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This week in WordPress

After 13 years, belongs to Gravity Forms

We have a lot to get to today, but first this tweet from Gravity Forms: "Excited to announce that we are now the proud owners of the GRAVITY.COM domain name. It only took 13 years but it's finally home." now redirects to While CEO and founder Carl Hancock hasn't shared what was involved in sealing the deal after so long, stay tuned for a future interview on the Matt Report podcast.

"Now you gotta branch out the Gravity family of brands. Gravity Hats, Gravity the Board Game, Gravity Flamethrower," tweets Bluehost Product Manager Chris David Miles.

Newfold Digital acquires WooCommerce company YITH

Newfold Digital has acquired YITH to expand its WooCommerce expertise. That's Sarah Gooding's story at WPTavern.

All YITH employees, including its leadership team, will join Newfold Digital as part of the deal. YITH co-founder and CEO Nando Pappalardo tells WPTavern that YITH will remain an independent brand while improving its products and developing new e-commerce business solutions at Newfold Digital.

Founded in 2012, YITH has almost 150 WooCommerce extensions and 2.3 million active installs. The company hosts 31 plugins on, including many that are lite versions with commercial upgrades. YITH's most popular product, the YITH WooCommerce Wishlist plugin, is active on more than 900,000 WooCommerce sites.

"Today we welcome @YITHEMES to #TeamNewfold! YITH's e-commerce solutions and wealth of @WooCommerce expertise will equip our customers with the tools and know-how to build and grow successful online stores," tweets Newfold Digital.

XWP Associate Director of Engineering (and former Yoast Core Team lead) Francesca Marano tweets, "Woot woot! Congratulazioni Sara, Nando e tutte le belle persone di YITH. @NewfoldDigital è una bellissima realtà, voi pure...avanti tutta!" ("Woot woot! Congratulations Sara, Nando and all the beautiful people of YITH. @NewfoldDigital is a beautiful reality, you too ... full speed ahead!")

The deal comes after Newfold Digital acquired Yoast in August 2021.

Yoast now sponsoring Underrepresented in Tech

Speaking of Yoast, here's some good news for WordPress diversity: Yoast will be sponsoring Allie Nimmons' work on Underrepresented in Tech for the remainder of 2022.

Nimmons, a vocal advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in WordPress, launched Underrepresented in Tech with Michelle Frechette in December 2020 to help people with businesses, podcasts, and events connect with diverse and talented folks.

Nimmons says the sponsorship came about after she recently called out the lack of diversity at WordCamp Europe. In The Journey to Better WordPress Diversity at MasterWP, she says her tweet led to a "cascading series of events that had both positive and negative outcomes," including the WordCamp Community Team launching a discussion about diversity at WordPress events.

Wanting to take her advocacy off Twitter and invest more time in something structured and with long-lasting effect, she approached Yoast Community Manager Taco Verdonschot with a proposal to sponsor her work on Underrepresented in Tech.

Verdonschot tells The Repository, "[Underrepresented in Tech] is an extremely valuable resource surfacing all the talent that we have in our community. It helps organizers, podcast hosts, and many others to reach out to people from a typically underrepresented group that might otherwise be outside their usual bubble. So when Allie reached out for support so she put more time and effort into improving this amazing resource that has the potential to improve our community, and the general tech community, forever, it was an easy decision."

For more, check out Verdonschot's full statement regarding Yoast’s sponsorship of Underrepresented in Tech on The Repository's blog.

Nimmons says the sponsorship will allow her and Frechette to "push open more doors that may have been closed to underrepresented people in our space."

"We can make the database itself stronger, bigger, and easier to use. We can provide resources to help underrepresented people find more opportunities and resources to help allies be better allies. And we can make sure that people get the most out of the database if they choose to use it," she says.

In the coming weeks, Nimmons plans to redesign the Underrepresented in Tech website, add fields to the database form, be more active on social media, launch email sequences, and more.

