out shortly when they are sent to a closed form.
If you have an upgrade on the account you are logged in with, the contact form looks the same.
Yeah, no need to shout it: the peasants, guinea pigs etc etc will soon start seeing the message I’m quoting.
(By the way, I’ve always used colored bqs, but in this case the default black of the theme seemed more appropriate…)
@Panos Oh, thank you for mentioning that Panos, though it is sad to hear that he also stopped volunteering; but I can definitely understand the reasoning(s). ;)
As one of the peasants I can’t help but think is this the first steps by WordPress to go to a fully paid up account, similar to what NING did to their users.
Could be, my dear fellow peasant. That would be fine with me, but then they should cut the crap about “community” or Matt pretending to be your regular friendly guy next door. Or the bullshit about the “backlog” they need to catch up with…
I am so sorry…sorry it has come to this for you, and sorry to lose you and your bank of incredible knowledge.
I am new and hence unaware of history and politics. Sad to hear.
You have been SO very helpful in me getting my feet wet; I think I actually started swimming just a little today, thanks to you.
Be well, and thanks.
p.s. Those numbers quoted by WP mean each member has to email/answer 160 posts/day; 8 hour workday = 20/hour = 3 minutes to type out each answer, and I imagine numbers of the answers are cut and paste-able repeats as I have seen in the forums. That *seems* very manageable, so perhaps this is just to push current subscribers into paid accounts before becoming an exclusively paid service? Only time will tell.
I’ll continue to help in the forums, but only a little.
For a taste of WP “history and politics” you can try these posts:
Yes, staff replies are often careless or stock responses; ours are often better. But even if the workload isn’t manageable, the reasonable thing to do, as I’m saying in the post, would be to hire more people. Or temporarily reassign some staff; check this post:
Since the beginning of 2011, WP has been adding a new theme every five days. If the issue was the “backlog”, they could tell the theme team to cut down on themes and come help with the “backlog”…
≫ we have a step-by-step guide to all things WordPress
Sure… I’d never know how to format a post if it wasn’to for your blog.
And now, no support at all?
Hi Panos …I enjoy getting your emails and your occasional outbursts of very justified annoyance give me a laugh…but please don’t go. I would feel really insecure without knowing where to go for help.
You have got me out of some strange holes and I feel as if you are a friend by now. I suppose we have still got the unavoidable Caroussel. I really must get round to adding prices to prints…but where exactly…
All the best, Julia
I’m busy looking for an Aussie hosting service I can trust. As for support – I put in two tickets recently, the first on the 9th of March in relation to tags on posts/pages that Quantcast can’t find, at Quantcast’s request. It has been suggested to me elsewhere that this may be because I have the no-ads upgrade, but who knows, as I am still waiting for a reply.
The second I logged on March 13th, re the Google crawl errors due to 51 non-existant URL’s in my site map, submitted by WP to Google. No reply to that either.
I do have upgrades, so the notice above should not apply to me!
Also, another Aussie looking to move off WP.com noticed the guided transfers were open last night (our time) and closed again this morning – so can only assume there is a rush on for that service!
I don’t know – maybe they’ll reopen it sometime. And they continue to monitor the forums: one can find help there.
I’m not really “going” anywhere. As I said in a previous reply, I will continue to help in the forums, only a lot less. I had already stopped replying to questions such as how do I change my tagline or how do I create a link. I guess I will simply extend this and limit myself to interesting or difficult questions and fellow bloggers I’m already acquainted with. The existence of volunteers like timethief or me is obviously something they took into account before making their decision: no way I’ll play along. When Matt boasts they’ve grown to 25 million blogs, then the reply to the pathetic “our team of 10 receives nearly 8,000 messages a week” can only be: well, then make it a team of 20 you stingy brat!
No replies eh? Show some sympathy for them: the poor fellows have a backlog…
You have made me laugh again…but he can’t be all bad…he did buy the print! J
Sorry for a long comment. I am pretty disappointed by the behaviour of WordPress and that silly Akismet. Akismet marked my Google Apps email as spam, which I figured very late –after I was unable to post in forums (even for the help why it was happening) and friends’ blogs. When one of my friend told that he got my three comments into the spam folder (those weren’t, he admitted), I got shocked. I contacted support and got a response after 7 odd days. Okay, time taken doesn’t matter. Their response was irritating. They said that Akismet would learn soon, try commenting again. I tried but failed. Akismet is not so smart and the WP.com support too. I’ve neither commented on the blogs I read for months nor I am writing to my blog. I have changed my email to non-google apps, and trying to comment. Let see if it succeed. If it fails, I’ll do, what I do after a comment (contacting the author). :(
@Gaurav: I unspammed the comment. I don’t know why your comments are marked as spam, but I don’t believe WP couldn’t have done anything other than telling you to wait. Your comment illustrates the point made above about the quality of at least some of the staff replies.
Their latest response is this;
I know, no-one has marked my comments as spam, because I regularly roll-back to the posts where I made a comment. If Akismet has really marked me as spammer how-come am I able to comment on my own posts? I am not going to mail them again, I’ll wait untill Akismet learns or I am able to move from WordPress.com. I tried posting in forums with a new username, notmath (same gravatar account wpgaurav), and what the result was, you have probably seen in a forums link tn my post.
This time your comment wasn’t caught by Akismet. I’m seeing same account, different IP. Did you post it from a different place?
Don’t go Panos. Let the dissenting voices be heard. I was planning to get more upgrades and keep my site here but seeing the step-motherly attitude you talk about, I am having second thoughts. Besides its totally not cool the way they have closed ALL support. I guess this way Blogger is a better bet for free hosting. :( What do you recommend?
