WPTavern: Micro.blog Project Surges Past $65K on Kickstarter, Gains Backing from DreamHost

With one week remaining on its Kickstarter campaign, the Micro.blog indie microblogging project has surged past its original $10K funding goal with $66,710 pledged by 2,381 backers. This puts project creator Manton Reece closer to his stretch goal of $80K, which would enable him to develop a Safe Replies feature to preemptively combat abuse on the platform and hire a part-time community manager.

Micro.blog also picked up support from DreamHost this week, pushing the project past the $50K mark. The hosting company pledged $5,000 towards the campaign.

“What ever happened to the vision of the open web as a distributed network of websites that were owned by their creators?” said Jonathan LaCour, SVP of Product and Technology at DreamHost. “We’d like to make it as easy as possible to launch a WordPress-powered microblog on DreamHost that integrates well with Manton’s upcoming Micro.blog service.”

DreamHost (and all other hosting companies) obviously have a vested interest in getting people to see the need to have their own digital presence. However, the biggest obstacle for WordPress customers is making it convenient to join the IndieWeb. DreamHost is planning to take its support of Micro.blog one step further and create an easy way for customers to get started with independent microblogs.

“As a followup to our contribution to Manton’s Kickstarter campaign, we’re planning on working on making a streamlined, pre-configured Indie microblog with WordPress at DreamHost,” LaCour said in the #indieweb channel on IRC yesterday. “I tend to agree that a simplified, pre-packaged WordPress setup would go a long way to driving Indieweb adoption.”

When asked whether the company would be utilizing Micro.blog or some other service, LaCour said it has not been decided yet. He said the idea is that people could create an independent microblog hosted at DreamHost that is compatible with Micro.blog and other indie microblogs.

“Our major focus at the moment is getting people excited about owning their own website (and entire digital identity),” LaCour said.

Micro.blog is Aiming for Incremental Webmention Support

Webmention is a protocol similar to pingback for notifying a URL when a website links to it and also for requesting notifications when another site mentions one of your URLs. It is an important part of facilitating decentralized communication across the web. On January 12, 2017, the Social Web Working Group published a W3C Recommendation of Webmention with the specification contributed by the IndieWeb community.

WordPress doesn’t natively offer Webmention support and the core trac ticket for adding the feature has had little discussion.

During a preliminary discussion on Slack last year, WordPress lead developer Dion Hulse said he thought Webmentions would be a great feature plugin and that there are a few people interested in it. There hasn’t been much movement on this front in core, but a Webmention plugin is available in the directory.

Reece is working on incorporating IndieWeb protocols into Micro.blog but said it will likely launch with incremental support for Webmention.

“It might take a little while to get everything IndieWeb in there, but that’s the eventual goal,” Reece said. “I’m committed to Micropub and microformats and still exploring how best to support Webmention. (It might be partial support with more later.)”

Micro.blog doesn’t currently handle mentions and replies using Webmention but Reece said his eventual goal is to include it.

“The first step to me is getting more people their own microblog so that the infrastructure for cross-site replies is even possible,” Reece said.

Micro.blog Puts the Focus on Indie Microblogging, Instead of Replacing Twitter

Reece also launched a Slack community where the project’s backers can discuss Micro.blog and other microblogging topics. He said he initially had reservations with starting something on Slack but was surprised to see the community has already grown to more than 300 members.

“I didn’t want to distract from any posts that should happen in the open on blogs,” Reece said. “Some discussion just fits better in chat, though. There’s an emerging community of indie microbloggers. Having a place to share tips, tools, and ask questions about Micro.blog just makes sense.”

Many of the project’s backers are eager to create a community of their own and are interested in using Micro.blog as a Twitter replacement. Other services have attempted to provide alternatives to posting directly on Twitter but none have caught on enough to significantly push IndieWeb adoption forward. App.net, one of the most promising ad-free, microblogging networks, went into maintenance mode in 2014 and will be shutting down March 15, 2017.

Reece, who was an early fan of App.net, published a thank you note to the service’s creators for trying something risky and creating a community around their ideas. He believes it’s the right time for another open platform to emerge.

“We don’t need just another Twitter or Facebook clone,” Reece said. “We need a new platform that encourages blogging on the open web.”

Nevertheless, Reece is preparing Micro.blog from the outset to be capable of replacing Twitter’s functionality, which is one of the reasons he is focusing so heavily on ensuring the platform doesn’t get overrun with abuse. Reece wants to avoid the pitfalls that have contributed to some of the more negative aspects of Twitter, but his focus is on encouraging people to blog from their own space.

“Micro.blog is a success if more people blog,” Reece said. “To provide value it doesn’t need to replace Twitter, but it can.”

The project’s mobile app is key to making it convenient for users to read other people’s posts and post directly to their own websites from the same interface. Reece shared another preview of the iPhone and iPad app that will be ready at launch and said he hopes there will be other apps developed by the community.

“Most RSS traditional readers can’t post,” Reece said. “I think this makes for a more complete experience, and because it’s just a blog I can still use other apps and platforms to post.” He plans to give Micro.blog a 280 character limit before truncating the post.

Keeping the timeline fast and making posting convenient will be critical to the platform’s success as an alternative to the dominant social media silos. Polling blogs for new content is not very aggressive in the current prototype but Reece is tuning this to provide a better experience. The platform uses rssCloud and WebSub (formerly PubSubHubbub) to provide a more Twitter-like, real-time experience.

Micro.blog seems to be landing at the right time, as the idea has already resonated with more than 2,300 people willing to back the project. The service hasn’t even launched but the concept behind it is already attracting a supportive community eager to explore better ways of powering microblogging on the web.

“You don’t replace Twitter overnight, or even try to,” Reece said. “But step by step, we’re going to end up with a better web, and I think independent microblogging is part of that.”

Source: planet

Dev Blog: WordPress 4.7.2 Security Release

WordPress 4.7.2 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

WordPress versions 4.7.1 and earlier are affected by three security issues:

  1. The user interface for assigning taxonomy terms in Press This is shown to users who do not have permissions to use it. Reported by David Herrera of Alley Interactive.
  2. WP_Query is vulnerable to a SQL injection (SQLi) when passing unsafe data. WordPress core is not directly vulnerable to this issue, but we’ve added hardening to prevent plugins and themes from accidentally causing a vulnerability. Reported by Mo Jangda (batmoo).
  3. A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability was discovered in the posts list table. Reported by Ian Dunn of the WordPress Security Team.

Thank you to the reporters of these issues for practicing responsible disclosure.

Download WordPress 4.7.2 or venture over to Dashboard → Updates and simply click “Update Now.” Sites that support automatic background updates are already beginning to update to WordPress 4.7.2.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to 4.7.2.

