Issue #205
Happy Friday! It's March 22 and we're covering the experimental media corps, Do the Woo’s new home, the latest on WordPress 6.5, and much more.

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Three big headlines

1. WordPress launches media corps to bolster independent marketing efforts


WordPress is getting a media corps. Announcing the change this week, Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy said this new "experiment" aimed to help publications that were already marketing WordPress, such as WP Tavern, Do the Woo and Gutenberg Times.

As Josepha explains, "I would like to enable their independent marketing to be of excellent quality with less chasing of people by creating a Media Corps which can be managed through [the Marketing] team."

The announcement comes after she canvassed a range of opinions from folks in recent weeks, including at WordCamp Asia, where she shared her ambitions for a media corps with contributors at the WordPress Marketing Team table on Contributor Day.

Due to a "variety of reasons from logistical to philosophical," she said she couldn't give the Marketing Team the influence it wanted over the project's product roadmap or branding, budgets, or direct access to WordPress properties (such as the WordPress.org X/Twitter account, which belongs to co-founder Matt Mullenweg), so it was time to change tact.

The announcement has been cautiously welcomed, with some folks raising questions about whether the media corps will actually help counter WordPress' stagnating growth.

In the comments, Human Made co-founder Noel Tock said key components were missing from Josepha's plan: strategic narratives and product marketing. It was a sentiment reinforced by Ollie co-founder Mike McAlister: "I do agree with what Noel is saying — this doesn't quite draw a clear picture of how we're marketing the actual platform/product itself."

On Do the Woo's Emerging Tech podcast in February, and again during his keynote at WordCamp Asia 2024, Noel said he constantly struggled with enterprise clients with outdated beliefs about WordPress's capabilities. Noel said WordPress’s mission for the next two years should be to "learn marketing deeply," and the WordPress community should tackle this brand marketing problem together. Emilia Capital investor Marieke van de Rakt shared similar views in an opinion piece for Post Status, WordPress – let's market together.

Marketing has long been a problem for WordPress. In January 2019, Yoast founder Joost de Valk was appointed Marketing and Communications Lead for the WordPress project and stepped down just five months later due to conflicting views about his role.

More recently, former WordPress Marketing Team co-rep Sé Reed and WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg butted heads constantly last year, with Sé filing a WordPress Code of Conduct violation against him last September.

Following the media corps announcement, Sé posted, "Y'know, I swear I don't like to make things about me, but gosh it sure >>FEELS<< like they are sunsetting the entire Marketing Team in order to shut me up."
A silhouette of a man putting a hat on his head.

2. Bob Dunn teams up with WordPress.com


Do the Woo has found a new home at WordPress.com. Announcing WordPress.com's partnership with podcaster Bob Dunn, Automattic Director of Social Media Breann McDede said Bob needed a web host that allowed him to easily maintain and market his podcast, and WordPress.com delivered.

"The teams here at WordPress.com, Woo, and Jetpack are proud to partner with Bob. Do the Woo is providing an essential resource to the Woo and WordPress communities. Not only is he creating a unique space for these conversations to happen, but he's amplifying the voices of those who want to give podcasting a shot," according to Breann.

Do the Woo started as a WooCommerce-focused podcast in 2016 and has grown into a community-driven network of 14 shows with dozens of co-hosts and countless guests.

After some initial confusion in Post Status Slack that maybe WordPress.com had acquired Do the Woo, Bob clarified: "No acquisition. Partnership. Do the Woo is still mine 😄." According to Bob, the campaign to promote Do the Woo's new host is rolling out over the next week, with a podcast episode set to drop any day. "Of course, within the tighter community that has a microscope on these things, assumptions are made 🙂" he adds.

Meanwhile, "Have you been to the Do the Woo website lately? @BobWP has a full blown network of content going on over there dothewoo.io I'm surprised ABC or CBS hasn't acquired him yet lol," posted Jeff Chandler, Mindsize's new Director of Outreach.
A black and white image of a man standing on a street dancing.

3. WordPress 6.5 on track for release on Tuesday


"WordPress 6.5… new release drops soon (hint: March 26, 2024)."

That post—together with a jazzy video—was published on the WordPress.org X/Twitter account this week.

The third release candidate dropped on March 19, fixing 10+ bugs in the Block Editor and around 15 tickets in WordPress core since the RC2 release.

"WordPress 6.5 sure is shaping up," posts Automattic-sponsored design contributor Rich Tabor, linking to the WordPress 6.5 Field Guide, ICYMI last week.

If you're still getting your head around what's in this release, GoDaddy's Courtney Robertson has users and developers covered: What's new in WordPress 6.5. "EVERY SINGLE DETAIL you need to know about what's coming in #WordPress 6.5," confirms her colleague Adam Warner.

On the WordPress VIP blog, Director of Product Marketing Michael Khalili unpacks what WordPress 6.5 means for Enterprise.

If you want to "drink from the fire hose," as Birgit Pauli-Haack puts it in the latest Gutenberg Times Weekend Edition, Automattic-sponsored contributor Anne McCarthy, who is serving as one of the Editor Triage Leads for this release, has published WordPress 6.5 Source of Truth, a 10,000 word "opus" (again, Birgit's word).

At the other extreme, PootlePress founder Jamie Marsland explains WordPress 6.5 in 250 seconds.