As I said above, I’m not going anywhere: I’ll continue to post, both here and in the forums. I’m just withdrawing my active support of WP: no theme scrutinizing from now on, and no replies to users’ questions here. I’m fed up with WP’s attitude, and I’m not going to turn this blog into a surrogate Support center and do WP’s job for them.
In the past I’ve been blogging on Blogspot as well, but I can’t really recommend anything: BS and WP simply have different pros and cons.
I have found much helpful advice here – and learned here rather than from WP itself that I am no longer entitled to Staff Support. Well. I suppose I must decide what to do about this situation. Thank you for all your work, and for this post. (Miss Sadie and the Cowboy consider the title a slander on dogdom.)
I submitted two different support requests at the end of Jan, beginning of Feb about 4 days apart. The second one got responded to two weeks later, the first one never did. When they started the infinite scroll crap, I moved my blog at the end of Feb. I had been toying with the idea and they gave me the push I needed. It is a shame that they don’t care about their customers. Some things can’t be handled in the forums and I see people frequently being told to contact support. What happens to those people now? At least now I can get some help if I need it.
You’re welcome! Naturally they didn’t announce this in the official wp.com blog – they’re not that stupid. There they only announce shit like “we all like to reblog”.
Thanks! Guess I’ll have to change “several days” in my post to “several days or weeks“…
You could apply to work for WordPress: http://automattic.com/work-with-us/
Don’t think they would pay for what your knowledge is worth, but laughing all the way to the bank would be fun.
Did you catch the fine print at the bottom for changes?
I’m laughing already!
Even if I did want that, do you think He would ever want me? I believe that if it weren’t for all the help I’ve given in the forums, and if it weren’t for this blog, He would have banned me from the forums long ago.
And I’m laughing again! Revisions are one thing, mistake upon mistake is another.
All the mistakes associated with infinite scrolling recorded here:
Some of their bloopers are simply unforgivable. As you had pointed out, how long would it take you to realize that you’ve left an unclosed tag that turns everything to huge bold text? The genius who did that didn’t notice it for two days, and only corrected it when yours truly mentioned it in the Themes forum.
Same genius had difficulty finding what’s wrong with a user’s front page:
All of us know that messed-up front page means unclosed or stray div tags, but genius needed information about browsers and OSs… His response is a good illustration of the average quality of staff replies. Are they trying to prove they’re amateurs? And then they dare talk about a “backlog”? Backlog my ass!
Irrelevant but maybe worth noting: Matt, the same Matt who claims they can’t burden the software with a thousand options and hoops, has taken care to add a filter that spots “Wordpress” and automatically turns it to his orthodox “WordPress”; I had to use HTML to preserve my intentional non-capitalized P in the title of this post. (Edit: same thing for the same fucking word in this very comment.)
Looks like you missed a Spam affiliate link here Panos
Was away – thanks Mike!
You be welcome – I hate spammers
I checked the support forum today and it “corrects” the WordPress spelling if required.
Then there was the change in the .ORG software about two years back that corrected the spelling and broke a ton of web sites.
Some times I look at this post, and always I can not comment. Clearly, if you – Panos – still want to give any tutorial, though limited, it is very pleasing to me.
Thank you for your help so far, both to me personally and to our friends who need help in managing a blog.
(Sorry with my bad English).
Hi Panos, I think you are overreacting… well… I knew someday this would occur with WordPress.com, since the last year I was noticing how the Staff was becoming too lazy to reply people.
In fact in one of the times I needed Staff to fix an issue I had with one of my blogs and I discovered they were on vacation. I waited the time for them to return and when I would fill that form they had put another text saying they would return 5 days later. That happened between July/August of 2011.
Nowadays I know I don’t need any Staff support as I’m a very experienced WP.COM user but we know mistakes can occur and I’m bit worried about .
I registered two accounts at Blog.com following the replies of the post https://wpbtips.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/there-we-go-again/
They have about 100 themes there… It’s not a great as WP.COM but they have some WP.COM premium themes unlocked (about five, I think so) and other “new” ones (not used at WP.COM)
The only thing I disliked at Blog.com was the TOS, just this section:
“10. Blog suspension and deletion for inactivity” -> http://blog.com/terms-of-service/
By the way, The theme “The Morning After” is completely available at Blog.com! if you want to move, I invite you! =D
See ya! ;-)
I can certainly appreciate your frustration. You have a much better appreciation than most of how much WordPress has changed in the past few years. I’m not surprised by what is happening as a result of the growth of this blogging platform. The inability or unwillingness to respond to customer’s concerns is no different than what is happening with Facebook. We are no longer valued users – the company is too big now to think of us that way.
For me, that is all the more reason to use their service, and to keep poking the WordPress tiger with a stick every time it does something to annoy me. I even paid for the CSS upgrade – $30 a year is a cheap price to pay for the privilege of making the poking stick a bit bigger. (The turnaround time for answers to my pokes is about 3 days…)
You’re welcome. Yes, I’ll keep posting from time to time.
Overreacting? Maybe; obviously I can’t be the judge of that myself. But I hope it’s clear that I’m not reacting or overreacting to this particular decision alone.
Thanks for pointing out this important clause in the Blog.com TOS. I don’t like that either. But anyway at the moment I don’t have reasons to move.
“We are no longer valued users – the company is too big now to think of us that way.” Agree. And actually I don’t mind about that: what I don’t like is that they keep pretending it’s not so, and only show their real face when cornered.
And I’m all for poking! I’m quite direct and outspoken in the forums. I’ve never bought any upgrade, but the privilege in my case is this very blog, I believe.