Source: planet

HeroPress: Screw the Blueprint. Design Your Own Path to Fulfillment.

Pull Quote: I wasn't following the blueprint, but I was having success and felt secure in the ways that mattered to me.

Growing up, I bought into society’s notion of what made for a successful and rewarding life. For me, the blueprint for finding fulfillment looked something like this:

Step 1. Get good grades in school.

Step 2. Attend a nice college.

Step 3. Land a secure job with an attractive salary and benefits.

Step 4. Find a nice man that would make a good husband and father…and marry him.

Step 5. Have children.

Step 6. Die peacefully at an old age. (ha!)

I was convinced that if I simply followed this blueprint, I’d find security and acceptance. And with the exception of Step #6 (a step I’m hoping to postpone for some time), I was able to accomplish everything I’d set out to do. My grades in school were outstanding, which set me up to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois. After graduating in 2000, I was presented with several job opportunities. Ultimately, I accepted a position at Procter & Gamble as an engineer for Charmin. Within a year of starting that job, I met my future husband. We married in 2004 and had our first child in 2007. Another child followed in 2008. I was right on track with my blueprint!

And then everything fell apart.

A breakdown wasn’t in the plan

In 2008, I suffered my first real breakdown. I spent several weeks doing my best to get through each day, doing what I needed to as an employee, wife, and mom and trying hard not to let other people down. I fought back tears when I needed to, only letting them flow in private. While the kids were sleeping, I’d escape into the world of TV sitcoms. I knew that something wasn’t right.

While I had followed the blueprint for security, success, and happiness, I didn’t feel like I had achieved any of these things. I felt isolated at work. At home, I felt valued only if I were functioning as the perfect wife and mom. At the time, the solution seemed clear—quit my corporate job and focus 100% on my family. This, I was certain, would lead to ultimate happiness. So I took two extended maternity leaves, eventually leaving the corporate world to focus on being a stay-at-home mom.

Who the hell am I?

Being home with kids full-time, no matter how wonderful your kids may be, is by far the most challenging job. While I was grateful that I had the choice to be a stay-at-home-mom, being at home left me feeling alienated. I didn’t really know who I was anymore or how to get back to “myself.”

So I started experimenting with things I simply felt like doing. These things weren’t part of any blueprint, and there was no guarantee of success or happiness. I just followed my heart.

I needed something challenging to occupy my mind, so I dug out my sports card collection with the intent of finally organizing it. Looking through my old cards felt both nostalgic and therapeutic, and my head started spinning with other ideas. Business ideas. My dad had a successful e-bay business that seemed like a bit of fun, so I thought: why not try selling sports cards on e-bay? I didn’t want to sacrifice my personal collection, so over the course of a few months, I purchased nearly a million sports cards on Craigslist. After repackaging them into 1000-count boxes, I sold them for $10/box, doubling my money in a short period of time. I learned a lot about buying and selling on the Internet but more importantly, I felt like I had discovered something that was really “me.” It was challenging in a new and exciting way, and it fit in with my hectic mom schedule.

This venture into the world of online business opened my eyes in a significant way. I started following entrepreneurs such as Gary Vaynerchuk and Chris Brogan, and flew to Houston for a Mom 2.0 Summit. I loved every blog post I read and all the people I was meeting. It was a whole new world filled with risk and uncertainty but grounded in the values of helping people and living a good life. THIS WAS PERFECT FOR ME.

And then came WordPress

In my newfound fascination with all things Internet-related, it wasn’t surprising that I stumbled upon this thing called WordPress. I had always wanted to build a website, and with the popularity of mom bloggers exploding, I naturally gravitated toward this “easy” platform for my blog. I started the ChicagoActons blog as a way to share our family adventures with others. Building the site was something I enjoyed more than I anticipated. It fed my love of problem solving and I felt great satisfaction in seeing something that I built on the Internet. And I could do it in between changing dirty diapers and cuddling with my kids.

After building ChicagoActons and sharing it via social channels, I started to get requests to build sites for others. Some were paid assignments and some were not, but I was falling in love with using this tool and my brain to help others further efforts they were passionate about. I was finding myself again, and I felt happy.

Where were WordCamps all my life?

By 2010, two years into freelance WordPress development, I was ready to expand my horizons and see what others were doing with the platform. I heard about WordCamp Chicago, and bought a ticket to the event that would confirm that the path I was paving was the right one for me.

At WordCamp Chicago 2010, I learned a great deal about developing with WordPress, but even more life changing were the people I met. They were such a diverse group and so different than I was, yet we all shared the same passion: to support one another in our pursuits to help others. And we all used WordPress as the tool to get the job done.

The feeling of acceptance and growth that I experienced at my first WordCamp was the impetus I needed to continue down the path as a WordPress-based business entrepreneur. I wasn’t following a blueprint anymore, but I was finding success and security in ways that mattered to me.

I was happy.

Living my own blueprint

Fast-forward to today. I couldn’t be more thankful for the life journey I’m on. My kids survived having me as a stay-at-home parent, and as a WordPress-based business entrepreneur, I feel challenged every day to be better at helping others build their passion-driven interests. I would not have gotten here had it not been for WordPress and the WordPress community, which emboldened me to abandon a blueprint for happiness that simply wasn’t working for me and instead embrace life on my own terms.

The post Screw the Blueprint. Design Your Own Path to Fulfillment. appeared first on HeroPress.

Source: planet

WPTavern: WordCamp Europe 2017 to Experiment with Sponsors Workshops

WordCamp Europe 2017 opened its call for sponsors at the end of 2016. The organizing team is embracing the challenge of delivering value to sponsors with workshops for those purchasing the two highest sponsorship levels:

This year, for the first time, we are introducing a third track during both conference days. The third track will be solely dedicated to sponsors, giving you the possibility to either hold a talk or a workshop. Like the other two tracks, the sponsor track will have a dedicated space (capacity for approx. 200 people), where the audience would have the opportunity to hear more about your business and product. You can decide whether you would like to use your time to talk more about your business, or to showcase.

The sponsors track has since been renamed to sponsors workshops, but the concept of a dedicated track remains the same. According to WCEU Sponsors Team coordinator Noel Tock, WordCamp Central’s transition into a public benefet corporation affords WordCamps more flexibility than previously allowed.

“This means we’d like to experiment with different concepts — seeking a higher return on investment for sponsors whilst at the same time protecting the core experience of the WordCamp itself,” Tock said.

The new sponsors workshops target large companies, but WCEU organizers have also created a new concept for small businesses. Those that made less than one million Euro in 2016 will qualify for an affordable booth in the middle of the event.

