Woo & Automattic

For years, we’ve been working on democratizing publishing, and today more people have independent sites built on open source software than ever before in the history of the web. Now, we want to make it easy for anyone to sell online independently, without being locked into closed, centralized services — to enable freedom of livelihood along with freedom of expression.

It’s not a new idea: at a WordCamp a few years ago, someone stood up and asked me when we were going to make it as easy to create an online store as we’d made it to create a blog. Everyone applauded; there’s long been demand for better ecommerce functionality, but it’s been outside the scope of what Automattic could do well.

That changes today — drum roll — as WooCommerce joins the Automattic team to make it easier for people to sell online. Along with Woo’s announcement, here’s a short video explaining more:

In the past few years, WooCommerce really distinguished itself in its field. Just like WordPress as a whole, it developed a robust community around its software, and its products meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Woo is also a team after Automattic’s own distributed heart: WooCommerce is created and supported by 55 people in 16 countries. Added to Automattic’s 325 people in 37 countries, that’s a combined 380-person company across 42 countries — the sun never sets.* I can’t wait to meet all my new colleagues.

Just like us, the vast majority of WooCommerce’s work is also open source and 100% GPL. And just like WordPress, you’ll find WooCommerce meetups popping up everywhere, from Los Angeles to London, and its global and community-focused work together to make the users’ experiences the best they can be.

ecomm-trends The stats are impressive: the WooCommerce plugin has over 7.5 million downloads and a million+ active installs; BuiltWith’s survey of ecommerce platforms shows Woo passing up Magento in the top million, with about triple the number of total sites. Even a conservative estimate that WooCommerce powers 650,000 storefronts means they’re enabling a huge number of independent sellers. They’ve added a tremendous amount to the WordPress ecosystem (alongside everyone else working in this area).

WordPress currently powers about 23% of the web. As we work our way toward 51%, WooCommerce joining Automattic is a big step opening WordPress up to an entirely new audience. I can’t wait to see how much more we can build together.

Automattic turns ten next month: another amazing milestone I couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. Today’s news is just the first of a number of announcements we have planned for the remainder of the year, so please stay tuned! There’s still so much work to do.

* Want to work with us? We’re hiring. Bonus points if you live in Antarctica, the only continent we don’t have covered.

As I said in the video, please drop any questions you might have in the comments and I’ll answer them as soon as I can. Also check out the posts from Mark and Magnus.

Read more: Mashable, Recode, Techcrunch, Venturebeat.

166 thoughts on “Woo & Automattic

  1. Pingback: Woo Hoo! | LoriLoo
    1. I think they’re also great! The Woo team is a great complement to ours, and they have a product we think will address an even larger market than they do today.

      1. How come you didn’t buy the store that the woo code was stolen from? Wouldn’t that be a more ethical choice? I feel for the Jigoshop guys now… they have been screwed twice now…

        How far into the channel are you going to go with ecommerce? Should other wordpress ecommerce and similar stores pack up and get on benefits? How much do you think this will hurt other ecommerce plugins that used to compete on a fair even playing field?

        Should other tool plugins in other similar spaces expect that you’ll be in that channel also?

  2. I just want to say that I’m honored. There are very few companies that I want to work for but Automattic is definitely one of them.

    Excited to meet all of my new coworkers. 🙂

  3. Bravo Matt !!! Nice move on the “Chessboard” of business, of happy site owners built on WP and who knows what else!!!! Congrats to both!!! Looking forward to read about the “…announcements we have planned for the remainder of the year”, as you mentioned!!!

  4. I have used WooCommerce pretty much since launch. I started testing on my store when it launched, and created my business about a month later.

    I can’t wait to see in which direction Automattic will help take this.

    My question is not so much related to WooCommerce and this direction (because I bet I know the answer to the questions I would ask regarding the subscription model for all the extensions). But my question is:

    What do you see that you can take with you in the way that Woo works? They are distributed as well, but they might have a different approach to managing support tickets etc. So which part of their company culture would you like to see in Automattic as well?

  5. This is excellent news. I will be very interested in talking with Automattic and Woo about non-profit rates for all 14,000+ public school districts in the U.S. I see so much potential for WordPress to disrupt this market full of CMS vendors with bad technology.

  6. Optimize the hell out of WooCommerce to make it more efficient. Currenty, its a resource hog and doesnt work well with lots of products.

    1. I think it didn’t work for them well the last time around, but definitely something could reconsider in the future once things settle down. Automattic is considering an affiliate program for our other services right now too.