Hello dear Panos,
Do you plan to allow contact, using kinda http://www.yopmail.com or disqus or something?
Thanks for everything you’ve done for us, by the way. I will miss you. KissKiss on a sad day.
Absolutely definitely not. This blog is essentially an extension of the forums and the support docs. About half the visits come from the forums, and most vistors’ comments are technical questions (and these might increase now that WP closed their contact form). If I closed my comments but provided an alternative means of contact, I would be doing WP’s job for them, which is exactly what I’m refusing to do. Do you know that they sent a mail to some of the most experienced volunteers, thanking them for their contribution and telling them how much it is appreciated etc? They have repeatedly disregarded us or even insulted us but they’re so nice when they need us… But I’m not nice, and I say no. With Matt’s previous bad move they lost Rich and Sergio, two of our best volunteers, from the english-speaking forums: well, now they lost me as well. We’ve had enough.
Hi Panos, this is very sad :-( You were so helpful, I feel bad that this is what things have come to. I have a question that I will ask here, but you don’t have to respond. My question is around having a better analytics view into my blog. The WP Stats thing sucks, because it doesn’t really allow me to do even half of what Google Analytics does. Any ideas?
In any case, thank you for being such an amazing help to so many bloggers over the years.
You’re welcome, and thank you for your kind words.
If I gave technical advice in the comments of this very post I would be seriously mocking myself. I’m sorry, but replying to fellow users’ questions in this blog is terminally over. As I said to lilmaouz and other friends above, a) enough is enough with WP’s attitude, b) I won’t play the role of a surrogate support center when they can’t cope with it because Matt wants to boast how ridiculously few employees he’s got:
@bombaywire – Post your question in the general forum – or just do a bit of a search or page back a day or three – you have a very common question – gets ask on average once a day.
Thanks Panos, I understand, no problem.
@CaptNMike, I’ve searched the general forums extensively and all I see is a pointer to a policy that says no Google Analytics. GA is free, so why doesn’t WP Allow it? Very frustrating.
@bombaywire – read the thread you just posted to in the general forum – GA is not available but there are many options in the thread you did not read –
Yesterday they closed the thread titled “You must be logged in to commen”. Richard’s right. It getting worse. They made a closed-sticky-thread and closed the most active thread about how suck their new commenting system now, while pretending it’s all not about the money. It does. Matt really grown up now. *sigh*
@CaptnMike – great! Thank you for sharing the thread and being so helpful. Obviously, I’ve searched and not found it. Are you sending me on a treasure hunt?
Not a treasure hunt – information that will help you is in that thread – I read the whole thread again this morning just to make sure – If you still don’t see what you want then open a new thread with exactly the list of what you think you need.
If you mean Quantcast or Alexa, no, they don’t do what I need. Have you used GA?
@Alex: That’s what they do when the negative comments become too many for their taste… See here as well:
@BW: This is not a post about GA etc., so please ask about this stuff in the forums, not here.
Before I say this… I understand the reason why you are behaving like this.
Looks like you wanted to work for WordPress.com or you envy Matt at some point… but I don’t want to mean that, that is ok?, Mr. Panos! :-)
I checked your profile at WP.COM to see since when you are member of WP.COM I noticed it was since Jun, 1st of 2006… all these years working helping in the forums and receiving nothing in return.
Including creating this awesome site where you provide free and very useful tips for WP.COM users.
Can I ask your age and where you come from? I’m a brazilian and I have 30 years old.
See ya! ;-)
“Looks like you wanted to work for WordPress.com or you envy Matt at some point…”
Haha – that was a good one!
Seriously now, if it looks like that then I’ve failed to make my points clear.
“I noticed it was since Jun, 1st of 2006… all these years working helping in the forums and receiving nothing in return.”
You probably checked this:
There’s also this:
I first signed up for a wp.com account in 2007, but I first visited the forums April 2008, and started trying to help a little a few months after that.
And I received much in return: I learned a lot. That’s what we do in the forums: we learn from one another, and we pay back by sharing what we’ve learned.
“Can I ask your age and where you come from?”
I’m a musician.
Yeah, I did read that post of yours several times. I even linked my post (in Indonesian language) to your post to tell my fellow wordpress’ bloggers in Indonesia how bad things has become on wordpress.com. I realized that wordpress.com’s still Matt’s personal sandbox when they introduced a crappy-feature called REBLOGGING and when the Al Mighty Matt closed the thread and told us that his only interest is all about “bug”, not users’ satisfaction. I’ve been about 6 years on wp.com and I am a volunteer myself, just like you, in Indonesian wordpress forum. Now I feels the same feeling just like you do. They really need a “Customer Service for Dummies” book.
“Haha – that was a good one!”
Great! You have humor! LOL :-D
Nope! What I checked was this one: http://en.forums.wordpress.com/profile/panos
See ya! ;-)
You mean this post:
Yes, for me as well it was the reblogging story that made me start to see WP with a different eye.
No, they don’t need a customer-service-for-dummies book because we’re not their customers: their customers are Microsoft, Gnip etc.
That’s not me! Panos is my real first name, but my usernames are the two I linked to.
I’m sorry you have baled out on this blog of yours Panos. It has been very helpful (and continues to be, for the non-changing features of WordPress.com).
And I didn’t know that airodyssey left! Oh dear..
But you must be free Panos if you feel like knocking against a wall of obvious strange strategies from wordpress.com.
Matt has to understand most bloggers don’t ask for tiny fixes, they just want obvious changes that slow down blog performance for users worldwide who have different Internet connections and slower, old machines. The world is not an equal place.