“Similar to TechCrunch’s Startup Alley, we want to help highlight smaller companies or ones that have just started out,” Tock said. “Simply seeking out sponsorship funds the fastest way possible would not be fair to attendees. This helps makes the conversations and experiences a lot more diverse and balanced.”

The sponsors workshops will not need to go through an approval process. They are perks belonging to the Super Admin and Admin sponsorship tiers and these top-level sponsors will have different options for how they want to use their slots.

“They can run user workshops, pass on their slot to smaller players (plugin and theme authors) or find other creative session ideas,” Tock said. “The workshops will be clearly labeled and we’ll seek to provide an agenda/schedule on the same timeline as regular speakers.”

The Challenge of Delivering Value to Sponsors Without Stifling the Spirit of WordCamps

WordCamps are traditionally locally-organized, informal events that bring together attendees from all walks of life. Affordability is one of the hallmarks of a WordCamp, and ticket prices normally range from $20-50. The low cost of entry makes the events more inclusive, keeping the camps from becoming relegated only to elites and those who work for large companies. At a WordCamp, one can meet anyone – core developers, educators, CEOs of multi-million dollar companies, new users, developers, bloggers, and e-commerce store owners.

To give you an idea of how uncommonly low WordCamp ticket prices are in comparison to other tech conferences, DrupalCon ranges from $450-600 per person. PHP UK tickets for the conference days are in the neighborhood of $500 and PHP[World] is nearly double that at $900. CSSconf EU tickets are $430. ReactEurope, which is also being held in Paris, released its first round of tickets in the range of $680. WordCamp Europe tickets are €40.00 (approximately $43) because the vast majority of the cost of attendance is subsidized by sponsors.

Now that WordCamp Europe has been running successfully for five years, Tock said it is easier to get sponsors on board. Sponsorship cost per attendee is one of the contributing factors. In 2016 WordCamp Europe sold 2,199 tickets and organizers expect to sell more than 3,000 this year.

“If you compare the perks and size of the audience, you’ll find that WordCamp Europe can be anywhere from 20% to 50% cheaper then comparable WordCamps,” Tock said. “The bang for buck has meant we have a lot of returning sponsors.”

However, as WCEU attendance and the event’s financial requirements have grown, so has the challenge to deliver value to sponsors who are contributing greater sums of money.

“Asking potential sponsors for a few thousand a couple years back was easy enough,” Tock said. “Now that we’re looking for 50k+ Euros from certain sponsors, we need to up our game with it. This means early communication, well-defined packages, and more creative perks.” This year those perks include 360° booths, 30-second ads between talks, after-party branding, and the new sponsor workshops.

I spoke to several other organizers of comparably large WordCamps and all of them were intrigued by the idea of sponsor workshops and interested to see how the experiment turns out.

“I think on the surface it could be considered a controversial idea, but in reality it’s just giving sponsors a different kind of voice,” WordCamp Miami organizer David Bisset said. “If it’s done in a way that treats all sponsors fairly and is a voluntary track, then in some ways it doesn’t differ from a sponsor area, outside of narrowing the spotlight.”

Bisset said he’s interested to see how successful this approach is but notes that it probably would only work for the largest WordCamps.

“I honestly don’t know which side of the fence this lies on in regards the spirit of WordCamps,” Bisset said. “There have been controversial issues and challenges regarding sponsors and WordCamps in the past. It’s a challenge to give sponsors the most bang for their buck, treat everyone fairly, and be a model WordCamp. The jury is still out.”

WordPress Orlando organizer Lisa Melegari thinks the idea of sponsor workshops may bring some legitimacy to what is known as the “hallway track,” where attendees congregate when not attending a session.

“I think it’s a really interesting concept,” Melegari said. “There’s already the joke out there that there’s a phantom extra track at most WordCamps – the Hallway Track. I think this would take that and actually give some legitimacy to the myth.”

Melegari said WordCamp Orlando organizers have seen a significant shift in sponsor availability and enthusiasm in the past few years, especially after WordCamp US launched. She said their local camp lost several past sponsors to the larger WordCamp US. Other sponsors have decided to just focus on local camps and some have dropped sponsorship altogether.

“I really think we need to give our sponsors more opportunity to benefit their businesses, since their success allows them to continue to support our camps,” Melegari said. “Is it worth an entire extra track? Maybe not. That would put an unfair burden on camps that already have difficulty getting space and could deter sponsors from supporting a camp that cannot offer that accommodation.”

Melegari said she likes the idea of allowing sponsors to have a more prominent demo opportunity as long as it doesn’t overshadow the speakers, who volunteer their time.

“Having been a speaker with a very low attendance at a few talks, it’s disheartening, but understandable that another speaker’s talk is more popular,” she said. “I would be afraid the sponsor track would take away the spotlight on speakers.” From an organizer’s perspective, she is interested to see how sponsor workshops can deliver a better value for sponsorship.

“We really do need to provide a better case for WordCamp sponsorship besides exposure, because many of our recurring sponsors have a smaller and smaller pool of new eyes every camp,” Melegari said. “If we are going to keep growing in camp numbers, we’re going to have to figure out something to keep all the camps financially afloat.”

Alx Block, WordCamp US 2015-16 Organizer, understands the importance of sponsors and volunteers, who covered the bulk of the $516 actual cost per person for the most recent event.

“I think that we’re at an impasse when it comes to adding value for sponsors, especially at the larger camps,” Block said. “On the one hand, each sponsorship is really a scholarship for attendees, allowing each camp to greatly reduce the ticket price so that more people can attend and get value from the camp. On the other hand, there’s limited value for the sponsors in terms of ROI. We’ve never thought of it as a business investment, but it’s certainly time to think about that more.”

Keeping ticket prices low, putting on a quality event, and offering an array of perks for sponsorship is a tremendous balancing act for organizers. WordCamp Europe is one of fastest-growing camps that has experimented with doing this at a larger scale every year.

“When you get into the larger dollar amounts that larger camps ask, it’s a different kind of ballgame, and I think that we need to revisit the value that a business receives as part of their sponsorship,” Block said.

“I think something like sponsor workshops is a really neat idea. I can imagine that it doesn’t come with much overhead in terms of actual planning, and will give the sponsors something solid that they can plan for in terms of being able to pitch their product or service.”

Historically, workshops have been events that are ancillary to the main tracks. WordCamp Europe’s plan to run them alongside speaker sessions is a bold experiment. Sponsors will have a great deal of flexibility with how they can utilize their workshop slots, so it will be interesting to see if they choose to incentivize attendance in some way or opt to pass them along to other speakers as a sponsored talk.