  7. I use woocommerce on several managed WordPress sites with godaddy. We’ve had some issues with thousands of lines of transient data being written to the options tables in the database. With this acquisition and the ability to possibly utilize automattics team will this be an issue yall focus on fixing soon? Godaddy has told me it’s something that woocommerce will have to fix in their next release. I assume there has to be a very large section of woo users hosting on godaddy.

    Looking forward to what this means for the future.

    1. We’ll definitely have Automattic engineers on-call to help Woo out with anything they need, and the teams will become more merged in the future. I’ll pass along this to their team along with your email.

    2. Hey there Tell!

      We have already been working closely with GoDaddy to help get things working smoothly and quickly with WooCommerce. You should note some marked improvements soon 🙂

      1. Awesome. I kept getting a little different stories each time so I was a little worried.

  8. Smart move! Excited- 😀

    Other than WooCommerce, sounds like there’s a plan for the Themes they have?

    1. All of their products including themes are coming over, and I think there is lots we can learn both directions once the teams start working more closely together.

  9. What it means to WordPress.com users? I have a premiun upgrade and, now, I will have the possibility to have an online store?

    And we still need a forum integration (Muut or BBpress) in WordPress.com.

  10. Great news, Congratulations to the WooCommerce team and I’m very excited to see the next major release. Also, I’m hoping to see something called WooCodex 😀

  11. Very smart move. Will be interesting to see how this affects the WordPress market. Will Woo continue to be the marketplace for WooCommerce extensions? Will you integrate the WooCommerce plugin in WordPress core?

    1. WooCommerce will not be integrated into core, it works great as a plugin. There will definitely continue to be a marketplace for extensions.

      1. will the original jigoshop plugins be free now? (you know the open source code that they’ve been illegally selling for years)

  12. Well done my friend! I know for sure that WooCommerce will get more and more functional being part of Automattic.

    What I think that will make a difference, is to make setup and configuration of new stores as simple as possible, letting people with almost no knowledge about setting an online store, to do it, helping small retailers to open their store in 1 click, getting them to advertise their store on social networks (without forgetting that it HAS to be as simple as possible).

    Again, congrats on the acquisition, and keep the magic flowing!

      1. That’s reassuring Matt. Now, if only we can get some serious performance improvement in woocommerce and sensei… Would also seriously raise the quality assurance on plugin development, we feel more like user acceptance testers for woo at times (really basic bugs). WordPress runs beautifully and it’s that scalability design and implementation I hope will transfer to sensei and woocommerce. Also, whilst I’m at it sensei user experience could use a real year 2020 look and feel boost so we hope you invest well there 🙂 We’re excited about its potential.

  13. Awesome news! Will Automattic publish a roadmap of development for the next months that will go onto WooCommerce or we’ll see that as it goes?
    Enjoy your new acquisition, they’re really nice guys at Woo!

    1. We’ll see as it goes — Woo has their own roadmap already that they’re executing with at least 6 months of work on it.

  14. Its a great step forward, now we can look at placing high-end clients on VIP-WordPress hosting with WooCommerce and WordPress, to really rock the e-commerce space. Look forward to seeing more action in this space.

  15. Very exciting move!
    Matt, will Automattic integrate WooCommerce into the WP core (like multisite feature), or as another piece of Jetpack (on/off)?

  16. Great stuff Matt! Btw, I know this is a little far fetched, but due to WooCommerce’s sudden announcement of their licence changes back in August 2013, most of us miss out on extensions we were saving for. I mean, if there was a two weeks notice, some of us would have bought a few more extensions before they were changed to yearly renewals.

    Personally, I’ve about 20+ official WooCommerce extensions.

    Would you consider letting early adopters purchase the lifetime licenses for these extensions (released before August 2013, not the ones released after), as I believe an announcement should have been made before licensing term changes. I’m sure there were a lot of frustrated customers due to that announcement too

    1. I’ll defer to the team there, they’ve thought about their pricing more than I have. The value you can get from their extensions seems a lot higher than the prices.

      1. First off, congratulations! I’m really excited to see what comes out of this.

        In regards to leokoo’s statement and your response: The value is great but quickly adds up in annual fees when you need more than a couple to get things right. Would be great to see some sort of all-access subscription on official extensions if that is an option. It feels like this would cover the ongoing development funding issue whilst still allowing for flexibility in the finished product.

