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WordPress is an elegant, well-built content management system built on PHP and MySQL, being available under the GPL License. WordPress is the most popular and the most used CMS on the internet. As of August 2011, it manages more than 22% of all websites. It was launched in 2003 and was the successor of b2/cafelog. Until December 2011, the open-source version of WordPress has been downloaded over 65 million times.
Development of WordPress as a CMS started back in 2001. It was then just a simple code piece which hadn’t had any facilities for users. By 2001 the work on b2 had stopped, however, after the release of WordPress, the work on b2/cafelog continued and the CMS is still being updated regularly. WordPress started as a simple and basic blogging system but has evolved to something anyone couldn’t have imagined. WordPress went public as a CMS in 2003 when Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WP, and Mike Little used and configured the b2 CMS and created WordPress. While it was an amazing introduction, no one believed it will revolutionize the industry. WordPress started to spread with the appearance of plugins (in 2004) and the new themes system, a new user role system and a new backend user-interface, all of this happening in 2005. After these radical improvements, WordPress became the most user-friendly content management system ever. The major improvement of 2005, called “Duke”, was followed by another massive update in 2007. This time the developers introduced a lot of small but really needed functions to WordPress. Some of them included: a new UI, autosave, spell check, tagging, custom URLs and widgets. The same year, Matt Mullenweg was given the title of “one of the 50 most important people on the web” . The next four years have been only positive for WordPress as a content management system. It got better over-all improvements on parts like widgets, theme installer and new APIs. WordPress was by now, the most used CMS on the internet.
Automattic is a web development company founded in 2005 by Matt Mullenweg. It is best known for the WordPress.com blogging system. At the moment, Automattic owns many WordPress-related services which are very popular in the market. Some of them are: PollDaddy, BuddyPress, Akismet and others. Automattic has been so successful in the last years, that there have even been rumors that Automattic will be bought by Microsoft. Automattic is a world-wide company having team members in Asia, Australia, Europe, South and North America.
WordPress.org is an open source CMS which is available for free download and all kind of possible customization. You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to configuring the self-hosted version of WordPress. WordPress.com is a blog hosting provider owned by Automattic, a company created by Matt Mullenweg. It was opened to beta testers on August 8, 2005 with an invitation-based system, until 21 November 2005 when it opened its “gates” to public. It is powered by the open source version of WordPress and is supported financially by adverts, upgrades and plans. As of March 2012, there are 71 million individual blogs and the Alexa Rank for WordPress.com is set at 18, according to Alexa. In 2011, WordPress.com had to sustain the largest DDoS attack which luckily was neutralized that day. Since August 2007, WordPress.com was blocked in Turkey and China. It is also threatened to be blocked in Brazil because the staff didn’t want to censor and delete blogs.
WordPress is a completely customizable, advanced and easy to understand CMS. It is reported that 22 percent of all new websites and 14.7 percent of the “top 1 million” websites are being managed by WordPress. Add-ons for WordPress are being extremely popular as well. Free WordPress themes from the official depository count over 46 million downloads. There are almost 20.000 pieces and about 300 million downloads of free plugins. At the moment, there are more Premium Themes for WordPress than there are for Joomla! and Drupal together. Many online companies understood the power and spreading of WP, that’s why they have created plugins which would make their service more compatible and easier to use. WordPress is no longer a simple blogging tool. When someone says WordPress, it’s not necessarily the blog concept coming in mind. It is now everything, from a shop to forum and all of these are being built so well, because of this easy but really powerful CMS called WordPress. Now, it is not only about CMS. There is an amazing evolving community behind WP. They are willing to help you on the free WordPress forums, and meet you in one of the hundred WordCamp meetings organized all over the world. Apart from WP.com, WordPress is also used by blog hosting providers such as Blog.com and Blogetery.com
After the release of WordPress 3.0, developers reported that the team took a release cycle off from the WP software to focus more on expanding and improving the product. In 2013, WordPress will celebrate its 10th birthday, which sounds amazing. This proves how much work has been put into it and how many people liked it. Because of the incredible success of Automattic and its financial possibilities, I doubt that the open-source version of WordPress will ever become a paid product. In the last few years, WordPress market has evolved so much, that it now has lots of dedicated marketplaces which sell either WP themes only, or the main focus is set on WordPress files. With the correct approach from the developers and community, WP will continue to grow more and more and there aren’t doubts that many more websites will be converted to WordPress pretty soon because of WP’s ease of use. Developers have already told us what we should expect in the next versions of WordPress. Some of the options will be: Theme Customizer with Previewe, Flexible Custom Header Sizes and Selecting Custom Header and Background Images from Media Library.
Because of the success of Automattic, and its amazing products, I don’t see anyone buying the open-source version of WordPress or even the company itself. Akismet, WordPress Premium, VIP Support, VideoPress, VaultPress and other successful Automattic products, keep the company active. All these services together bring a nice amount of money, and while no exact numbers are given, we can happily assume that we are talking about millions. The income received by the company is enough to update and work on their products and also have a decent income which won’t make the company look for buyers or even consider buying proposals.
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