“I think there’s a line between a sponsor ‘track’ and sponsor ‘workshops,’ which WCEU hasn’t clearly defined yet,” Block said. “I’m sure that their intention isn’t to have 1/3 of the talks be by people who paid to be there. From what I understand, the intention is to have the top-tier sponsors (maybe 4-6 of them) present on a smaller stage in a kind of rolling fashion, to supplement the full tracks – meaning, it would be a great place for an attendee to go during a time when neither of the other sessions appeals to them, or they’re interested in learning more about a specific product.”

Block said he has seen this type of sponsor perk at other non-WordPress conferences and has sat in on sessions that piqued his interest.

“But this is the real question in my mind: Can we offer something like this without turning WordCamps into a trade show?” Block said.

“I think now that we’re growing so much with these large camps, it’s the perfect time to ask these questions and figure out exactly what type of event WordCamp is. We grow as the community grows, and WordCamp should always reflect the community’s interest. If there’s interest in giving sponsors a place to talk about their wares, I’m all about it, but I’d always want the community to come first.”

Source: planet

WPTavern: Wix Removes GPL-Licensed WordPress Code from Mobile App, Forks Original MIT Library

photo credit: winterofdiscontentcc

In October 2016, Matt Mullenweg called out Wix for using GPL-licensed code from the WordPress mobile app and distributing it in its proprietary app. After identifying a path for Wix to comply with the license, Mullenweg confirmed he would be willing to go to court to protect the GPL.

Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami’s response to the allegations failed to address the issue of licensing, dodging the question with references to other open source contributions. Abrahami seemed to indicate that Wix would open source its mobile app but was not clear whether it would be GPL licensed:

“We always shared and admired your commitment to give back, which is exactly why we have those 224 open source projects, and thousands more bugs/improvements available to the open source community and we will release the app you saw as well,” Abrahami said.

The Wix Twitter account also gave the impression that the entire app would be released under the GPL:

Publicly communicating these intentions bought the company time to educate its developers on the implications of the GPL and find another path forward for the app.

The app has not been released under the GPL and Wix has discontinued development on the GPL-licensed repositories. On November 1, 2016, Wix changed the license on the react-native-wordpress-editor, the repository that was forked from the WordPress mobile app, to GPLv2. The next day, they began work on react-native-zss-rich-text-editor, a new repository forked from the original MIT-licensed library that the WordPress mobile app code built upon.

It appears that Wix never planned on complying with the GPL, since the company immediately began working on an alternative approach. Wix has since released updates to its mobile apps and presumably has incorporated its own editor component that is based on the original MIT-licensed library.

It is not clear whether Wix completely started over with its fork or if the company’s developers incorporated some of the commits previously made in the WordPress mobile app’s GPL-licensed fork. Wix has not responded to numerous attempts to contact them for an official statement.

Wix Invents Its Own “Enhanced” MIT License for the Forked Library

Here’s where the story takes an odd turn. Instead of distributing the new editor code under a standard open source library, Wix has written its own license, which it is calling the “Enhanced” MIT license (EMIT). It explicitly prohibits relicensing under the GPL and requires the developer to license modifications under the EMIT:

This license is exactly like the MIT License, with one exception – Any distribution of this source code or any modification thereof in source code format, must be done under the Enhanced MIT license and not under any other licenses, such as GPL.

Furthermore, the license prohibits the code being redistributed under any copyleft license:

when the Software is distributed as source code, the licensee is prohibited to change the license of the Software to any “viral” copyleft-type license, such as, inter alia: GPL, LGPL, EPL, MPL, etc.

Wix explained the reason behind the creation of the new license in its introduction, citing what it calls a “bug” in the MIT license. The MIT permits developers to re-license their modifications as GPL. The text of the “Enhanced” MIT license characterizes this practice as bullying:

We believe MIT license has a bug since it allows others to use it against its nature. Our belief is that the MIT license is intended to make source code available to anyone who wants to use it without additional obligations, but we have found cases where someone takes a project licensed under MIT license, adds a few lines of source code to it, and then changes the licensing to a different, more restrictive license which is against the nature and the intent of the MIT license. By doing so, the source code released under the original MIT is no longer a true “free/open” source code, thus undermining the intention of the original creator of the source code.

The concept of this Enhanced MIT license is simple and more robust – you can do what you want with this source code, exactly like any other MIT license, but if you release it again as open source (even if modified), you must release it under this Enhanced MIT license – to be clear, this is not a “viral” license, it only refers to the actual source code released under this license and not to other components interacting with it. If GPL is a viral license, this license can be described as a “robust” one as it prevents licensing changes that are against its nature and it defends its own licensing principles. The essence of the Enhanced MIT license is to prevent bullies from using open source code that is truly free and open under the MIT License and turning it into other viral and more restrictive licenses – such as GPL.

The license has only ever been used in this particular instance and does not appear to have been written by a lawyer or someone who has studied copyright and licensing issues professionally. I contacted the Free Software Foundation’s licensing and compliance team regarding the legitimacy of Wix’s “Enhanced” MIT license. FSF copyright and licensing associate Donald Robertson III said the team is currently reviewing it and may require legal counsel before making a definitive comment. When they have completed the review, they will publish a statement and list the license in the FSF directory of free and non-free software licenses. These are also broken down into copyleft and GPL-compatible classifications.

“As you can see from the GPL-incompatible licenses, there are plenty of free software licenses that are incompatible with the GPL, and many of those licenses would be incompatible with other copyleft licenses on the same basis,” Robertson said. “So it is possible for a license to be free even if it doesn’t work well with the GPL. We’ll have to do some review on this particular license before we can make any comment specific to it.”

Wix has not submitted its EMIT license to the Open Source Initiative, a community-recognized organization that acts as stewards of the Open Source Definition (OSD) and also reviews and approves licenses as OSD-conformant. OSI has not yet responded to my inquiry about the legitimacy of the license, but I spoke with Karl Fogel, an open source specialist who consults with organizations on open source licensing and the implications of using it in business.

“This so-called ‘Enhanced MIT’ license is poorly drafted and internally inconsistent,” Fogel said. “I feel on safe ground in saying that were it ever submitted to the OSI for approval, it would be rejected quickly.”

Fogel also commented on the inherent contradictions in the license’s introduction and permissions.

“An obvious internal inconsistency is that in the Introduction, it says that redistribution in source code format ‘must be done under the Enhanced MIT license and not under any other licenses, such as GPL,’” Fogel said. “But then later, in point (2) of the conditional permissions grant, it says ‘when the Software is distributed as source code, the licensee is prohibited to change the license of the Software to any ‘viral’ copyleft-type license, such as, inter alia: GPL, LGPL, EPL, MPL, etc.’