I’m sorry too. But WP has been disregarding users, has been lying to users, and lately they became sloppy as well. Some of us have been quite outspoken in the forums, but they won’t listen, so I didn’t have any other means left to react.
Yes, airodyssey, whom WP should cherish as a model volunteer, decided to stop showing up in the English-speaking forums right after the ridiculous infinite scrolling affair (staff asking for feedback then Matt coming in and telling us where to shove our feedback…). Airodysssey said enough with you people; so did thesacredpath, the most knowledgeable of all the experienced volunteers; and now so did I.
As I also told you in a forum thread, Matt doesn’t give a shit about what bloggers ask for: he only cares for what is interesting and/or (mostly or) profitable to him. As others have said in the forums, we’re nothing more than Matt’s guinea pigs (“beta testers”, in his own words).
I really can’t say I blame you, Panos. Everything has gone completely down the pan on wordpress (and hey, do they really adjust that word? And I’ve been typing the capital W capital P deliberately all this time! I shan’t bother anymore. Maybe we should just call it Pordwress instead, it’s about as f*cked up as a nonsense word.)
I didn’t realise they only have 10 staff. That’s ludicrous! It reminds me of an art site I was a member of a couple of years ago which has ‘millions of users’ (it might or might not, but that’s its claim anyway) and believe it or not only has ONE person running it. Talk about arrogance. Not much different here on wp.com as it is now.
Like many of your commenters I’ve also been looking elsewhere to blog but so far haven’t found an alternative that suits me. And to the commenter who advised Blog.com be aware that if you leave your blog for any length of time without ‘enough’ posts in it, it can get deleted, and also if – like me – you like to have a secure log in and dashboard using SSL, it isn’t available there. Yep, they have themes galore including free ones that WP.com only offer as Premium, but that’s no use if the site is insecure.
Panos – I wish you well with whatever you do in the future. I note that you’re not leaving wp.com and that you’re sticking around with your blog and doing the forum thing a bit, but eventually I’d think wp.com will be going to the dogs – they’ll either sell it to the highest bidder or will turn it into a version of Tumbr or stop support altogether for users who have anything larger than an ipad (or whatever is coming next). What I want to know (though I doubt you’d know the answer, so please regard it as rhetorical) is if this is happening to wp.com and it’s the same folk who design the wp.org software – won’t that eventually follow suit? For instance, the width of dashboard thing that’s only partially sorted now was for wp.org.
Yes of course it’s true – try it in the content of a post, or the title of a post, or a comment: if you write it with a capital W, then the P will turn to a capital. And in true sneaky Matt fashion, you don’t get to see the change in the editor, you only see it in the published result.
Ten are involved in answering support tickets. As the screenshot I posted in a previous comment shows, wp.com has a total of about 100 employees. And Matt brags about it: naturally he doesn’t say what a sloppy work some of them are doing…
Finding an alternative free plarform is difficult: they all have their different pros and cons.
Yes, I’m still doing the forum thing a little. I’d still like to help users, of course, but I feel that if I did that I’d be helping WP as well, and I no longer want that. So I do it mostly to stay in touch: since I’ve written about what’s going on, I have to be up to date. And I can’t complain, they give me new ammo every few days – just look at the updates to this post:
I don’t know what will happen to WP. It’s clear that Matt cares much about showing great figures, but I don’t know if that’s because he’s interested in selling the company or just so that he can cut better deals with other companies when they want to do something with WP. Personally I wouldn’t mind if it was sold: I’d rather see a more serious person than Matt in charge!
The difference with wp.org is that if you’ve got a self-hosted blog you’re not subject to wp.com’s whims, and you can change whatever you like: even if you’re not good with coding, there are plugins for everything.
I noticed six more themes were added to Infinite Scrolling -> http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/features/infinite-scroll/
But I can understand the reason why Matt resolved to add this awful thing to WordPress.com.. another day I was browing his personal blog, not the http://ma.tt/ the another one: http://matt.wordpress.com/ and I saw the reason.
He uses a tweaked version of Twenty Eleven there and it’s mainly a photo-blog… so… probably he thinks the idea of people scrolling indefinetely to see the photos there is cool or probably he must earn money by the outcoming traffic (bytes downloaded) like you already told in that another post.
See ya! ;-)
I just want to let you know I’ve appreciated all your help in the past as well. I’ve always felt like WordPress.com attitude is they are doing me a favor though. I’ve pretty much moved most my sites back to Squarespace or start them there now. It’s not free but for $8/mo. they answer my inquiries in minutes and I can publish/use almost whatever I want…jquery, code injection, css, etc. It’s a hosted option like WordPress. In fact, it might be cheaper than if you get the “pro” version of WordPress!
Yes, they want to add this shit to as many themes as possible.
And I think it’s both: he thinks it’s cool and it means more money for him. Plus he’s ever jealous of Facebook.
WP attitude depends on who’s talking to you: the theme-team guys are great; macmanx isn’t so great; Matt is [place desired adjective or other descriptive term here].
Panos, I’m curious – just how does Matt make money? We don’t pay for our software or hosting (just the upgrades) and self-hosting users don’t pay for the software either, just download and install it – so where is the main revenue stream in this business? I don’t get it.
Most people totally ignore ads on the internet or have ad blockers, so the CTR can’t be good on the ads.
Hey, how to I work this on WP.com?
[Code relic removed – P.]
I have the code [gigya src= ETC ETC ETC'' ] but since the above is customised, there’s no embed in it so I’m confused. Any help gratefully appreciated.
@Team Oyeniyi: Matt’s companies don’t make money. In fact, as a group, they lose money. Automattic et al are still in the venture capital stages of their existence. Angel investor groups pool their money and give it to Matt believing that, sooner or later Matt’s conglomerate will become Facebook lite. The investors would then receive a percentage of the company, or the profits.