Business Spotlight: Underrepresented in Tech

The Underrepresented in Tech logo.
Underrepresented in Tech
Underrepresented in Tech was designed and built with the goal of demystifying diversity. Fear of tokenization and awkwardness blocks many leaders from reaching out to diverse individuals. This roadblock prevents amazing people from finding amazing opportunities. We built this tool so that if you want to prioritize diversity, you can.

Does WordPress need thousands of block themes?

Gutenberg 12.8 is out. It launches the Web Font API, improves group nesting, and adds a keyboard shortcut for links.

In related news, Does WordPress need thousands of block themes in the era of full site editing? That's Justin Tadlock's story at WPTavern after designer Brian Gardner, who's also Principal Developer Advocate at WP Engine, tweeted, "I have so many design ideas in my head that I am about to make it my mission to singlehandedly fulfill @photomatt's vision of 5,000 Full Site Editing #WordPress themes in the directory."

Tadlock's take? "The problem is that someone still needs to make those customizations, and not everyone has a knack for design. One person's ability does not automatically translate to all other users," he writes. "Perhaps a more crucial point is that not everyone wants to customize their site's design. Some people simply want to find something that suits their style and move along."

Tadlock also asks, Should WordPress 6.0 remove the "beta" label from the site editor? He says "probably not," but also, "it will depend on many things going right over the next couple of months."

Meanwhile, this also at WPTavern: to Launch Pattern Creator to Expand Pattern Directory. "Super interesting stuff... A Pattern Creator page will allow folks to build, edit, and submit their best block patterns to the directory. If approved, they will be instantly available to the authors of millions of WordPress sites," tweets Gardner.

And more from Tadlock: The Dream of Exporting WordPress Block Themes from the Site Editor Is Close to Reality.

Ellipsis Marketing's AI tool featured in the New York Times

"Wild news to share: @getellipsis and our FALCON AI were featured in the New York Times this week," tweets Alex Denning, Ellipsis Marketing's founder and Managing Director. He links to AI-focused journalist Craig S. Smith's piece 'No-Code' Brings the Power of A.I. to the Masses at the New York Times.

Denning explains: "I was interviewed for an article on how our FALCON AI is part of a new wave of software bringing AI to a wider audience and many many more use cases," adding, "I don't think I ever thought we'd be candidates for coverage in the New York Times. Testament to the work we're doing for our clients, and Ellipsis as a genuine leader in implementation of AI. And we're only just getting started! Exciting times."

Mike McAlister, a principal engineer at WP Engine, tweets, "That’s huge! Congrats, Alex and team! Ellipsis is an absolute gem for the WordPress community."

Matt Mullenweg on the Decoder and Tim Ferriss Show podcasts

Proving Matt Mullenweg's brain is like an airport traffic control tower: How WordPress and Tumblr are keeping the internet weird.

The WordPress co-founder and Automattic CEO talks to The Verge's Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel on the latest Decoder podcast about how Automattic employs almost 2,000 people in 93 countries ("The secret of Decoder is that, fundamentally, this is a show about org charts," says Patel.) and his experience doing support and moderation for Tumblr ("Tumblr's moderation policies are going to evolve in a very significant way that I can't announce entirely yet, but it's going to get a lot better," says Mullenweg). The pair also cover WooCommerce, Gutenberg, the economics of abundance vs scarcity, web3, and NFTs.

"Yes this episode made me want to leave the company I've spent 2+ decades with to join @automattic and @photomatt. Remarkable interview. Great work, @reckless," tweets consultant Jon Deutsch.

"Great episode of Decoder between Nilay Patel and Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic. Let's make the open web weird again!" tweets Pantheon Customer Success Engineer Michael Brown.

And another interview: Matt Mullenweg and Tim Ferriss recorded their recent podcast for the Tim Ferriss Show in Antarctica. In their wide-ranging conversation, the pair explore grief, their fears and hang-ups, and what they want to do before they die.

