PollDaddy Goes Automattic

It’s another exciting day here at Automattic. Today we finally get to announce that we’ve acquired the market-leading poll and survey service PollDaddy.

For a year or two now, I’ve been minorly obsessed with polls and surveys as a method of lightweight interaction that engages casual users of your website and also can get you some really fun data to play with. I’ve also mentioned at a few WordCamps that a polling plugin is one of the top 10 WordPress plugins in the world. Polls are really popular with WordPress users.

As we started to look at building out our own service for this, it became more obvious that, while on the surface it’s a very simple problem, there’s a lot of hidden complexity and opportunities for some really powerful features under the hood. There are probably a dozen companies addressing this space right now, but as we started to survey the space I was struck by how often I’d see this “PollDaddy” thing pop up.

Two guys in Ireland with a quirky company name were cleaning up with some of the largest and most respected websites using their service on a daily basis. They weren’t the biggest, but they had the high end of the market. It seemed to be the WordPress of the polling space.

I took a secret trip to Sligo and put back a few pints with the team and we decided to make things work. They went to bed every night and woke up every morning thinking about polls and surveys, and were iterating at a great pace. By plugging into Automattic’s experience at creating internet-scale services and the distribution of WordPress.com, I knew we could take Polldaddy to an entirely new level in a relatively short amount of time.

Today we just enabled PollDaddy integration with 4.4 million blogs on WordPress.com and have released the first version of their .org plugin.

You can read more about the acquisition on the PollDaddy blog, Toni’s blog, and the WP.com blog. I’m super excited to have Lenny and Eoin as part of the Automattic family, and I’m looking forward to seeing the service flourish with its newfound resources.

97 thoughts on “PollDaddy Goes Automattic

  1. Wow, congratulations guys (both Automatticians and PollDaddies!).

    Polls are definitely a common addition to blogs, and I agree Matt – they’re a great, lightweight, low-commitment way of getting some interaction with your readers.

    Looking forward to seeing where this goes!

  2. Great acquisition Ma.tt! As you say, polls are a great way of interacting with users – and on some of my larger blogs, the number of votes are sometimes insane!

    Definitely going to give the .org plugin a try!

  3. Hurray! Congratulations!

    You guys are on a roll with acquisitions left and right. We’re pretty excited.

    I’ve used PollDaddy numerous times.

    Cheers Matt!

    1. Yep for now the user systems are still separate, though we did an integration if you’re using it from inside WP.com. Eventually the user systems will be combined.

  4. Just curious if you guys plan on keeping the current pricing scheme that’s set up or add any additional features? I’ve looked at poll daddy before, but the 10 question limit for free accounts is annoying (same with surveymonkey), especially if you only need to send out a larger survey once or twice a year.

  5. Awesome! I absolutely love PollDaddy.

    Good job, Automattic. :) You’re acquiring the small services that I use (Intense Debate, PollDaddy) and will be undoubtedly making them better.

  6. Congrats! Can’t help thinking this could have been me if I’d gone deeper on Democracy and expanded it beyond a plugin :-p. No worries though. If you’re ever in Boston for a WP meetup I’ll be there!

  7. Automattic = Global Domination. Congrats to you guys on a very wise choice. Does this mean we will be getting core integration of Polls in future releases? (2.8+)

  8. Congratulations from Ireland! It’s great to see excellent products developed here appreciated across the world. Even more excellent to hear that the integration was fuelled by pints! ;-)

  9. Matt – you didn’t get the memo from your VC backers to not spend any money? I’m just joking around – good luck on the acquisition and here’s hoping that PollDaddy turns out to be a great buy.

  10. Wouldn’t it be easier to just make a simple WP plugin? Polls aren’t exactly complicated. Or am I missing something here?

  11. This comment probably will disappear into the vast seas of comments….

    just wanted to say that I created a new website based on WordPress (hybrid CMS/blog) – like my 10th one – late last night and when my brain was just about fried, I saw the word “PollDaddy” pop before me. I instantly thought yes, adding a polldaddy poll here would be great. just as it instantly appeared, it vanished.

    after rolling in bed all night long – as is the norm after developing a brand new site – i wake up (early) and the first word that pops up is “polldaddy”. i skip my usual morning routine and breakfast. typing this in the wordpress plugin search, i can then believe my eyes – there’s a polldaddy plugin.

    i extract the the files. i look at the developer credits.

    automattic.com

    little did i know it had been acquired just today! thanks, matt and automattic, for sending me a sign!

    some things need to be ironed out on the plugin, but knowing that it’s automattic, it’ll be essential to almost every WordPress install.