“So the Introduction is saying that redistribution is not permitted under any other open source license, but then the permissions grant section only bars redistribution under copyleft licenses, leaving open the possibility to distribute under other non-copyleft licenses. Which is it?”

According to OSI, copyleft “refers to licenses that allow derivative works but require them to use the same license as the original work.” In requiring the EMIT to be used for derivative works, the license adopts the viral nature Wix ostensibly wanted to avoid with the GPL. This emasculates the MIT, robbing it of its essential freedoms. For this reason and many others, the EMIT appears to be an illegitimate variant of the MIT.

“A larger issue is that the reasoning in the Introduction about how the standard MIT license supposedly has a ‘bug’ makes no sense,” Fogel said. ” It asserts that redistribution under an open source copyleft license would somehow be more restrictive than not doing source redistribution at all (e.g., as with a standard proprietary license). There is no sensible definition of the word ‘restrictive; in which releasing code under a copyleft license would restrict someone’s use of that code more than not having the code in the first place would restrict them.”

Fogel does not think the EMIT is a valid derivative of the MIT license and is not convinced that it can be considered a license at all.

“It is very clear that a lawyer did not write this license,” Fogel said. “I think Abrahami must have written it himself. I hesitate to even call it a license; it’s not clear what a judge would do with it, except perhaps sell tickets.”

Wix’s EMIT License is a Hostile Reaction to the Call for GPL Compliance

The EMIT license not only takes shots at the GPL but also injects a moral pronouncement against all those who subscribe to the tenets of copyleft licensing. The restrictions in the EMIT effectively “weaponize the license” against other open source projects, as one Reddit user said in acomment on the situation. This encompasses a large portion of the open source community.

Wix may not be able to publicly admit its violation of the GPL, as it has not yet answered for the past infringement of distributing the code in its mobile app. In looking back over the timeline of events, Wix’s public communication that implied it would comply with the GPL was disingenuous, as the team was scrambling behind the scenes to fork the original library and slap a new “anti-copyleft” license on it. The company has no respect for the GPL and, in fact, has communicated its disdain for the license in the language of its new EMIT license.

“I remember reading this exchange when it happened,” Fogel said. “This is not a case of gray areas or ‘the truth lies somewhere in the middle.’ Matt Mullenweg of WordPress is 100% right, and Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami is, quite simply, wrong. Mullenweg was extremely direct about what the problem was and how to fix it. Abrahami’s response was an evasive mishmash of brazen non sequiturs and willful refusal to acknowledge Mullenweg’s point, which was simply that if Wix is going to use WordPress code that is distributed under the GNU General Public License, then Wix has to follow the terms of the GPL like anyone else.

“Abrahami’s poor behavior could only have been intentional,” Fogel said. “I just don’t see any other way to interpret it, given how easy to understand Mullenweg’s letter is, and how clear the issues are here.”

Wix’s illegal use of GPL code in a proprietary app could easily be chalked up to ignorance or an oversight if the company had simply attempted to comply. Instead, they wrote a license that swipes back at copyleft proponents everywhere. The EMIT actually manages to trivialize both the GPL and the MIT in one fell swoop.

“The GPL is not a disease,” said Lawrence Rosen in a document titled The Unreasonable Fear of Infection. “It is designed to satisfy certain philosophical and economic objectives that are widely shared by many members of the open source community.”

In writing its own “Enhanced” MIT license Wix has demonstrated a careless disregard for open source licensing and hostility towards those who use copyleft licenses to guarantee user freedoms.

Although some onlookers in the open source community disapproved of the two CEO’s handling the disagreement in open letters, there are plenty more who appreciate that the issue is being hammered out in public. Fogel said he hopes the situation “will draw some attention to the fact that the GPL actually means something and can be enforced.”

Source: planet

WPTavern: Obama Foundation Launches New Website Powered by WordPress

The Obama Foundation launched its new WordPress-powered website today. The future presidential center, which will be located in Chicago, will manage projects both in the city and other places around the world.

“More than a library or a museum, it will be a living, working center for citizenship,” President Obama said. “That’s why we want to hear from you. Tell us what you want this project to be and tell us what’s on your mind.”

The website integrates the Typeform service for collecting feedback from citizens on their hopes and dreams, as well as the people and organizations that inspire them.

WordPress developers were excited to see that the former President is using the WP REST API introduced in WordPress 4.7.

The custom theme for the Obama Foundation is built using ZURB’s Foundation as its front-end framework. It integrates the jQuery Cycle Plugin for galleries.

The website was created by Blue State Digital, an agency that got its start on the campaign trail and now focuses on serving causes and brands.

President Obama is the first president to select WordPress for his presidential center website.

Source: planet

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 2.8.0 Beta 1

BuddyPress 2.8.0 Beta 1 is packed with new features and enhancements and is now available for testing. You can download the BP 2.8.0-beta1 zip or get a copy via our Subversion repository. We’d love to have your feedback and testing help.

BuddyPress 2.8.0 requires PHP 5.3+, and will not be activated on a server with a lower version of PHP. We also remind you that BuddyPress 2.8.0 will require at least WordPress 4.3.

A detailed changelog will be part of our official release notes, but, until then, here’s a list of some of our favorite changes. (Check out this report on Trac for the full list.)

  • BP Email: Allow end user to specify which PHPMailer should be used #7286
  • Companion Stylesheet – Twentyseventeen #7338
  • Minimum PHP version is 5.3 #7325#7299
  • Support List-Unsubscribe header in emails #7390
  • Make group search more flexible #7418 and other groups improvements, like #7419#7399#7388#7386#7375
  • Lots of new filters in various parts of the code, like #6667#5193
  • Lots of inline documentation tweaks and other fixes and improvements

BP 2.8.0 is almost ready, but please do not run it in a production environment just yet. Let us know of any issues you find in the support forums and/or development tracker.

Thanks everyone for all your help to date. We are excited to release BuddyPress 2.8.0 in February!

Source: planet

Post Status: Shaping a vision of success

Editor’s note: This guest post is written by Jenny Beaumont, a co-organizer of WordCamp Paris and WordCamp Europe. She’s spent the last two decades building things in and around the web, writes a terrific newsletter, and lives in France.

One of the highlights of my year, and a fitting end to 2016 as my sabbatical drew to a close, was attending the 2nd annual WordCamp US, held December 2-4 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The trip met my expectations in every way, from the warm-hearted nature of the locals to the super-sized portions at every delicious meal, and from the diversity of attendees to all of the extraordinary conversations I had during that short week I was in town.

“You might have noticed that this year’s programming at WordCamp US had some more of a human side, in addition to just the technical that we’ve had before,” said Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress and CEO of Automattic, during his much-anticipated State of the Word.