        Either way it does force you to focus on what is essential as things stand so I guess that is a good thing 😉

        Looking forward to seeing how it plays out 😀

      2. @leekoo – I understand your pain, as I am in a similar position. But, there is an option to upgrade plugins bought before the 1 August 2013. I upgraded my Sensei license to “lifetime”, but have chosen to upgrade others annually. Sensei being the plugin that I most needed at the time. If you access your WooThemes account the option the option is available, although may require a little digging.

        FYI – From the WooThemes blog announcement “To do right by you, we would now like to give you the option of whether you want to back our strategy for sustainability or whether you would want to stick to the previous terms & conditions that you signed into (which means we’ll grandfather all of your purchases). If you choose the latter, your purchases before 1 August 2013 (that were already unlimited or lifetime) will remain unlimited and lifetime forever.” For more details check out this link. WooThemes Announcement

        Interesting to see how this goes. An ecommerce option for membership sites on WordPress.com would be a game changer, IMHO.

  17. When will WordPress have a decent media manager? One that can actually store different files on different folders (e.g. Product photos, general photos, team photos etc.), and not just dump everything in one place and make the end user spend hours looking for the file/image he wants to use?

  18. Ah, will WooCommerce move towards SAAS in the near future or would it be still a plugin with extensions? 🙂 If yes to SAAS, would we be able to purchase extensions in the future?

      1. Thanks Matt. Would you consider improving performance for WooCommerce as well as ways to cache and ensure large stores (more than 10k products) can efficiently run WooCommerce without lag?

        We had a lively discussion here on Envato’s forum

        Also, as you’re coming to Jakarta, see you then! 🙂

  19. This is a great news for both Automattic/WooCommerce and WordPress community. I think with the help of WooCommerce we can make the leap of powering 50% of internet by an year or two.

    As a matter of fact, I just complete a 50 articles, in-depth tutorials series for WooCommerce beginners at Tuts+.

    A few concerns though, since a big portion of my business depends on WooCommerce, it’ll be great to find out what this acquisition means for next 12/24 months. WooCommerce had have backward compatibility issues in past, which broke my themes more than once. What do you guys plan to do with it now?

    That said, me with my team have had been working over a cool extension of WooCommerce for last three months, I bet their are others like me, who’d love to know how this affects us.

    Congrats to team Woo!

    1. It’s a great idea to build your business on WordPress, and we want to continue people to do so for many years in the future.

  20. This is huge Matt, did not see that coming! Congratulations to everyone involved. I’m very eager to see how this unfolds in the next few years..

    On another note, are you laying off 10 people? 325 + 55 is 380, not 370. Sorry for being “that guy”. 😉

  21. Que gran noticia!!, realmente el soft de woocommerce me sorprendió mucho y en los últimos 2 años recomendé mucho el plugin entre conocidos y clientes que querían iniciar su negocio online. Sin dudas que el equipo de Automattic podrá crear grandes complementos para hacer mucho mejor a esta “plataforma”.

  22. A good decision and logical step to keep Automatic growing and ready to deliver more out-of-the-box and ready to use web solutions for everyone. Congratulations from our side, Matt!

    Btw: Woomattic – what a nifty name. Love it:-)

  23. Probably the biggest WordPress news ever?

    I am very interested to see how this plays out Matt. It has immense potential. I host almost all of my websites on WordPress and have been moving almost all stores to WooCommerce lately.

    I am very interested to see if you can help improve the support quality and responsiveness. Due to the distributed nature of Woo support, it usually takes them at least a day and sometimes more to respond to me. Not very helpful for a business, and also a little frustrating considering their high prices. I hope the merge can bring better support to Woo.

  24. Matt, congrats on the addition!

    Will you be bringing a integration overhaul anytime soon or will you be keeping WordPress and Woo(Plugins) separate?

  25. Looking forward to the integration, Ive always struggled when a client wants a good e commerce solution that is easy to use.

  26. Hey Matt,

    I’m a founding partner and tech lead at Funkhaus. We are a creative agency working primary in the WordPress space. Everything we do is 100% custom, and I feel we have the most prestigious B2B clients second only to WordPress VIP.

    We’ve always struggled with the best course of action when it comes to e-Commerce. Honestly, we always felt that WooCommerce was a bad option. Mostly because it does a lot of things “not WordPress style”, and their documentation has always been terrible. It always felt like they built WooCommerce as a way to drive theme sales, and hence had little incentive to document the plugin for people to build themes for it from scratch.

