I’m really excited about the launch of WordPress.com Connect. Yes Facebook et al offer similar APIs and have more users, but there are two key differences. First is Automattic is not an advertising-driven company, so our priorities around users are different than ones who are. Second is that these APIs are the basis for interacting with any element of an entire website hosted on WP.com or not, meaning themes, widgets, posts, content, CSS… any company that does something that ultimately ends up on a website should be looking at the APIs on developer.wordpress.com and pushing us where there isn’t one yet.
My Tips on WordPress.com, a good summary of a lot of the features that launched last year which in hindsight was a ton.
Implementing WordPress.com Video on a WordPress.org site. It’s easy, but I agree it would be nice if the video media embed popup made this more seamless.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the product, Intense Debate supercharges the comment section of WordPress blogs and other sites with cool features like threading, reply by email, voting, reputation, and global profiles. There are a few companies tackling this space right now, but I was impressed with how much ID (Intense Debate) has been able to do with a small team, and happy to find that their common platform (PHP and MySQL) would make integration a lot easier.
Going forward, the plan is to keep Intense Debate available as a platform-agnostic independent service, much like Akismet. We’ll start to integrate its features into WordPress core, WordPress.com, and Gravatar as appropriate. For example, comment threading is going to be in WordPress 2.7, but reply by email is a lot easier to implement on a hosted service like WordPress.com. We’re also going to be able to lend our expertise in scaling to the ID team to make sure their users enjoy the same hassle-free speed and bulletproof availability as users of other Automattic services.
Long-term, I think that comments are the most crucial interaction point for blogs, and an area that deserves a lot of investment and innovation. Comments really haven’t changed in a decade, and it’s time to spice things up a little.
We were early in the space with investing in Akismet to solve the spam problem, but now I think the real growth opportunities are in the user interaction and social features across comments. There is a huge opportunity to increase the traffic and engagement of blogs significantly. WordPress.com alone already gets about three legitimate comments every second — more than a quarter of a million every day. I’m excited to see what the Intense Debate team can do to make things more interesting.