“I think that a lot of our opportunities to grow over the coming year are on the human side, and understanding the humanity of an open source project and working together and creating the code that’s going to touch humanity as well.”

Moving into 2017, ready for new opportunities and with the next edition of WordCamp Europe on the horizon, I find myself thinking about growth past and present, and about what success might look like for all of us in this new year.

Growth and competition for WordPress

“It’s really all about pie,” replied Mullenweg when asked about the future of a WordPress entrepreneur, stating that as long as the pie continues to grow, everyone can get a piece.

He talked about how the new focuses of the WordPress project—the REST API, the Editor and the Customizer—along with an inclusive design-lead approach, should allow WordPress to reach new audiences.

WordPress has seen incredible growth in recent years, now representing over 27% of websites, a full 20% ahead of competing platforms. This translates to 58.5% market share of all monitored content management systems, when looking at the top 10 million sites.

This doesn’t mean that the competition isn’t trying to close the gap. Mullenweg reported that the top proprietary platforms, such as Squarespace and Wix, spent upwards of 320 million in advertising dollars in 2016, often directly targeting search engine queries for WordPress.

“I think that in the past WordPress got by on a lot of sort marketing by happenstance,” he said, admitting the need to look at the marketing of WordPress in new ways, and hopefully pooling the resources of the community to do so.

“I think we have a real opportunity especially as the businesses around WordPress grow larger and larger, to actually coordinate a bit […] there’s no one company in the WordPress ecosystem that’s large enough to match 300 million dollars, and spend on telling people the WordPress story. But no one company needs to be large enough, because we’re a community.”

All in all, he painted a bright picture for the future for the WordPress ecosystem, the community of people who come together around a common purpose and ideal—the WordPress project and its mission to democratize publishing—and in so doing create a new paradigm for work and the web, the byproduct of which is a flourishing economy.

I can’t help but wonder, how big can the pie get? And while we concentrate on growth and competition, how do we measure the success of our mission? How will we know when we’ve democratized publishing? Can or should WordPress achieve this goal alone?

The numbers game for WordCamps

“We must tilt our hat and bow down to Europe, which beat us this year,” Mullenweg capitulated as he wrapped up his report on community growth, expressed in the number of events and event attendance worldwide.

Growth is an indication that we’re doing something right. An increase in the numbers tells us that more people are interested and getting involved. This is what an open source project needs to reach a wider audience, stay competitive and accomplish its mission: people to make it happen.

But should success be measured solely in numbers? Is it healthy to think that there can be winners and losers when it comes to the success of our community as a whole?

In its first three years, WordCamp Europe grew at a slow and predictable rate. Then last year, for some reason, it exploded. We sold our initial batch of 1500 tickets practically overnight, and ended up selling nearly 2200 tickets in total.

What happened? Did WordCamp Europe’s reputation catch up with itself, creating this burgeoning interest? Was Vienna simply an incredibly attractive destination for a lot of people? Or was it the organizing team that did an outstanding job at marketing and outreach?

WordCamp US was in its second year, and we can ask similar questions about why they didn’t see the growth they were expecting. Is the event, with its transition from the long-standing WordCamp San Francisco, still in its infancy, so that slow growth is to be expected? Was going to the same destination two years in a row not as appealing to attendees? Did the team do an adequate job of communicating around the event?

In my mind, both WordCamp Europe and WordCamp US were successful events. Each did a lot of things well, and some other things less well. Attendees I encountered, whether speakers, sponsors, volunteers or the general public, seemed to have a rewarding experience and their expectations met.

Because that’s why we put these events on, right? Not to “get the numbers” or “win”, but to create an enriching experience.

Bigger is not necessarily better

So, how big do we let ourselves get? This has been an ongoing question for us on the WordCamp Europe team since things took on a new dimension in Vienna.

When I asked Paolo Belcastro, WordCamp Europe local team lead in 2016 and global team lead for 2017, what he thought about growth he said, “For me a successful event is when we have one ticket left over. It should be our goal to make sure that everyone who wants to attend, can.”

This is a philosophy that I stand beside. It reflects our focus on attendees and on inclusiveness, so that it doesn’t matter whether we have 1000, 2000 or 3000 people, it only matters that we do our best to accommodate everyone and put on a great event for however many show up.

It does not, however, answer the question.

It’s exciting to run a popular event, and it’s easy to get carried away with that excitement and sense of accomplishment knowing that so many people want to attend, that so many people are being impacted in positive ways. When we focus solely on the numbers, and adopt a “bigger is better” mentality, it’s also easy to lose sight of some important consequences of growth.

Professional level of production

Keep in mind that we didn’t originally plan an event for 2200 people last year, and so we had to improvise, which meant a significant budget increase and a lot of extra work for the organizing team.

It also catapulted us into a new level of production. Putting on a large event is not the same as putting on a smaller one, and once you get up above 2000 attendees, it has a trickle down effect. It means organizing a speakers dinner for upwards of 300 volunteers, and an after party for 1500. These are events in and of themselves. We’re brought to collaborate with professionals in the events world—caterers, vendors, venues—while we’re still volunteers working in our “spare time”, some of us with more experience than others at making this all happen.

Increased cost of WordCamps

While the average ticket price per day has gone down, from $20 to $15.79, the cost of putting on a WordCamp has increased. Mullenweg reported that the cost of WordCamp US was $516 per person, while attendees continue to pay a mere $40 for entry to the two-day event, including lunch both days, free-flowing coffee, access to the contributor day and after party, not to mention the great swag, which included both a t-shirt and an adorable Wapuu plushy this year.

The additional 90% of this cost falls to sponsors. Sponsors are not volunteers running a non-profit, they are businesses. As we ask more and more of them, they understandably are starting to question what they get in return. Our response has typically been, “you’re supporting the community and gaining exposure,” but is that enough and for how long? How much is too much to ask?

Setting expectations for sponsors and attendees

How much is too much to ask of anyone? As we ask more of sponsors they expect more in return. As we grow, try to predict growth and to outdo ourselves every year, the task for organizers becomes more demanding. As we create bigger and better events, attendees expect to find the same elsewhere.

An event with 10,000 attendees would be amazing. We probably couldn’t call it a WordCamp, though. It would be a WordPalooza, and would require a full-time staff and a new approach to programming, sponsorship and organization on the whole. Does an event have to grow into order to be successful? Can maintaining a certain level of participation and quality also be considered a success?

Because it’s also possible that WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe will simply plateau at a certain capacity. The world may not be ready for a WordPalooza.

Competition and success

“One of the reasons why I think WordPress has such a collaborative community, when you see competitors hanging out with each other and getting drinks […] is that it’s a growing pie. So everyone’s slice of that pie can grow alongside. If it were shrinking or a static pie, the only way to grow would be taking some pie from someone else.”