It's a long podcast and Matt gets vulnerable, sharing that while he doesn't plan to have children (spoiler: he says there's an 8% chance) he feels his mark on the world will be WordPress as he's one of a few people in the world who can make a real impact on the web.

#WPCommunityFeels: Sally Thoun

Photo of Sally Thoun.
This week, what's inspiring Sally Thoun, head of Partnerships and Sales at AAAtraq, owner of Savvy Girl Digital Marketing, and a WordFest Live volunteer.
A podcast worth listening to: A11Y Rules and Mosen at Large. I love these podcasts with guests with disabilities talking about the barriers they encounter on the web and a11y advocates sharing their insight. Even though making the web accessible is the right thing to do for humanity, it also helps me understand their frustrations, so I can better explain it when advocating for accessible websites to unaware businesses. You don’t know what you don’t know!

A concept worth understanding: Why digital accessibility is crucial to provide equal access and opportunity to people with diverse abilities so they can be independent without having to rely on others. I can relate as I lost some of my independence when I went through cancer and had to rely on others, which was hard. I love my late Aunty Lizzy’s saying as it summarizes accessibility: “We are not here to see ‘through’ each other, but to see each other ‘through’!”

A Twitter account worth following: I am not on Twitter much as trying to stay on top of LinkedIn is a challenge. There are so many lively conversations with many incredible accessibility advocates, it is hard to name just one as they each bring their unique perspective to help educate and inspire us. Search Twitter for “accessibility” and start following some of these selfless folks.

An article worth reading: Many accessibility articles are worth reading but I love anything by Sheri Byrne-Haber as she gets straight to the point and provides a lot of history as many of us are new to accessibility. I’m grateful to those who have and are paving the way. I’ve heard high accolades for the best-selling book From Strength to Strength - Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life by Arthur C. Brooks. I found my passion and purpose with accessibility and cannot wait to read it, as it’s on backorder.

A habit worth forming: Starting the day with my devotions/bible or anything that positively motivates you. Taking breaks throughout the day, to give your brain a chance to relax and reflect. Doing some form of exercise to keep the blood flowing as I sit at a computer daily as most of us. I am now walking daily when weather permits with my new 80 pound rescue dog, Emma Noel. She keeps me from being lazy and I feel refreshed after our walks which also provide a mental break.

Growing (and Selling) Your Business Coffee Chat

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On a yellow background, there are headshots of a man and a woman next to text regarding GoDaddy Pro's coffee chat on March 23, 2022.
What's your exit strategy? Maybe you're in it for the long haul and maybe you're building to sell. It's okay if you don't have an exit strategy, but we'll be talking about buying and selling businesses this week! Joining us to talk about business acquisition are a couple of people who have lived through it, Beka Rice and Corey Maass.

Beka, Sr. Director of GoDaddy's WooCommerce products, joined GoDaddy as part of the SkyVerge acquisition. The SkyVerge team positioned itself as the leader in WooCommerce extensions and care. This positioning resulted in multiple companies being interested in SkyVerge over the years. Ultimately, GoDaddy was the right fit! Hear how she helped position SkyVerge for success.

Corey, founder and lead developer at Gelform, joins us to talk about the other side of the coin. Corey has acquired multiple products/businesses and will share about what he looks for in a business to determine its readiness for acquisition. Find out what potential buyers are looking for so you can put the pieces in place for the best outcome!

This free virtual event is presented by GoDaddy Pro and will take place on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 at 3pm EST.

Read more and register here:
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In other WordPress news...

