Hardcore WordPress groupies (hereby known as WordPress-tards) are in a flap over comments made by Chris Anderson in his new book “Free” about the WordPress model.
Without being able to see the actual book and extract, I can only take their word for it, but it’s suppose to read like this:
2. Feature limited (Basic version free, more sophisticated version paid. This is the WordPress model.)
* Upside: Best way to maximize reach. When customers convert to paid, they’re doing it for the right reason (they understand the value of what they’re paying for) and are likely to be more loyal and less price sensitive.
* Downside: Need to create two versions of the product. If you put too many features in the free version, not enough people will convert. If you put too few, not enough will use it long enough to convert.
Mark Asquith, who notes that he’s a “lead developer of the WordPress publishing platform” claims:
This is most assuredly not the WordPress model. Anyone and everyone can go to wordpress.org and download a completely free, completely unrestricted, and completely feature-complete version of WordPress to run for any purpose. There is no feature limited version of WordPress.
I’d say he’s right, but I’d be lying so much I’d have my hands cut off in an Islamic court. See the problem is, THIS IS THE WORDPRESS MODEL. The WordPress BUSINESS MODEL.
You know, business models, that thing Automattic built on top of open source code then insisted that others couldn’t play along with them?
There has been some reasonable discussion among people who can see the trees from Matt Mullenweg’s arse, like Chris Garrett who notes that Anderson is talking about WordPress.com and not WordPress the open source code. However he does lose it a little bit when he asks whether WordPress.com is diluting the WordPress.org brand.
The answer there is a simple no. Those who want to set up hosted blogs (the minority) are going to understand the difference between WordPress the code and WordPress the heavily retarded unless you pay hosted blogging service. Those who use WordPress.com either have no interest in WordPress.org code, are too mentally challenged to know what code is, or too poor or tight arsed to spend $5 a month (and often less) for hosting and $8.99 per year for a domain name. In none of these scenarios is water added to dilute anything.
But the conflict between the benevolent arm and the evil empire does highlight one point that should be made: WordPress.org should be hived off, or alternatively forked off from Automattic. There is a continuing and clear conflict of interest between Automattic’s commercial interests, and WordPress’ development as a free and open source blog CMS. One needs to look no further than how Automattic’s commercial decisions are constantly imposed on the WordPress (.org) community: one minute it’s sponsored links in templates, then it’s trying to force template and plugin designers to release their work under the GPL: it’s the whole the only people who can profit from WordPress is us thing, and that’s why there should be, and needs to be change.