Is WordPress.com hurting the WordPress brand? Mark Jaquith seems to think so, and I’m inclined to agree with him.
Here’s a snippet of his reasoning…
I got a tip that Chris Anderson’s upcoming book Free has the following to say about WordPress:
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.
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.
It seems that Chris Anderson has confused WordPress the software, with WordPress.com the hosted blog service, and he’s not alone.
I’ve seen many people comment on the limitations of WordPress when they were really talking about WordPress.com. Not a LOT (that I’ve seen), but certainly enough to show that there is a problem.
Chris Garrett posted today on blogherald.com about it, and also agrees there is a definite issue that should be resolved, though he isn’t sure how. Here’s what he has to say on the topic…
Now if you support the idea that WordPress.com is causing confusion for the WordPress brand, and I think many people will agree that it is, what to do about it?
Well, it is not like all those thousands of *.WordPress.com sites are going to be happily redirected to new domains. I can only think that rebranding the software would be the (inelegant, or even downright ugly) solution
I’m not really sure what the best way to deal with the problem is. It seems that a rebranding of either the WordPress software itself, or the hosted blog service, would no doubt anger many, and confuse many others for quite some time.
Seems like the WordPress brand is caught of the middle of a cliche about rocks and hard places.