It’s difficult not to like WordPress (especially if you’re a blogger!) but after its parent, Automattic, raised $29.5-million earlier this year, there was a fair bit of head-scratching out why it needed so much dough and how its investors (including the New York Times) justified a valuation rumored to be $200-million.
We’re talking a company with 19 employees and revenue of perhaps a few million dollars from offering consulting and anti-spam services. The easiest and most obvious way for WordPress to generate more revenue to grow and keep its new investors happy would be advertising given WordPress.com powers 2.2 million blogs, which attract 114 million unique visitors and 482 million page views a month.
Based on a very conservative $2/CPM, WordPress could make $1-million a month – $12-million a year – by running a single ad on all of its WordPress.com blogs. The problem, however is Automattic chief domo Matt Mullenweg doesn’t like the idea of advertising on WordPress.com – a strange approach given online advertising all the rage these days, and you would think WordPress.com users wouldn’t squawk too loudly given they use the publishing platform for free.
“Most of you have never, and will never, seen an ad on WordPress.com,” Mullenweg said during a conference yesterday.“We decided to show ads only on certain pages, only to the people who were sort of random drive-by visitors…if you use Firefox, you’ll never see an ad, no matter what, mostly because I like Firefox.”
Question: why the opposition to advertising, Matt? I mean, everyone’s doing it and advertising is apparently going to let everyone enjoy all those free online services that we all know, love and adamantly refuse to pay to use.
So, Matt, if it isn’t advertising, what is WordPress going to tell the New York Times, which has dropped its pay-wall so it can drive traffic and attract more advertising revenue?
And if it’s not advertising, what’s it going to be? Consulting, which is people-intensive because the more you grow, the more people you need? Services? WordPress is now giving away 3GB of storage, and there’s no sign of a fee-based services portfolios being developed.
To paraphrase that old Wendy’s tagline: Where’s the Beef, Matt?
More: Speaking of blogging and revenue, Technorati’s going to be launching an advertising network.