Competition is widely considered good for business. It pushes companies to innovate and guard against complacency. It encourages a focus on customer service and helps protect consumers through competitive pricing. Competition in the marketplace confirms there is a market to be had, that demand is strong for the products or services being offered. It seeks to establish a basis for fairness, while letting companies vie for market share, sales and profit margins.

The friendly, collaborative nature of the WordPress community is born out of the open source philosophy of contribution and sharing. It is, in my mind, our greatest strength. Support within the community is unparalleled. We consistently root for one another, learn from one another, share our triumphs and our difficulties, through mergers, acquisitions, hirings, firings, career changes and even the occasional drama.

How big can WordPress get? Arriving at 100% market share is neither a likely nor a desirable scenario, if you believe in the benefits of competition and fair trade. The pie is not likely to grow exponentially, but rather will turn into something else entirely as the technology, the world and the web evolve, and the project along with them.

Success and expectations

“When we are candid about our shortcoming, it allows us to be better towards going to the future,” Mullenweg said in talking about the WordPress Editor.

This is a sentiment we can apply across the board, to ensure that our philosophy and our mission are reflected in our words and actions as we bring new users to our platform and welcome newcomers to our community.

Healthy competition, whether inside or outside of the community, helps us strive to be the best we can be. Raising the bar can produce some extraordinary results, allowing us to be inspired by one another, taking on ideas that we might find valuable for our audiences, customers, clients. Healthy competition allows us to learn, have fun, grow and share that wealth of knowledge around us.

Unhealthy competition causes us to lose sight of our goals, focusing on numbers instead of the people affected by them. In a community such as ours that prides itself on inclusiveness, we can only succeed or fail together.

In this coming year I’d like to see success shaped through managing expectations and staying true to our purpose. I’d like to see it shaped by people, not numbers, by the humanity of this open source project that brings us together, allows us to create, to innovate, to provide for ourselves and our families.

I’d like to think that a future vision of success could be when growth is neither the goal, nor our limitation, when we’re no longer looking to a growing pie, but rather to a renewable spring or self-sustaining garden. I’d like to think that one day we will be able to say that we’ve succeeded in democratizing publishing, and if and when we do, I doubt that we will have done it alone. And that’s a good thing.

See you in Paris

I have no idea how many people will show up to WordCamp Europe in June, but I do know that it will be another fantastic event. I also know that you can help make it a success by participating. You can apply to speak, to volunteer, to sponsor, and/or buy a ticket. So many ways to be a part of making it happen. So, see you there? Wait, let me rephrase: see you there!

Source: planet

WPTavern: Jetpack 4.5 Expands Monetization with WordAds Integration

Jetpack is starting 2017 with a major release that is heavy on enhancements and improvements. Version 4.5 includes more than a dozen new shortcodes and widgets, along with revamped support for VideoPress. One of the most intriguing new features announced in this release, however, is the integration with WordAds, WordPress.com’s advertising program.

Jetpack users are required to be on the Premium plan ($9.00/month or $99/year) in order to sign on with WordAds. The feature is then available within the Engagement tab along with settings for adjusting ad placement.

Eligibility for WordAds was previously limited to sites that had thousands of page views per month, but this requirement is lifted for those who have purchased a Premium or Professional Jetpack plan. Unlike Adsense, which pays for clicks, WordAds pays based on the number of impressions combined with many other factors. According to Derek Springer, an Automattic employee who has worked on WordAds for several years, the traffic requirement was given to set earnings expectations and to ensure support resources were adequately available.

How Much Can Publishers Earn through WordAds?

It’s difficult to to gauge how much a publisher can earn using WordAds, and Automattic doesn’t publish any sample earnings. The WordAds network has more than 60 partners bidding for advertising space in realtime, including Google’s AdSense, Google, AdX, Facebook Ads, AOL, Yahoo, and Amazon. WordPress.com’s Daily Post blog likened the network to a stock market with prices rising and falling as available space changes.

When asked about the average return for every 1,000 impressions, Derek Springer said it’s challenging to estimate due to the complex set of factors influencing the revenue publishers can earn. These include location and number of ads, geography of viewer, percentage of viewers with ad blockers, and other factors.

“Generally speaking, a site with majority US views with high-quality content can expect to earn the most, while non-English language, low-quality (copied content, nsfw, spam, purchased traffic) sites can expect to earn very little (if anything),” Springer said. “Our network over the past year or so has gotten pretty good at appropriately rewarding high-quality sites with high-quality traffic (and penalizing the inverse).”

For years, bloggers have traded stats and earning records, speculating on what influences WordAds’ unpredictable payouts. In 2014, the Human Breed Blog published a collection of data from blogs that made their WordAds earnings publicly available. The data demonstrated inconsistency in earnings for many publishers, including the author’s own blog, where earnings varied wildly from 2014-2015:

My earnings have dropped down to half (From $22.55 in October 2014 to $11.77 in May 2015) despite my page views being higher than 20,000 views per month. The return per 1,000 Ad Impression (CPM) has dropped from $2.25 in October 2014 to $1.17 in May 2015 and the return per 1,000 Page views (CPV) has dropped from $1.39 in October 2014 to $0.51 in May 2015.

The Human Breed Blog 2014-2015 WordAds Earnings

This example is representative of the experience of many WordAds publishers in 2014-2016.

“On my blog SQLwithManoj.com, for the months May, June, and July, the ‘Ad Impressions’ were around ~10k and earnings were in the range of $25 to $48 respectively each month,” said Manoj Pandey, blogger at SQLwithManoj.com. “But in the month of August the ‘Ad Impressions’ were showing ~100k, i.e. ~10 times the previous months, but earnings are still in the same range.”

For many publishers participating in WordAds, there seems to be little correlation between impressions and payouts from month to month. Numerous publishers have reported progressively lower earnings despite having higher traffic numbers than previous months. Clarissa’s Blog, included in the collection of public earnings above, published stats from June 2014 to December 2015 that show a dramatic decrease in the amount paid for impressions.

“You have no way of knowing where the ‘ad impressions’ figure comes from and why it varies from one month to another,” Clarissa said. “You will have to trust WordPress on that. I experimented with placing the maximum amount of ads as opposed to a moderate amount of ads and that had absolutely no impact on the number of ad impressions.”

Things started changing in 2016 for Clarissa who now reports that earnings are increasing. “I have no idea why but the payments seem to have returned to the higher rates,” Clarissa said. “Right now is a good time to do WordAds.”

Others continue to report declines on the WordPress.com forums as recently as this week.

“I used to get $800 for 800K impressions,” said the owner of rebirthonlineworld.com. “A few months ago I got $100 for more than 2 million impressions. Last month, only $90 for 500K impressions. This is a big problem for me.”