Automattic and the others are not publicly traded companies, so are under no obligation to release financial numbers to anyone.
“Automattic makes a little under $1 million a month through sales of custom blog upgrades, professional hosting for major websites, anti-spam technology, and other products and services.”
They make money in a variety of ways (including ads); principal sources seem to be the upgrades and the VIP hosting, but they also offer paid support or require fees for some products (when these products are used by large commercial sites).
From time to time they also make agreements with other companies. For example, Microsoft transferred Live Spaces users to wordpress.com; and WP makes your content available to Gnip. So the more the blogs, the more the page views, the longer the time spent on pages, the better the deals WP can cut in these cases.
But WP is never clear about these things. Watch this 2010 video:
7.54: “Most of our revenues come from wordpress.com”.
But 6.16: “We don’t really talk about our revenues in public”.
And at 6.47, when the interviewer makes the conjecture “so that’s about a million in revenue a month”, they quickly change the subject.
Since they aren’t open about their revenue, how do you know they lose money?
@Ray: No more help here – read the post please!
Just one milion? This is very little… I don’t believe… well… if we take the 1 million above and divide by the number of WP employees 105 in this chart: http://automattic.com/work-with-us/ this will give the number 9,523.80 About ten thousand dollarsfor each employee.
Well… If I worked for WP I wouldn’t work for just ten thousand dollars by month. And considering Matt probably get at least half million… well… acording with Panos he is very greedy! =D hahahhaha
See ya! ;-)
@SnR: The “one million” thing isn’t a statement made by WP, it’s a conjecture made by the interviewer in the interview I embedded above. And that interview dates from 2010: WP has grown tremendously since then (number of blogs and number of page views have doubled since the date of that interview).
And when Matt’s CEO says “what we usually tell people is that we break even” (interview, 6.39 – emphasis mine), do you believe he’s telling the truth?
…because they’re still in the VC stage, it’s pretty rare for a company to be still in the beg and borrow investment stage to be netting any profits. If they were making money, as in net, they wouldn’t be so reliant on the Venture Capitalists. Four years ago they put out a (kind of) press release about receiving money which allowed them to continue and ‘grow’ the company.
“While we were chatting, [Matt] let it slip that Automattic had raised a whopping $29.5 million in a Series B Round of funding, including a strategic investment from The New York Times Co. Previous investors True Ventures, Polaris Ventures, and Radar Ventures also invested in this round.”
“So what does Automattic need the money for? After all, from what I know of the business, Automattic has been bubbling around the break-even point for a while now. Matt explains that they are going to roll out newer, hosted services such as BBPress (forums), and will expand their other product offerings, such as Gravatar and the spam-protection service Akismet. The money will be spent to hire more engineers and build out a more robust infrastructure.”
*…has been bubbling around the break-even point”* is not a profitable company. If they were making cash I think Matt’s friend would have been happy to say so, but that’s my assumption. To be clear, the VC money WP has raised to date is not profit. It’s a loan based on assumptions made by the investor that will be paid back.
“If they were making cash I think Matt’s friend would have been happy to say so”. Possibly. But as you say that’s only an assumption – as is my (opposite) one. We’ll never really know.
The fact is that the article you linked to dates from January 2008, and the figures have changed a lot since then. The article mentions 42 million US page views and 2.2 million blogs: the current numbers are more than 4 billion and more than 30 million, respectively.
Such a tremendous growth makes it hard for me to believe they don’t make profit. Same when I see the prices for VIP hosting and the clients:
I remember a recent comment from one of the staff to the effect “we pay the bills” – my take on that is that they have positive cash flow. As for the real story, as Panos said above “We’ll never really know.” unless WordPress.com and related companies go public and decide to publish historic data.
The “Series B Round of funding” = the ‘alphabet stage’ of funding, which is the startup, or seed phase of investing. It’s the investments the newbies get when they have no money left, but someone believes in the ‘promise’ of a later return.
In 2005 Automattic received $1.1million in funding from individuals and VC funds, the $29.5 million (Series B) in 2008 came from the same VC funds.
“Alphabet rounds of financing are provided by early investors and venture capital (VC) firms, which are willing to invest in companies with limited operational histories on the hope of larger future gains. These investors will typically wait until the startup has shown some basic signs of maturity and has exhausted its initial seed capital.”
If you Google those venture capital firms, and take a look at the kind of firms they invest in, you’ll see where WordPress was, financially, four years ago.
But, as you say (and I said), we’ll never know where they are now unless they go public.
Despite the number of hits the site gets, or the revenue we assume they get from their various income streams, WordPress is still a startup. I don’t want to get into a fight with anyone over the income of these people, or their companies — Matt can travel the world with his camera at his leisure, with zero worries about feeding himself, and God bless him for it. But the staff of WP, Automattic and the rest can barely fill a cubicle, let alone an office.
They have ten people running a support system with a backlog of 8,000 complaints and problems. How much would it cost to hire another 200 people with a functional knowledge of the WP Forum archives to reduce the stress? Maybe $8/hour at 30 hours a week for a few months? Probably less if they outsourced to Bangladesh. And, while I know he can afford some decent cameras, I still haven’t seen a photo of Matt in US Magazine sitting in his new Bugatti.
…which is an interesting question: it might produce a bunch in the future, but how many millionaires has WordPress-Automattic produced so far?
Inteersting comments on my (what I thought was) simple question. Thanks for all the answers!