    So about 12 months ago we started building our own e-Commerce plugin that tried to do everything as “WordPress” like as possible, and was very well documented. The programming was head up by Funkhaus senior programmer John Robson, with me supporting. It’s open source, but we never spoke about it publicly. Now with your acquisition of Woo, I question how much sense it makes for us to continue with our plugin, so we are publishing everything that we have made so far, in the hope it helps with your efforts with Woo and maybe shows you what we thought was wrong with WooCommerce. In the coming days we will make a decision whether to continue development, or stop and wait for the better version of WooCommerce that Automattic makes.


    Our aim was to build something that was very intuitive to WordPress coders, with a minimal learning curve. So have things like get_product_price() and get_product_image(), and make the checkout pages as customizable as anything else on the site. Everything worked around the “loop” and $post objects. As well as documenting all of the PHP template tags, template hierarchy, and UI, we also built a Javascript API to handle all of the frontend features, like size selectors and cart functions. We are about 70% of the way through documenting everything (none of the JS API was documented, or template hierarchy).

    If you ever want the opinions of some “in the trenches” developers on what makes a good e-Commerce plugin, we can talk for days about it.

    Good luck, we have faith you’ll improve WooCommerce.

    -Drew, John and Funkhaus.

  27. Seven years ago, we began to build our business with WordPress as our primary CMS. We’ve developed many ecommerce sites and have been using WooCommerce…there are so many more tools, add-ons and much value already baked into this…kudos to you and the whole team as you brighten our futures.

  28. Interesting.

    Could I make one particular plea for the europeans among us:

    It would _seriously_ help us (and significantly boost adoption) if the EU VAT plugin was free. As of 2015 quite a lot of us have to deal with VATMOSS (google it, then cry!) and I think you could be making this a lot easier and safer for everyone.

    Furthermore, that plugin relies on an excellent but free VAT tool that usefully repackages the VIES facility provided by the EU. Can you could help them/fund them?

    There’s loads more here:

    I am just starting down the SaaS road. Software and digital are the first areas affected by the Place Of Supply Directive, but it is ultimately coming to physical goods too.


  29. I started creating my first WooCommerce ready theme a few weeks ago due to the amount of request by my readers. I am(we all are) super happy about this news, with Automattic behind WooCommerce; I’m sure it will be even bigger and better.

    We all look forwards to the changes ahead. Some in the comments mentioned EDD, which I think is great for digital products. But WooComerce is a better all rounder just my opinion, I use both 🙂

  30. Really Awesome! Pretty much on Woo continuous with WordPress, trying to stretch the limits and have found it’s a great platform to allow for that. Nice way to strengthen the Awesome!

  31. The decision to move to yearly licensing fees for (sometimes essential) extensions made WooCommerce much less attractive than previously. In the spirit of WordPress, maybe Matt will reverse this decision? I don’t mind paying once for an extension, but every year in order to have it updated seems very disrespectful to the end customer and developer alike.

  32. Congratulations on the acquisition!

    WooCommerce is good stuff, I think it’s the best cart available for WordPress – and I’ve worked with many both on the surface and internally as a long-time developer.

    The WC codebase itself is easy to understand after some minor amount of study ( typical getting familiar phase ), and it makes good sense the way it’s built in general in terms of PHP design. After 3 years of working with it extensively, it’s clear that the devs have done a good job of making it highly extensible, and the coding is a good fit into the WordPress way of doing things. I really like it. There’s always room for improvement 😉

    And, I look forward to seeing the market for extensions expand in all directions, including from all the independent builders out there. The paid extension marketplace is a huge part of what helps WordPress grow so fast – the big list of add-ons from a wide variety of people. And in all honesty, had it not been for all the commercial 3rd party plugins available out there most of our clients would never have chosen WordPress and WooCommerce. Clients buy into the eco-system and more importantly the ability to do what they need to do without spending huge piles of money on custom development, we don’t hear complaints about costs for add-ons. And I think the fact that 600K sites run WooCommerce is a validation of the general way the market in general handles themselves.

    The only significant complaints we’ve heard over time is when there are major changes in WooCommerce that break stuff, which seems to be a bit more frequent than with WordPress, in the latter case this is rarely an issue anymore. I believe the WordPress devs have a gentler approach, and I hope that rubs off onto the WC developers.

    Overall, I look forward seeing it evolve as a part of Automattic.

  33. Pingback: Woo | Derrick
  34. I am hoping Automatic can train the Woocommerce folks to be more careful in their updates. They have too many updates, and they are not careful about backwards compatibility. They also change functionality without notice, sometimes for little or no gain at the cost of other functionality. It is as if the coders have not had real world experience in running a business.