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.
Prologue is a new WordPress theme that’s probably best described as a group Twitter, ideally for 3-15 people to let each other know what they’re up to. It has comments, permalinks, RSS feeds, Gravatars, XML-RPC, everything you’d expect. The front page shows the latest update from each person.
The Crunchies were tonight, and we were fortunate enough to win in two categories, WordPress for Most Likely to Succeed and Toni Schneider for a well-deserved Best Startup CEO. My heart was racing a thousand beats a minute going up to the stage, which never happens anymore, but I think because there were so many people I knew, and so many startups that I liked there, that it was different. Congratulations to the entire WordPress community for this win. Just wait until they see 2.5. 🙂
Rating the Livebloggers talks about three of the blogs that were covering Steve Jobs keynote where he announced the Macbook Air. The one with the highest rating, Gizmodo’s Live site, is hosted on WordPress.com as a VIP, which is how they managed to avoid the problems that hit Crunchgear, Engadget, Twitter, et al. Here’s a Flickr picture showing how spiky the traffic can be. (That’s from the iPhone keynote, not the latest one.)
Alex Jones has some good thoughts on the marketplace. As some stats, our themes page on .com got 2.4 million pageviews last month and someone previews a theme about once every 1.74 seconds. I can’t say how many people have purchased upgrades on .com, but even with our limited selection of products it’s a meaningful percentage, and that’s one of the reasons we think this idea has legs. It’s still impossible to know for certain, though, and I appreciate that our launch partners are taking a risk that they might create a theme and not sell a single one, and the whole thing might tank. If it goes well, though, I fully expect there to be thousands of themes in the system by this time next year, and the people in early will have a significant advantage, much like app developers did on Facebook.
Three bits of Amazon S3 news:
- We’re now using S3 as the primary storage for WordPress.com, rather than just for backups. We have some layers in front of it, notably Varnish, so the majority of our serving doesn’t hit S3. Still, our AWS bill went from around $200/mo to $1500/mo, and rising. It has simplified some of our requirements, but doesn’t look like it’ll save any money.
- Amazon now has a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Big companies like this, but in the real world I’ve found there to be a low correlation with service reliability and the presence of a SLA.
- In the Amazon newsletter they promoted Content Spooling Network as a good use of their services. Unfortunately, the service appears to be tailored for using Mechanical Turk to “ghostwrite keyword-based articles for SEO,” or more succinctly, “spam.” Get a web-savvy editor for that newsletter, guys!
WordPress.com is now the number #22 site in the US according to Quantcast, just ahead of craigslist.org. Moving up from there is going to be a lot harder as the US uniques get pretty big. Note that the numbers Quantcast uses for its top-list only includes blogs with “wordpress.com” in the URL. To see our aggregate stats which includes blogs with custom domains you have to look at the WordPress network page, which has us at 87 million global uniques in the past 30 days, up from 70 million just over a month ago.
The folks responsible for blocking WordPress.com in Turkey have issued a press release, here’s some snippets.
As it is known by public, the entry of the publications to Turkey of the blog service named “woldpress.com” that gives the opportunity of opening free site to internet users is interrupted with the judgement. This judgement is applied on 17.8.2007 and thus the entery of worldpress.com service and the publications of all sub-sites which takes service from this service to Turkey is interrupted.
aI wish they had blocked worldpress.com instead. They seem proud that they blocked all the sites instead of just the ones that they consider illegal under Turkish law.
The reason of this suspention, is that the limitlessly enable to illegal publications of the mentioned blog service, not taking to notice about the suspention of the applications and ignoring the judgements that are given by the Turkish courts related to the suspention of known sub-sites. The free and uncontrolled opportunities provided by the mentioned service are directed baleful people to this service and in a short time wordpress.com is returned to the voice and publication center of separatist-disastrous ideologies, private hostilities, illegal targets.
As far as I know, we never received any notice from Turkish courts about anything, only barely coherent threats and bully-attempts written much like the above.
Thus before ABOUT 17 TÄ°MES we have appealed to the mentioned site administration for the suspention of the unlawful publications , but the site administration did not take any caution about these publications.(one of our applications is published in their sites) Thereon about our applications RELATED WITH THE SUB SITES THAT ABUSE OUR CLIENT’S PERSONAL RIGHTS the Turkish courts have given numerous judgements for the closing of the illegal sub-sites which are broadcasting under WordPress. These judgements are delivered to the center of the mentioned firm in USA and to the agency in Turkey, this time the suspention of the illegal publications according to the judgements of the Turkish courts is asked. BUT, IN SPITE OF THE ALL WRITTEN AND ORAL APPLICATIONS, THE MENTIONED FIRM AND ITS AGENCIES ARE NOT AFFILIATE OUR REQUIREMENTS AND THE JUDGEMENTS OF THE TURKISH COURTS AND THEY INSISTED ON APPLYING.
Just to clarify when they said they contacted us 17 times, that means that they would blast the same email to multiple address and when they didn’t get the reply they wanted they sent the same message over and over again.
In addition to some blogs they complained about, their main request was that we block the name of their client being used by any blog hosted by our site, much like you can’t write “democracy” on blogs hosted by MSN Spaces in China. I’m going to skip some bits to the threat at the end:
There is a lesson which all blog services and internet service providers should take from this judgement. Blog services, especially the ones that give free service, should be careful about the sites that are illegally active through their firms. These services should not remain insensitive to the complints that they receive and especially to the judgements. It is certain that the services which behave opppositely will meet with the same enforcement that WordPress met.
So if you don’t disallow certain words being used on your blogs, you’ll be punitively punished through our state-controlled ISP. Today those words are “Adnan Oktar.” Who knows what they’ll be tomorrow.
People trying to visit WordPress.com from Turkey are seeing this message: “Access to this site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/195 of T.C. Fatih 2.Civil Court of First Instance.” I didn’t realize Turkey had a great firewall like China. This is really unfortunate because we have a really passionate Turkish community that gets about 12 million pageviews a month. Any good tips for people to get around the block? Update: This comment has the story and resolution.
We’re back Update 2: It appears we’re still blocked, here is more info.
We launched a WordPress.com Facebook App today, feedback has been mostly good, except some good points about how much space it takes up and formatting. It got 4 out of 5 stars on Facereviews. If you have a FB account, please check it out. (It doesn’t work for self-hosted WordPresses yet, but if it’s popular we’ll put more dev into it.)
The Guardian: Why Google is the service of choice for sploggers examines spam, splogs, Blogger, and WordPress.com. As you may tell from the title, it’s overly harsh on Google, but nonetheless has some interesting commentary and information. Like I said last time someone wrote about this, I would never suggest WP.com is splog-free because I delete too many of them myself, but it is a problem we take very seriously and are ever vigilant against.