No doubt, the week’s topic in the WordPress community was the new Website Builder launched by Automattic, aka WordPress.com.
Reactions came swiftly from people all over the internet.
WordPress.com, or Automattic, is now competing with small WordPress agencies. Or are they?
Much was made about the fact they will build a website and do it for $4900.
For some people, the $4900 price tag was welcomed because it gives some kind of minimum price point.
Others just felt like Automattic will put WordPress consultants out of work.
Sarah Gooding has a nice summary of the reactions,
“Initial reactions from the WordPress developer and freelance community were mixed. Some see the competition as good and others perceived it as a threat to WordPress consultants and small agencies, because a product from WordPress.com carries the full weight of the official WordPress brand.”
Matt Mullenweg responded to MainWP user Scott Carter’s question of becoming a referral partner by saying it may not work.
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“It’s unclear if anyone wants this yet, so for this experiment, don’t have that yet. If it works then definitely will try to open it up.”
It's unclear if anyone wants this yet, so for this experiment don't have that yet. If it works then definitely will try to open it up.
— Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) January 5, 2021
As such, the product has been launched, and it does seem to be an experiment. It is one that I am sure will work.
So, Automattic does seem to have rattled the community, as WP Tavern puts it, and it remains to be seen the effect going forward.
If You’re Afraid of Automattic Making $5K Websites, You Need to Change Your Approach – Joe Casabona.
I think for those who have depended on selling $5K websites, this can be cause for concern. However, as Joe Casabona explains, it does not have to be.
He explains that, one, there will always be competition and, two, that Automattic is not really competing because this service is for those who use the WordPress.com platform.
“First of all, the website pond is a big one. We don’t need to worry about big fish eating up all the…whatever big fish eat. If that were the case, Bluehost, GoDaddy, and others (as well as competitors like Wix) would have sucked up all the business.”
Joe goes on to offer some solid business advice for working in the WordPress world.
I would be extremely surprised if this impacts anyone's consulting business, if you do have a current or potential client leave for it please let me know — it should be all new-to-WP users who wouldn't have been successful getting started.
— Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) January 4, 2021
— I podcast a lot🎙 (@mattmedeiros) January 4, 2021
Can't say I'm surprised by this announcement, but doesn't bode well for the community, tbh. Freelancers will be hurt the most.
A for instance: My custom built sites start at $3k. Once you factor in a designer that $4.9k rate looks very competitive.
— Pandemically Joshua (@onemorejosh) January 4, 2021
Did you notice https://t.co/XvK9He7OqS is now offering a website building service, where they'll build your dream site?
Pricing starts at $4,900 (U.S. dollars). https://t.co/KLXmLdxGgc
— Deborah Edwards-Oñoro (@redcrew) January 4, 2021
I spell it wordpress now.
— Jason Tucker 👨🏻💻📸🎙 (@jasontucker) January 4, 2021
Automattic Steps Into the Ecosystem – Robert Jacobi
Robert Jacobi is a person who often offers thoughtful commentary on things going on in the WordPress community.
It was in his article that I found out Automattic was offering courses (more on that later).
So many questions remain unanswered, and Jacobi does a great job of pilfering through various professionals’ thoughts in the article.
And so he sums up,
“Most importantly, given the super SEO juice that WordPress.com and Automattic have, how will this continue to conflate WordPress open source with WordPress.com and thereby pushing third parties further down the Google search results pages? I don’t think the ramifications of making WordPress.com the core directory for businesses have been thought through given the nature of the community. Will there be costs associated?”
Nothing ever stays the same. We will just have to see where this takes us.
I spell it wordpress now. Automattic selling $4,900 websites. – Matt Mederios
Matt Mederios can often be called the voice of the WordPress community. He has one of the most popular podcasts.
Matt has now claimed he will start spelling WordPress, wordpress, with small letters.
He explains that sentiment in his audio/video.
Mederios calls all of the changes in PR Blunders. His video is bleeding with sarcasm. The video is short, so it is worth the watch. It is only about 12 minutes.
Mederios brings up many salient points in the video, including how some freelancers are actually hurting and losing business.
Additionally, WordPress founder and Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg shows up to interact in the video’s comments.
Courses for beginners by WordPress.com
Courses have become big business in the last few years. I have several friends with courses. I am eyeing making one myself.
It looks like Automattic may be getting in the game as well. Apparently, they quietly rolled out this early last month, according to a press release.
There are two courses, which I imagine, are designed to help people launching those types of products on WordPress.com.
One is a blogging course, and the other is a podcasting course.
I have no idea who created those courses. It would be nice to know they were created by experts in the game.
To learn those things, the casual user may do fine with these courses. However, I know I would want to learn from experts in the game; I always have.
These will be great for beginners who signed up for a WordPres.com site.
Wrapping it up
We have seen a lot of changes from Automattic in the past couple of years. They have acquired several companies and worked to streamline the WordPress.com platform to compete with others like Wix and Squarespace.
What are your thoughts about these developments? How much do you charge to build a basic small business website?
Is there something more sinister going on here from Automattic, or are they just doing business?
Let us know in the MainWP Users Facebook Group.