  12. Thanks for acquiring a poll feature. I look forward to using it in the near future and your timing is great because I have been planning on adding a poll to my blog soon. Thanks!!

  13. Hi Matt:

    We have been using PollDaddy Professional for approx 8 months. I’m hoping acquisition by Automatic bodes only good things. We are a large US-based media company and despite my original enthusiasm for the product and great 3rd party reviews, reception here has soured.

    Don’t get me wrong, it is a lovely, simple interface and we’ve got no less than 20 polls going at a time. The trouble is customer service and communication. When I originally inquired about this, I was told that they proactively communicate with clients regarding service outages, regularly scheduled maintenance and ehancement roll outs.
    Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case. If and when this very talented team does communicate about issues, it is thru their blog and not with nearly enough specificity. Here are two recent examples that occured in the past two weeks.

    1) On the morning of 10/8 none of our widgets published. We run anywhere from 10 plus polls a day so this was fairly noticeable. We logged onto the site and looked at the blog. No communication regarding any apparent issues just a notice that there was maintentance time scheduled for October 5th. We sent a note regarding the problem and heard back mid-day on the 9th. Here is the message we got: “Can you save your widget again and copy the new code to where you need it. We have made a change to where the polls are been hosted, which means the old code for the widget is no longer valid.” We had this code which we were relying on in over a dozen places on our site. The maintenance notice made no mention that things like widgets would have to be replaced post move. Had we known we could have easily prepared for this but instead we came into work with half a dozen complaints from folks at our company regarding the tool “once again” being broken.

    2) Here’s another example – also regarding the widget. Up until earlier this week, if you updated via the widget, the change was instantaneous. One day ago this was suddenly no longer the case. Our content producer went in as he normally did to do his update and there was no change. He looked in the blog area to see if perhaps there was a message saying the service was down. No message. Eventually 10 minutes later his update finally appeared on the site. I wrote the polldaddy guys and heard back a day later with the following response from Eon – “We are having issues with our encoding for widgets. It has since been fixed.
    It will now take 10 minutes from the time you edit a poll for changes to be obvious on a site. This is has to do with a cache infrastructure we have recently moved to. We are going to provide a preview of the poll on the PollDaddy site so you can see what changes you make in real time and we hope the delay will not inconvenience our users.”

    While this was certainly less of an issue than example 1, once again, this falls into the example of something she should specifically and proactively tell the customer. I have half a dozen other examples I’d be happy to share with you.

    Paying power users like ourselves need better communication. It should also be proactively delivered via email and the admin interface where we log in. It should also contain practical details regarding potential impact.

    I really believed in the product and am getting increasing criticism here at work for going with what is being perceived as an unreliable and unprofessional company.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi,

      I would like to sincerely apologize for the frustration you have experienced in the past few weeks with Polldaddy support. We have been extremely busy moving our servers into our new home @automattic and I fully accept that we have been poor at times communicating this move. We did not expect there to be any downtime of any of our products but we were wrong. All of this moving will make for a much more stable Polldaddy platform in the future which will benefit all of our users. If you contact me directly at lenny [@] polldaddy.com I will be happy to jump on the phone with you and sort out any issues you are having.

      Lenny
      PollDaddy.com

    2. Things should be a lot more stable as we move them to Automattic infrastructure, just like WordPress.com which is relied on by CNN, Fox News, Time, etc. I’m sorry for the trouble the transition has caused.

  14. Spotted it today! The more little things like that you can add in the better, especially better when they are web apps – via wordpress.com

  15. Is PollDaddy compatible with CMS (content mgmt system)?

    Can you tell me some pros/coms of Polldaddy vs. Survey Monkey?

    1. Yes it’s just a JS embed.

      I think for surveys PollDaddy still has a couple of features to catch up on, but I expect those should be done within a month or so.

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