I’ve been looking at Squarespace but it seems a bit more technical know-how is required. I don’t mind paying, provided I get service and reliability. Anyone done the move? Thought about it? New thread perhaps? LOL
Basically, WordPress/Matt is waiting for someone to buy the IP, it seems to me, for a hefty few million – those round B investors want a dividend, after all.
Speaking of Squarespace, I have read locally the hops from Australia are horrendous, so probably not a good idea for me anyway.
The reply “we pay the bills” is a variant of “we break even”, and I’ve been seeing it for years. But when Matt has no difficulty lying about simple things such as whether the gallery slideshow could be optional, I don’t see why they wouldn’t lie about their financials.
Yes, we’re not fighting, we’re just speculating together. And profit or no profit, the VC parameter you brought in is interesting anyway: I’m not good at economics, but I guess it means that if Matt relies or relied on investors’ money, then he’s not free to do whatever he pleases.
In the meantime I found this:
If someone is interested in a detail report on Automattic’s financials and willing to spend a hundred bucks for it, be my guest – I’m not that curious!
I signed up for a trial site with Squarespace, and I like it: very customizable, better editor, embed codes allowed, etc. But it’s not free, so it’s not directly comparable to wordpress.com.
@team. Squarespace doesn’t have to be technically harder. Just think of it as getting the WP Css option included, except you are able to edit many of the fonts, colors, etc in real time by simply using a slider or color picker. I mentor a group of homeschool kids who have blogs and websites. Squarespace is def their favorite to use and many are not “techies” at all. I started a Squarespace tutorial website a while back (originally to help the students but it’s taken off quite a bit)..many are former WordPress.com users. Out of respect for Panos site, not wanting to appear to be responding only for self promotion, I won’t include a link ;) But google Squarespace tutorials and you will get a small (very small) result for the few that provide tutorials..hint hint Panos..perhaps you could start a new endevour with SS ;)
Thanks Holly, and do add the link please: a link that’s absolutely relevant to the discussion at hand isn’t self promotion.
About Squarespace…. well… all I need is just a HTTP server with PHP and MySQL and of course some FTP access to deploy the WordPress.org blogging software.
Another day I hacked the WordPress Importer plugin because of the “wp_unique_filename” function -> http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/wp_unique_filename and the function “wp_upload_bits” from the file wp-includes/functions.php -> http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/wp_upload_bits
And it was needed to hack the function “fetch_remote_file” from wordpress-importer.php file too
Well…those functions above are the things that causes the names of media attachments to be numbered sequentially when you already had uploaded a previous attachment and don’t want to upload it again.
I created a small delphi program where it parses the WXR (the export file) and download the media attachments. Basically it parses the file and look for the XML sections wp:attachment_url and wp:post_date because when you import a media attachment you will have the full URL of it in wp:attachment_url but when you will import it, it will change the URL path using the wp:post_date date.
This of course… if you want to use the normal schema /YYYY/MM/ = year/month as you can turn off this in Media -> Settings the check box “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders” (in WordPress.org)
Well… I was having problems importing a Wordpres.com blog to a WordPress.org installation and It was needed to make the things above. I downloaded the media attachments before getting the URL’s and changing the downloaded URL’s paths using the wp:post_date and as the importer doesn’t check if the file already exists, it just add a number before the file extension and download it again I was not wanting that.
Anyway I invite the people here to check this site: http://www.free-webhosts.com/
There are some cool free webhosts there, some have ads, some don’t, and some have automated install scripts and they deploy automatically the WP.org blogging software for you. =D
See ya! ;-)
…well, if all we’re doing is speculating. I found this in the comment thread on a 2011 post on wptavern.com speculating about when it will be time to sell Automattic:
“Unfortunately after taking VC funding [selling Automattic is] not up to Matt. It’s up to the investors. Eventually they will expect a return on their investment and that typically comes via an acquisition exit.”
…and later, from the same person:
“[Venture Capital funds] don’t give you millions of dollars because they are nice people. While smaller angel investments typically do not see a large chunk of ownership change hands, venture capital investments typically do.
“I can assure you that the almost $30 million that Automattic raised in their last venture capital funding round involved ownership in the company. It’s also been mentioned that a chunk of that money went directly to Automattic’s founders to buy out some of their ownership and enable them to “cash out” early. Translation: Matt pocketed a nice chunk of that $30 million and cashed out some of his shares.”
Gabriel, sorry if I didn’t think of a better verb in place of “speculating”: the important part for me was the other half of the sentence!
@Panos Probably the most helpful posts…Top Official SS Resources: http://www.squarespaceplugins.com/top-seven-official-squarespace-resources/
Top Unofficial SS Resources: http://www.squarespaceplugins.com/top-unofficial-squarespace-resources/
A little known pdf that SS for some reason doesn’t promote very well, is the SS XHTML Wireframe that’s essential for custom css: http://manual.squarespace.com/storage/sq-wireframe.pdf
To be clear, I think there’s a place for all the blogging software/platforms. But if you only have a need for 1 or 2 blogs, self hosting is a nightmare unless all that backend stuff is what you want to spend more than half your time on ;) So most the kids use Tumblr, SS, or WP.com. A few adventurous types use WP.org (not a settling thing to hand over a CPanel to a 16 yr. old btw!) In the long run, SS is cheaper too..after you get a decent amount of traffic on a WP.org site, you’ve got to upgrade to a VPS or Dedicated server $$$. And now, with SS’s new pricing it’s cheaper than the WordPress.com pro plan. If you do the yearly personal plan at $8/mo and use the usually available 10% coupon, it’s $86.40/yr (if I’m doing the math right!).
