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Automattic a/k/a WordPress.com Acquires WP.com

Compelling Value Domain for a Global Player or Vanity?

     
4:06 pm on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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From the Official WordPress.com Blog [en.blog.wordpress.com].

Acquired from Yahoo, in part because all day long when they refer to themselves (the company) they write or type "WP".

WP.com [WP.com]

Necessity or vanity?

Wisdom or "just because we can"?

4:18 pm on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Necessity or vanity?

Wisdom or "just because we can"?

Just plain good business sense.

4:26 pm on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Good business sense - wp.com is always going to have a decent asset value.
5:03 pm on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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But really, is there a measurable benefit?

I mean they already own the brand, WordPress.com/.org, and the brand is a household name, so what's the real net benefit? Coolness of having a 2 letter website name? Only having to type 2 letters versus 9? How much does that matter when everyone has WordPress.com/.org bookmarked anyway?

While I recognize that the domain WP.com is likely to retain value and have a core value I see this a sign of venture capital infecting their thinking. Of all the things the WP principals could be doing with such a sum of money - like advancing WP-MU or BuddyPress - I just don't see this as an advancement worth the money now spent and gone.

It's a damned fine domain name but it feels like an act so outside the sensibilities of the opensource movement. It feels a bit like 1999 all over again.

"Aeron chairs for everyone! Damn the price. We're only gonna get bigger!"

[edited by: Webwork at 5:13 pm (utc) on April 26, 2009]

7:26 pm on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think wordpress is well known but from were i am perching blogspot is better placed in the market. Maybe from a IT/Business/webmasters wordpress is well known, but joe blog on the street, from the research i have done wordpress is not on the end user lips or mind. Blogspot has that position, hence the buzz word "BLOG" that does the rounds.

Apart from the 2 letter high value domain name they should/will re-market themselves and get the end user to refer them instead of blogspot. www.widget.com/wp looks cleaner, instead of www.widget.com/blog but they are using wordpress.

The end user sees the word blog and thinks of blogspot, instead of wordpress.

Better long term strategy, market share and branding.

8:01 pm on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I wonder whether with Twitter small urls have another value. wp will continue the branding if they offer a url shortening service.
9:07 pm on Apr 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if they traded equity instead of cash?

I do like the last question in the post "What should we do with WP.com?". I guess that's where the open source / community part jumps in?

5:19 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WP.com is a nice asset and it also prevents someone else from capitalizing on the WP.com domain.
5:32 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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But really, is there a measurable benefit?

Could WordPress be coming out with their own URI Shortening Service? That WP.com is a killer acquisition for them. Kudos!

http://WP.com/0a1b2c
6:16 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think they are planning on bringing WordPerfect back to life.

So how much did they pay?

6:21 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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A very wise move, for many reasons.

Yes, Wordpress today likely has the most well-known brand in its field. But, in this biz you cannot rest. Ever. You keep making moves--big and, like this, small--every day if possible, to increase and enhance your brand and the user's positive experience.

This is true of every market leader in every field, but it's especially true in our biz.

Twitter-branded blogs, anyone?

6:49 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I mean they already own the brand, WordPress.com/.org, and the brand is a household name, so what's the real net benefit? Coolness of having a 2 letter website name? Only having to type 2 letters versus 9? How much does that matter when everyone has WordPress.com/.org bookmarked anyway?

there are many outside the webmaster planet that don't have a clue on how to start a blog, much less what platform to use; wouldn't a great branding effort comprise of people being able to say, "oh, you want to start a blog? surf to wp.com," as opposed to, "surf to wordpress.com," and having the listening party reply, "how do you spell that?"

7:05 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I don't think there is any real benefit that makes them money. It is a good investment. It will not lose value. It will go up in value.
7:07 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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But really, is there a measurable benefit?

Depends on how much they paid for it.
7:08 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Good move. Finding a way to get in on the URL shortening and Twitter mania while it's still hot would be an even better move. If any site can do it now it would be WP.com given their close ties to bloggers.
8:44 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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not only does it depend on how much they paid, but also what amount of type in traffic that domain receives.

