In late 2005 Matt Mullenweg founded Automattic, the business behind WordPress.com an adaptation of the open source WordPress.org project. Other key people in Automatic and WordPress include Toni Schneider (CEO) Ryan Boren (Lead Developer). The site was initially launched as an invitation-only service, although at one stage, accounts were also available to users of the Flock web browser.
In 2005 I was at Blogger and when I joined WordPress.com in 2006, there was only 1 Staff member in Support, 1 Moderator, and 1 FAQs thread at the head of the single support forum (no support documentation). The core contributing developers include Ryan Boren, Mark Jaquith, Matt Mullenweg, Andrew Ozz, and Peter Westwood. However, WordPress is also developed by its community, including WP testers, a group of volunteers who test each release.
WordPress.com is the choice of those who want sites they can learn to master on their own without too much trouble. WordPress.org is a powerful yet easy to use content management system. Initially it was designed as a blogging platform but it can customized to become a powerful CMS with plugin use.
“Automattic Inc. is a startup from a handful of people passionate about making the web a better place. We are strong believers in Open Source and the vast majority of our work is available under licenses like the GPL. We work from places all around the world. “
Everyone at Automattic is organized into a team of 5-10 people, each team focused on different areas. On a daily basis, everyone works with high autonomy, since we’re distributed by time as well as distance. Each team works differently, but each developer, working with a team lead and a designer, decides what changes to make and when to release them. Here at Automattic we implement, test, and release changes to WordPress.com dozens of times a day. via How is WordPress.com made?
Last year WordPress carried out a global survey, asking basic questions about what people are doing with WordPress. Over 18,000 people responded from all over the world, making it a good indicator of how people are faring in the WordPress economy. Here’s the global map of the respondents. via Smashing Special: What’s Going On In The WordPress Economy?
Looking at the top 100 blogs in Technorati’s index, a new Pingdom website monitoring study found that 49% of the top 100 blogs now use WordPress. That’s up from 32% in 2009. No other platform even comes close. Besides WordPress’ total domination in this space though, what’s most interesting about these new statistics is the rise of the custom blogging platforms. via Study: Half Of The Top 100 Blogs Now Use WordPress
Google Trends is more a tool for tracking buzz than practical popularity. For example. If you compare Tumblr to Pinterest, it seems that Pinterest has about half of the popularity as Tumblr but, when you look at the statistics, Tumblr has many times more users and visitors. Likewise, it appears that Tumblr is many times more popular than WordPress but, in truth, WordPress powers approximately 40% more blogs when you compare their numbers to Tumblr’s. via Why T-Day Probably Doesn’t Matter
Last year saw the launch of the first college course dedicated to WordPress. It was taught at Clark College by Lorelle VanFossen. As of 2011, estimates are that 25% of all websites are published with WordPress. As of March 2012, WordPress is on 72.4 million sites in the world. WordPress.com hosts about half of them. via WordPress Stats and Numbers: Breaking Their Own Records.
Using some of the stats from Lorelle’s recent article on WordPress Stats, Yoast did some more research and created a new WordPress Stats Infographic to feature the statistical information on WordPress visually. via WordPress Stats Infographic of WordPress World
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” — Benjamin Franklin
When I first began blogging at WordPress.com the software was simple and easy to use. In 2012 the software is more sophisticated and not as easy to use. WordPress.com is on continuous roll-out. Changes to the code are being made many times daily and new features are being introduced, while existing functions and features are being improved and upgraded. In many cases we WordPress.com bloggers experience changes that aren’t preceded by any announcement in the official WordPress.com community blog.
Changes are inevitable and this free hosting business model is not a democracy. I accept that. However, being a free hosted WordPress.com blogger has become synonymous with being stressed out by both the surprise introduction of new features and functions and changes to old ones, without any prior notice. In the final analyis, we WordPress bloggers have to make the personal choice to either remain on free hosting as a guinea pig or move elsewhere. Which decison will you make?