Let me know if you’d like a SS6 Beta invite. Someone at SS offered us some …you can try it out for free during the beta period…which looks like it might be a while ;)
The blog.com service is not sooo reliable…. well… I’m testing the things there… I once sent you their TOS -> http://blog.com/terms-of-service/ and they said this about “Blog suspension and deletion for inactivity”
(iv) Its most recent post is less than two weeks old.
Well… I created two accounts there two weeks ago and I didn’t post anything, I just created them and I privated the blogs… I just want to know if they willl inform me of the suspension for inactivity like sending me an e-mail.
Well… It’s not soo reliable because yesterday and last weekend I tried entering the blogs and I got problems like servers looking unstable (a message saying they were overloaded) and specially yesterday I got a problem with one of the accounts. Even entering a few times the username and password (I had lost it and I asked to reset it sending me an e-mail) their servers spent some seconds to recognize the new password.
Anyway… I’m registered at Woothemes.com newsletter (the makers of this awesome theme you use) and they created a nice plugin called WooDojo. It’s great! This of course for WP.ORG users! =D
See ya! ;-)
Can you explain what use this is?
Maybe they want the unwashed masses that help in the regular forum to now search the Premimum Forum and refer people that ask about Premimum Themes to an existing answer in the Premimum Forum? Do the work for the Premimum Theme people – my guess is that they are finding many simple questions that used to be answered in the regular forum are now showing up in the Premimum Forum and the answers are generic on say menues or the use of the More Tag and that this increased traffic is burning resources of the developers as Premimum Themes become more popular.
Yes. (I was being sarcastic.)
What will they think of next!
The other issue could be that there are people that are working on a blog that has a Premimum Theme but they are not the one that bought the theme and thus didn’t have access to the Premimum Theme help area even though they are working with a Premimum Theme – now they can at least look at the help threads – overall a step in the right direction for open access.
Thanks for your tips on WP. I am new to WP, and have followed some of your tips on my problems. They worked. Thanks. But are you stopping to provide helps to others. Recently I just have some issues regarding imbalance 2 themes, how to enlarge the header. I tried to follow your tips, however still couldn’t solve the issue….
Agree with Mike. Perhaps they’re counting on timethief’s diligence…
@SV: Hi, but sorry, no more help to individual users here (as I’ve made clear in the post and in the comments). If you have the Custom Design upgrade you can post in the CSS section of the wordpress.com forum: users who have the upgrade are entitled to staff support.
Thanks for your reply. I don’t have the upgrade, so will see if I can figure it out myself, or read more about your past posts. BTW, any recommendations for other good WP tips resources? Thanks!
Well, you can learn a lot in the wordpress.com forum, and there’s also the official support docs as well as timethief’s blog. See under Links 2 and 3 on my homepage.
And again sorry: if you’re a new user (that is, still unfamiliar with WP antics), it’s probably difficult for you to understand my decision…
You must have a good reason for your decision. Hopefully, you can re-start to post your tips again in the near future soon…
You’re welcome. I might publish new posts, but I’ll never re-open the comments to older posts.
Oops, the question was about your an older post regarding changing header layout in imbalance 2. Though I tried each of your codes, still can’t get the tabs listed side by side vs. vertically…
So I will look at the codes again to see if I can fix my issues.
@price99 – most questions are repeats of what was answered this morning or yesterday – many of the answers I gave were stock copy and paste from a file I have on a test blog – sometimes I would paste the same answer 6 or 8 times in the same day – sometimes the paste would be to the same question that was ask and answered only an hour earlier – in at least two cases the answer to their question was literally in the Post RIGHT BELOW THEIR QUESTION!!!!!!!
The search function in the Document section is so so but works most of the time – many times I just entered the keywords from the question that was posted and the answer was in the first five search returns –
If you just watch the forum you will find many answers – when I was first starting I would just read the questions and the answers – I learned a lot without needing to ask a question.
Blog.com service is very, very unreliable!!!
Only for you have an idea, today I tried to change my username there and I discovered I can’t change it… well… unless you invite a new user providing a new e-mail account
They bind the usernames with the e-mail accounts… what a failure! And they don’t even allow people to change it.
In fact in WP.org blog’s this really occurs unless you manually edit the username at the database or use a plugin to change it.
See ya! ;-)
Not sure about this, but when I just went to cancel my domain mapping subscription because I’m moving on to self-hosted, I noticed that it looks like the price of domain mapping has been bumped up $1. According to both my Paypal & my official credit card statement, I only paid $12 when I bought it in March. Can’t find anywhere that one’s written…
I know you stopped providing support. And, you have every reason to pissed. Though, it would be a loss to the likes of me who benefited from your updates and responses.
But please allow me to ask one question:
How did you embed a link in to the words in your ”Announcement 23/03/2012″ on the right sidebar above?
(As you see, my blog can be useful even if commenting is disabled!)
Hey Panos, thanks to Flynn:
I found out that the Akismet widget was updated without warning, automatically moved from our sidebars/footers back to the available widgets list (not the inactive widgets list which would have made it easier to notice) without warning, and so thanks to Flynn alerting me/us to that; we had to add/move the Akismet widget back to where we had it.
This is minor, but it is still not acceptable in my opinion, to do something like this without warning; next time it could be more/worse, why not remove all of our widgets next, and then we have to re-organize them? ;)
Ah, that’s the WP way: they change things all the time like kids who can’t stop tinkering with their toys, they change whatever dawns to them and whenever it dawns to them, and if you don’t agree Matt will say (and I’m quoting) “if you don’t like that, perhaps consider an alternative blogging service or hosting your own WordPress“.