For discussion on the upcoming release, Highrise Digital's Keith Devon and Mark Wilkinson explore WordPress 6.5 on WP Café, Bud Kraus looks at What's New In WordPress 6.5 for InstaWP, and Birgit and fractional product lead Tammie Lister discuss WordPress 6.5 on the Gutenberg Changelog podcast.

Meanwhile, WooCommerce developer Kathy Darling reminds other developers that, "WordPress 6.5 is scheduled for release on March 26, 2024. Are your plugins ready?"
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In other news

WordPress project

> On the WP Briefing podcast, WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy says she spoke to a couple of hundred people at WordCamp Asia and the topics that were front of mind were making business in WordPress, the business of making WordPress, and how to communicate both sides a little better. She says it's important to get the message out that enterprise is WordPress's "next big space" for business development, the project's primary growth market is the Asia-Pacific region, and events are the WordPress project's best tool for brand expression." (WP Briefing)

WordPress community

> WP-Tonic's Jonathan Denwood discusses his business ventures, the state of WordPress media and the future of the WordPress platform in a wide-ranging, at times comical conversation with Matt Medeiros. Jonathan describes WordPress as a quasi-open source project given the contributions of co-founder Matt Mullenweg and his company, Automattic. "[Matt's] invested over $900 million," Jonathan says. "Without that money, WordPress wouldn't be where it is." Jonathan recently interviewed Matt on WP-Tonic (The WP Minute | WP-Tonic)

> Miriam Schwab, the Head of WordPress Relations at Elementor, talks about how she balances WordPress success and family life in a fascinating interview with WP Tavern Jukebox's Nathan Wrigley. As Nathan describes, "This episode is a fantastic discussion with a tenacious person who has not just found balance, but has also flourished." Miriam recently spoke at WordCamp Asia 2024 about how she built her career in WordPress while raising seven kids (WP Tavern Jukebox)

Business, enterprise & acquisitions

> In his latest column for Post Status, inspired by Cloudfest in Germany this week, Emilia Capital investor Joost de Valk argues that hosting companies should invest in WordPress core rather than in building their own proprietary solutions. "While talking to these different hosts here at Cloudfest, I noticed that WordPress is their most significant growth driver. In fact, this year, I heard a few hosts say that they basically only sell WordPress now," he says. "For the hosts here [at Cloudfest], the growth of WordPress is crucial. This makes me repeat my previous conclusion: what if this host would significantly invest in developing WordPress core? Imagine what would happen to WordPress!" (Post Status)

> WP Umbrella co-founder and CEO Aurelio Volle posted an appeal for help this week after an attacker purchased the wp-umbrella.info domain as part of an elaborate scheme to steal his users' credentials. Aurelio says the attacker has created a fake landing page and is buying competing ad words (X/Twitter)

Plugins, products & themes

> WordPress.com has launched a new GitHub Deployments feature. The news follows Brian Coords’ 3,000-word report for WP Tavern last week about the platform's focus on doubling down on the developer community (WordPress.com | WP Tavern)

Conferences, events & awards

> Yesterday marked the final day of WP Engine's fifth annual DE{CODE} developer conference. Recorded sessions were aired live across three time zones over two days, with more than 4,000 attendees from 86 countries. The event's keynote featuring former OpenAI Head of Go-to-Market Zack Kass is available to rewatch for a limited time (WP Engine)

Security

> Since last November, Wordfence has paid $153,000 in bounties to WordPress security researchers. Brad Osborne says, "These amazing ethical hackers have discovered and reported some very dangerous vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins and themes that could have impacted millions of users. Instead, the bugs were responsibly reported and patched, protecting end users from the possibility of an 0-day attack, where a vulnerability is discovered by a threat actor before a patch has been released." (Wordfence)

Opinion

> YouTuber Jamie Marsland and developer Brian Coords (who's also trialing for a job at WP Tavern) recently live-streamed a one-hour "forensic deep-dive" into Gutenberg. The pair picked apart block themes, the block editor, shared their wishlist items, and discussed how they would improve Gutenberg (YouTube)

This week at the WP Minute

YouTube →
Breaking WordPress Episode 1?
Matt Medeiros chats with Mark Szymanski, the CEO and Lead Digital Strategist at FindIT Tech about all things WordPress.
Two men looking directly into the camera, set against an orange background.
YouTube →
The ONE BIG update coming to WordPress 6.5 🤯
WordPress 6.5 brings us the option to load Google Fonts into our themes. You can use these fonts in your blog posts, pages, blocks, and patterns. Finally!
A man with a beard looking directly into the camera, with an arrow next to his face pointing at a website.
YouTube →
Use This to Change Your WordPress Block Styles EVERYWHERE 😱
Global Block Styles in WordPress, and especially for the Twenty Twenty-Four theme, make it easy to make sweeping design changes across your entire site.

Classifieds

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Meanwhile...

🧪 Joe Warnimont experimented with installing WordPress on Raspberry Pi.

☕ Hostinger collaborated with a Taiwanese coffee roastery for their WordCamp Asia swag.

🖖 Katie Keith shared a detailed breakdown of Barn2's investment in WordCamp Asia.

⏲️ Jamie Marsland explains WordPress block themes in 250 seconds.

🔌 Matt Cromwell shared a comprehensive, crowd-sourced take on optimizing plugin README's for better SEO.

📉 ThemeIsle founder Ionut Neagu says Google is hitting sites that engage in affiliate marketing hard.

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