WordAds Vastly Overpaid for Low-Quality Traffic During Its First Years

In 2013 WordAds paid out $1 million to publishers on its network. According to Derek Springer, earnings since then have been “pretty flat the past year” due to industry-wide declining ad rates.

“We’ve been slowly clawing our way back from the trough of early 2015, which was a historical low for us,” Springer said. “So more folks were paid out, but rates as a whole were at their lowest point in 2015. We’ve been steadily increasing our rates and paying out less to low-quality content/traffic, so if you’re a high quality site it’s likely your rates haven’t fallen too much.”

Behind the scenes, WordAds was quietly evolving its network to better distinguish sites that would deliver more value to its advertising partners, which accounts for many of the dramatic declines in earnings.

“Pre-WordAds 2.0 our network didn’t have the precision to distinguish between high-quality and low-quality (spam, nsfw, bot views, etc) traffic and we had to make some coarse estimations on how to chop the earnings value up,” Springer said. “The net effect was that we vastly overpaid low-quality traffic for the first handful of years.”

Since WordAds 2.0 the program is gotten better at paying users for high-quality content and traffic. The team has more information on the traffic the network is getting and buyers have more information about the content they are bidding on.

“The net effect is that advertisers refuse to bid on low-quality content and traffic and those sites that were previously earning lots are now getting pennies on the dollar,” Springer said. “I would estimate that after investigation 95% of the time the folks complaining about low payout have something kinda scammy going on, usually copied content or paid traffic (and frequently both).”

“Paid traffic” in this instance refers to users who have paid a service to send bots to a page to refresh constantly in order to artificially inflate pageviews. One recent highly publicized incident of this kind of fraud is a case where Russian hackers stole more than $3 million per day from video advertisers using nonhuman bot traffic. Similar tactics have been used on WordAds, motivated by a misconception that pageviews are equal to ad views.

The Decline of the Advertising Industry

Another factor contributing to lower earnings over the past few years is the general decline of the advertising industry. A 2015 Reuters Institute Digital News survey indicates that nearly half of US internet users have some form of ad blocking software installed. Reuters Institute’s latest predictions forecast a 24% increase in US users with ad blocking in 2017. Advertisers have to fight harder to get the attention of the remaining half of consumers and many companies have decided to allocate those funds elsewhere.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s latest Internet Advertising Revenue report, search advertising on desktop declined for the first time in 2016, falling 12% to $8.9 billion. However, mobile advertising grew 105% from $3.6 billion to $7.4 billion. Mobile search is having an increasingly strong impact in shaping a site’s traffic.

These factors are outside of WordAds’ control but they weigh heavily on how many impressions publishers will receive. If the vast majority of a site’s visitors are using ad-blockers and the site isn’t easily found via mobile search, it is likely to suffer earning declines on any ad network.

“Ad rates industry wide have fallen over the past few years,” Springer said. “Ad buyers just aren’t paying what they used to and more users are using ad blockers. They heyday of the late aughts/early twenty-teens may never return as ad buyers realized they just aren’t getting the return they were expecting.”

WordAds Needs More Transparency Around Partners and Reporting

It is difficult for publishers to improve their strategies for generating ad revenue when earnings fluctuate wildly without any explanation beyond changes in advertising rates. After reviewing the product’s forums, many are requesting more transparency around why their earnings have dropped despite higher numbers of impressions. They want to know if advertising rates have dropped for the month, if partners have dropped out of the network, or if their content failed to connect with visitors on certain days.

WordAds users have experienced problems with incorrect reporting, record low payouts, and blank banner displays. In the past there have also been considerable delays in publishers receiving their monthly earnings. Springer said improving the reporting process is a top priority for the team this year.

“The flip-side/challenge of working with dozens of networks is that none of them pay us very consistently,” Springer said. “In the past there was no unified collection process on our end, so we would have to wait to collect from each partner and then split it up and send folks earnings out in one batch. However, for the past year and a half or so we’ve been working with a company called IPONWEB to unify our earnings, reporting, and ad buying process (this is what powers WordAds 2.0). We’re at the point where we can begin to provide closer to real-time earnings reporting.”

Automattic is Optimistic about Expanding the
WordAds Program with Jetpack

The number of WordAds sites are up 111% year over year. WordAds currently has a few thousand self-hosted sites running AdControl/Jetpack Ads and Springer said the team is expecting that number to grow considerably now that integration has been added to Jetpack. The AdControl plugin is still available for non-Premium Jetpack users but the standard application and traffic requirements apply. Springer said they plan to phase out the plugin at some point in the future but there are no definite plans yet.

“Tens of thousands of WP.com sites are approved WordAds (meaning they applied and were approved) out of many tens of thousands more total applications,” Springer said. “Additionally, every freemium WordPress.com site is running our ad network, though we naturally keep all the revenue from those sites.”

With a gaggle of new publishers joining WordAds through Jetpack, one might imagine that rates and payouts for existing users would decrease as more advertising space becomes available. However, this isn’t how advertising networks work.

“Generally speaking, advertisers want to display more ads than most publishers are able to provide (known as inventory), so adding more publishers/inventory to a network is a net benefit to advertisers and is what attracts the bigger, higher paying ad buyers,” Springer said. “If we can tell our ad partners ‘We have 10,000,000,000 pageviews available this month across our network,” then that attracts much more lucrative buyers than if a user has to try to attract them on their own. Advertisers also like that they can cut one deal for a million sites as opposed to having to cut them piecemeal and are generally willing to give us better deals. The whole ‘powers 27% of the web’ is a pretty tasty morsel for ad networks.”

Advice for Publishers New to WordAds: Keep Expectations Realistic

Seamless advertising is a major incentive for Jetpack users to sign up for the Premium plan, which also includes backups, one-click restores, security scanning, and 13GB video storage. The prospect of being able to flip the switch to turn on ads and potentially start earning money is very compelling, especially for users who have struggled with other forms of advertising that were not WordPress-compatible.

The general outlook for WordAds is improving, as the product has evolved to reward higher quality content. As advertisers receive a better return on their investments, their confidence in bidding should increase. However, most publishers should expect to see fluctuations on earnings.

WordPress.com’s Daily Post Blog advises new publishers to temper their expectations with the knowledge that they would need “hundreds of thousands of pageviews to generate meaningful earnings.” For most average bloggers, the ad revenue may not buy more than a decent cup of coffee.

Mortiz Linder, an owner of traveluxblog.com, published his earnings and described his experience as “rather average.”

“It’s a nice idea to gain something without effort, to get at least something back for all the work we put into traveluxblog each day,” Moritz said.

Source: planet