  • WordPress 5.9.2 is now available. This security and maintenance release features one bug fix and three patches for a high-severity vulnerability and two medium-severity issues, according to Wordfence QA engineer and threat analyst Ram Gall. All versions of WordPress since WordPress 3.7 have also been updated with the fix for these vulnerabilities.
  • Patchstack Security Advocate Robert Rowley joined the latest episode of the WPwatercooler podcast to talk about cyber security during global conflicts. He talks about UA Cyber Help, a website he's working on with other Patchstack staff, where Ukrainian organizations can request free cyber support.
  • Speaking of Robert Rowley, he says he wasn't expecting to see so many plugins with critical vulnerabilities in them not receive patches, reports Sarah Gooding at WPTavern. Patchstack surveyed 109 WordPress site owners for its State of WordPress Security whitepaper and also found that 28% of respondents had zero budget for security, 27% budgeted $1-3/month, and just 7% budget ~$50/month.
  • WP Engine announced this week that registration is open for its third annual, developer-focused event, DE{CODE} 2022. The virtual event will be held on April 20-21 and will include keynote presentations by WP Engine staff, including founder and CTO Jason Cohen, Principal Developer Advocate Brian Gardner, Principal Software Engineer Mike McAlister, Developer Relations Manager Kellen Mace, and Grace Erixon, who also works in Developer Relations.
  • WooCommerce has rolled out automatic updates with patches for WooCommerce 3.5–6.3. This fix contains important security improvements for the PayPal Standard payment gateway, which has been deprecated since July 2021.
  • Multisite is an important part of WordPress core and deserves more attention to polish some of its shortcomings to make it better for all—including enterprise users, says WP Engine Engineering Manager Chris Wiegman. As much as WordPress is supported by enterprise users, he says that support isn't reflected in the development priorities of WordPress core.
  • Wordfence is warning of an increase in malware sightings on GoDaddy managed WordPress hosting, which includes MediaTemple, tsoHost, 123Reg, Domain Factory, Heart Internet, and Host Europe Managed WordPress sites. Of the 298 newly infected sites with the almost identical backdoor prepended to the wp-config.php file at least 281 are hosted with GoDaddy.
  • The WordPress Community Team has published a proposal to remove spam and dormant Five for the Future pledges. Ian Dunn, an Automattic-sponsored contributor (whose title, interestingly enough, is ‘Community Gardener') says the inaccuracy of pledges "weakens the value of sincere and active pledges."
  • Round 2 of Torque's Plugin Madness 2022 kicks off this week with just 32 plugins left. In the optimization category, Yoast SEO is up against Smush, the only plugin to have ever won Plugin Madness twice. The bracket-style competition pits the best plugins against each other over several weekly rounds, with the final plugin named the champion.
  • In an interview with MasterWP, Automattic-sponsored contributor Anne McCarthy says her short-term goals for the new Museum of Block Art include getting the word out about what's possible with WordPress' tools today, leaving people with a smile, and encouraging folks to embrace their inner artist by sharing their creations. Long-term, her ideas include printing out the art to hang at WordPress events and getting submissions from artists far outside the WordPress realm.
  • MainWP has published a Q&A with Josepha Haden Chomphosy. The WordPress Executive Director shares why she loves analytics, her advice for leaders, and the tools she uses to stay on task at Automattic.
  • Taco Verdonschot of Yoast shares why WordPress is his third family on the Cloudways blog. He also shares why he switched from development to customer support, and why great support can mean the difference between customers loving a product or rage-quitting and writing bad reviews.
  • Developer Leonardo Losoviz joined the WPTavern Jukebox podcast this week to discuss the Block Protocol's efforts to make blocks work universally. Losoviz recently shared his take on the pros and cons of WordPress collaborating with the Block Protocol, a new open standard for building and using data-driven blocks, at Smashing Magazine.
  • How do you continue to build something as decentralized as self-hosted WordPress while competing with some of the best features of centralization? MasterWP Editor Brian Coords says he'd like to see features from's new marketplace trickle down to the broader community someday in the form of a "premium' plugins tab that only shows offers from plugins and themes that are already running on your site, or more contributions to projects like WP Notify that could potentially help developers build relationships with potential customers.
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