I believe it should be substantial.

ish

8:50 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Think Mass mobile usage.
9:56 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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common sense prevails.
10:58 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WP.com

That rolls off the tongue rather smoothly. I see all sorts of brand opportunities with those 2 letters. They could use it for a culmination of things e.g. URI Shorts, Host Name Addresses, Hosted Blogs, Hosted Whatever, Sub-Directory Addresses, all sorts of really cool stuff. There are no limitations when you have a 1, 2 or even 3 letter domain.

Ah, if only I knew back then what I know now. :)

11:39 pm on Apr 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think it was a waste of money. WP.com sounds like yet another heartless Wall Street company, not something a community could be built on.

I think it would seriously water WordPress brand if they wanted to use it in any way. Unless they have doubled their budget to try to brand the two names (but then what for?).

If anything, they should have invested probably 2%-10% of the cost of WP.com to buy word-press.com.

I have been working online for a few years but if someone was to ask me what "WP" stands for, it would be terribly hard for me to relate it to WordPress.

6:32 am on Apr 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WP.com gives me associations with WordPerfect, rather than with WordPress. But I'm from a different generation I guess.
8:27 am on Apr 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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one word: twitter
10:24 am on Apr 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I really don't see how you can judge this decision when no financial details are disclosed. Maybe the price was steep, maybe it was a bargain.

In itself WP.com definitely is a cool acquisition, it would have been for anyone here.

1:32 pm on Apr 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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A great often forgotten example of this is AltaVista, who at one point paid record 3.3 million dollars for AltaVista.com only to many years later realise the domain was hard to remember and hard to read, so they purchased AV.com which was eventually planned to take the search engine into the next level, but well that never happened.

Other brands that started with a long name and went to short name, American Airlines is one, another is good old Commission Junction, it was and still is the a company name that is just to hard to write, but glad they updated to CJ.com

So in short, a short domain like WP.com will give WordPress a lot more potential and branding, just wish more companies understood how important a domain is to web presence as all to often they fail even before they get the chance because of a bad domain/brand name.

2:05 pm on Apr 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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...for how much? Any guesses?
3:07 pm on Apr 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Cool...Wordpress will be adding a third option in their signup page

1)Gimme a blog! (Like username.wordpress.com)
2)Just a username, please.
3)Make it short!(like username.wp.com)

6:33 am on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I see lots of reasons too, ONLY if the financials were in line though...
9:01 am on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I don't think WordPress (`the glorious WordPress project`) needs WP.com.

They need it if they think they are something different than what most of people including me, think of them!

9:18 am on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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But really, is there a measurable benefit? I mean they already own the brand [snip] and the brand is a household name, so what's the real net benefit? Coolness of having a 2 letter website name? Only having to type 2 letters versus 9?

I can think of a couple of examples from the sites I use regularly - ba.com and tt.com - which take opposite approaches:

British Airways redirects ba.com to www.britishairways.com but since ba.com is so short I don't even bother to bookmark either of them as typing ba.com in the address bar gets me there just as fast. I wonder what % of visitors to British Airways type [www.]britishairways.com and what % type [www.]ba.com? In the UK if you say 'BA' most people would know what you meant, but outside the UK I'm not so sure ... perhaps they went with with britishairways.com with an eye on their worldwide audience?

The second (rather obscure!) site is a regional Austrian newspaper called the 'Tiroler Tageszeitung' (roughly translates as 'Tyrolean Daily Paper') which I read regularly during the skiing season! Their site is www.tt.com and although they own tirolertageszeitung.com and tirolertageszeitung.at the redirects don't even work properly ... which gives us a fairly big clue what % of their readers use tt.com rather than the longer versions :-) The entire brand is built around 'TT' - and these two letters are used in all their print ads which are plastered round Innsbruck.

How much does that matter when everyone has WordPress.com/.org bookmarked anyway?

My bookmarks list has got so long that I can never find anything and find it quicker to search or type URLs in directly... anyone else have this issue?

2:28 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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My bookmarks list has got so long that I can never find anything and find it quicker to search or type URLs in directly... anyone else have this issue?

Not really an issue but I've always made it a habit of searching Google for those websites that I visit regularly. Call it Tin Hat or whatever, but I'd rather those sites get a referral from me via search. Even my own sites. I use Google to find stuff all the time.

In some instances, I have my bookmarks online. They are my resource pages.

WP.com

I'd say roughly $1 million for each letter? :)

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