“Next time it could be more/worse”? More/worse has happened again and again; for a couple of examples see here, second paragraph after “And so we come to February 2012”:
@Panos Yep, that was actually the first post by you that I came across ;) , I probably should have re-phrased my more/worse statement. :D
This latest situation is just another example of what you already know. ;)
Thank you for responding Panos. :)
Dear Panos, thank you for your work and support on the forums, which still helps many people like me. As I share your position regarding WP’s attitude towards users, may I put it straight: what would you recommend to use instead of WP.com? In particular, is WP.org a good alternative (I know it requires a separate hosting)?
I’m afraid I’m not qualified to answer your question: I’ve never tried self-hosting.
To whomever from WP bothered to change my lowercase “p” in “Wordpress” back to capital: don’t you have anything more useful to do?
I’m sorry to hear this, Panos. You’ve always been a great help to me. But I can certainly understand your frustration. I rave a lot myself about what WP does, and that’s only about the stuff I’m aware of.
They changed your lowercase “p”? Seriously? Hell, I’d start typing the whole thing in lowercase — wordpress. Or maybe subscript would be even more apropos.
Hi Susan. Yes, seriously! If you type wordpress with a capital w but a lowercase p, the system detects it and corrects it (yes, Matt is that anal). My lowercase was intentional, so I had added the right HTML to make sure it wouldn’t change. No one else has access to my dashboard, so only staff could have removed my HTML (which I added back as soon as I noticed). So, these people don’t have time to respond to users’ questions but they have the time to visit our blogs and edit spellings they don’t like…
“Subscript”: hehe, nice touch.
I’d endorse it but most readers wouldn’t get it, so it’d look like a flaw. But let’s indulge us once: Wordpress…
If my memory is correct they did not trap and correct all bogus spelling combinations WordPRess, can’t remember all the bad combinations I got by the corrector robot. WoodPress
Actually, I was thinking just put the whole word WordPress in subscript. I don’t know if I can do that in a comment … wordpress
Nope, my subscript didn’t work, but my first “WordPress” (with a lowecase p) was corrected, as this one will be, no doubt. I ran a test last night that indicated if you type it all lowercase, the system doesn’t pick it up … wordpress.
Or Wormpress – what with all the bugs they’ve been introducing or their slimy attitude…
@Susan (sorry I misspelled it before):
No, you can’t use coding for subscripts when commenting on another blog; see here:
If it’s all lowercase it survives; has to, because you may need to write “wordpress.com”.
Thanks for this post. I hadn’t dealt with support for over a year until last week when I had a problem (pretty sure it was a bug). When I did, I ran into this boondoggle for the first time. I thought I was going insane. After finding your post, I know I’m not alone in my bewilderment and disappointment.
Today it appears as though they’ve returned to the bold and boxed statement you post above and left the “type your question…” fall to the wayside. Or until they reinstate it.
Actually the new message shows up if you try to contact Support while logged in and the boxed one if you try while logged out. (So it’s not you who’s insane, it’s some other folks…)
My bad. Seems the message is actually there when logged in, but you have to go through steps one and two and then click the “more info” link.
Thanks Jen – I will update the post accordingly.
@mjneal: Did you read the post “There we go again” as well? It will give you a clearer idea of the WP version of “respect”.
Panos, Thanks for your past support. I hope that WP wake up and recognize the value of the service that you provided.
Thanks! You probably hope in vain: a few days ago a staff member sent me a mail asking me not to post ‘unhelpful’ and ‘unfriendly’ comments in the forums. (By unhelpful and unfriendly they mean the occasional comment that exposes their sly tactics; strangely, only WP finds such comments unhelpful: users don’t seem to have the same opinion…)
Thanks for the intersting informations, but I thing ill stay in wordpress.
Oh dear. You and Rich and 1Tess and others *are* WordPress for me. Thanks so much for your valuable and useful service to the community.
You’re welcome and thanks! Naturally WP doesn’t share your feelings: to some of them, we are the inconvenient ones…
I found your blog while searching for instructions on the MixPod audio player. I’ve changed my platform from WP.com to a self-hosted site I’m developing. I’m writing to let you know that it seems WordPress has dropped support of MixPod, or maybe the reverse, that MixPod has dropped support for WordPress. I can’t for the life of me get the MixPod shortcodes to work anymore, and even at MixPod’s forums users are actually being recommended to switch to Blogger!
I am also using the JetPack plugin to “link” my self-hosted software with the features of my WP.com account, and still I find that these MixPod codes don’t work. Just a heads-up from a music blogger with a love of playlists. :-)
Thank you for all these great tips, and I hope you’ll keep them coming. Wasn’t aware that WP had become so “political” in recent months — seems that Automattic is getting into of “extensible Mark-up,” as in Mark Z. Egomattic?
Oops, that should read Automattic is getting into *a bit* of “extensible Mark-up” :-)
Hi, and sorry for the delayed reply: I was on vacation.
Egomattic it is…
WP never supported Mixpod: the gigya workaround is practically my own invention. But the workaround is still valid – example here:
Still valid for wordpress.com blogs, that is. Unfortunately I know absolutely nothing about self-hosted sites.
Ah, well. WP.com forums provided better support than all of the freaking staff and their paid upgrades.
I sure remember being told WP was the best, of all the possible selections. I’ve only used WP for 2 years, but I can tell a big diff, too. Today I broke something, and do not even know who to ask, now. Probably it is something tedious and eyeball-rolling for the experts, but it still is broken, for me. So not a geek.
So, I guess I really just want to know: who should I ask?
You can only ask at the wp.com forum:
I was wondering why I couldn’t find a number!!
Whew! Everybody should know this site.
Terima kasih, Panos. Then, and now.
thanks Panos, without your blog, I might never have known a bunch of workarounds you provide here. English is not my language, nor is html :)