Home WordPress Takes On SixApart With Enterprise Edition and WordPress.com

WordPress Takes On SixApart With Enterprise Edition and WordPress.com

While I was in San Francisco I sat down to talk to Toni Schneider, CEO of Automattic Inc – the company set up to leverage the
popular open source blogging tool WordPress. One
of their main projects is WordPress.com, described as “a more limited version of
WordPress that is hosted and completely maintained.” It’s pretty much the equivalent of
TypePad, the hosted blogging service offered by Automattic’s main competitor

KnowNow WordPress Enterprise Edition

The competition with SixApart was stepped up today when Toni announced
on his blog a partnership with enterprise RSS vendor KnowNow, for a new product called KnowNow WordPress Enterprise Edition
(KWEE). It’s an enterprise version of WordPress and comes just a month after SixApart
announced Movable Type Enterprise 1.5, which we profiled on
. Toni told me that KWEE is an enterprise package of WordPress MU (the
multi-user version of WordPress) – with additional enterprise functionality bundled in.
So for example KWEE comes with LDAP, Automattic’s spam solution Akismet and a stats
package. KnowNow will market the product to their existing base of enterprise customers –
and any improvements that KnowNow makes to the WordPress product itself, will be released
back as open source.

I asked Toni will it be a hosted service? He said it will be available as both a
hosted service (by KnowNow) or customers can install it on their own servers.

Stats about WordPress.com

As far as WordPress.com goes, Toni reeled off some impressive stats. It gets 18
million unique visitors per month and 70 M page views. There are over 480,000 blogs
hosted on wordpress.com. He also said there are an estimated 1-2 million WordPress
installations that are self-hosted. Toni told me the fact that wordpress.com is ad-free
is a big part of the reason why people use it.

Comparison to Typepad

I asked Toni how wordpress.com compares to Typepad. He said that Typepad has similar
traffic to wp.com, although he says wp.com is about to pass Typepad (at least according
to Alexa). Here is the latest Alexa chart:

Toni said there is a developer ecosystem around wordpress, which was done
without putting commercialism around it – e.g. he notes that themes have links back to
the designers. He also told me there is a lot of innovation happening in the wordpress
platform in general – for example the plugins. The fact that WordPress.org is open source
is also a factor in the growth of the product, said Toni.

Of course you will hear a different story from SixApart, but my general impression is
that WordPress has the advantage in innovation – but TypePad is seen as a slicker and
more user-friendly product for the masses.

International Expansion

One of the more interesting aspects of wordpress.com is its international usage. While
english is the number 1 language used, there are a multitude of other languages supported – and WordPress
users are encouraged to translate more.
Spanish is the second most popular language currently – and indeed 4 of the top 10
Wordpress.com blogs are Spanish.

But while international support is expanding, WordPress isn’t immune to the problems
of operating in China – where WordPress is blocked.

WordPress Widgets

One of the more promising areas of growth in WordPress is widgets, or mini web apps
that WordPress users can plug into their blog. As of now there are 247 widgets. Around 15-20 of these are available
in the wordpress.com service. Toni told me that most widgets are created by external
developers. Basically this involves developing a WordPress plugin and then widgetizing it
in an HTML wrapper.


It’s pretty plain that Automattic is taking on SixApart with both the Enterprise
Edition and the continued growth and expansion of wordpress.com. Right now SixApart has
the lead in marketing and probably resources, but WordPress is a strong innovator and has
an open source platform to attract developers. This little battle is far from over and
it’ll be interesting to watch it unfold!

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