Issue #79
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This week in WordPress

And the acquisitions keep coming…

"Two #WordPress acquistions (at least) so far this week," tweets David Bisset from Post Status, linking to the news that Automattic has acquired Day One, and Extendify is adopting the EditorsKit plugin.

Automattic acquires Day One

Matt Mullenweg says he began seriously using the journaling app in 2016 when his father was in the ICU and later passed. "Having a private, safe place to write what I was going through kept me sane and helped me process everything," the Automattic CEO writes in Day One at Automattic.

In The Next Chapter of Day One at Automattic, founder and CEO Paul Mayne says joining Automattic has made him "more confident than ever that the preservation and longevity of Day One is sure."

He's not the only one. "I might be an outlier, but Automattic buying Day One makes me a lot more comfortable using it and without worrying it will go away someday along with my data," tweets software developer Collin Donnell.

"!!! I *love* Day One. What an excellent match," tweets Codeable Partner Community Development Lead Christie Chirinos. "I am ridiculously excited about @dayoneapp being tucked into the @automattic lineup. I'm a LOVER of the app since @jasonpatricksc recommended years ago and now it's in the WP family!" adds Post Status owner Cory Miller.

On the WordPress.com blog, Eli Budelli, Head of Apps at Automattic, says Mayne will continue to lead the same Day One team at Automattic.

Sarah Perez covered the story for TechCrunch and reports Day One has been downloaded more than 15 million times since its March 2011 launch on the Mac and iTunes App Store.

Sarah Gooding at WPTavern says she has never seen a more engaged community with such a strong reaction following an acquisition. "Many are deeply invested, having poured years of their lives and private memories into Day One," she writes, adding, "Given how passionate Day One's user base is about protecting the app's future, I'm eager to [see] how Automattic handles the challenge of winning their confidence."

Extendify adopts EditorsKit

And in other news that probably didn't involve quite as much money, the Extendify team has taken over the development of the EditorsKit plugin and add-ons, ShareABlock, and other tools from creator Jeffrey Carandang.

Carandang, who also co-created the Iceberg plugin for the WordPress block editor, joined enterprise agency 10up as a web engineer 10 months ago. On his blog, Carandang admits he hasn't had the time to focus on EditorsKit and its community so it was timely when Munir Kamal and Artur Grabowski from Extendify got in touch to talk about adopting the project.

In an announcement on the Extendify blog, the EditorsKit Typography & Google Fonts Add-on are being made free for all users, and the Extendify library of Gutenberg patterns and templates will be made available directly in EditorsKit. During Extendify's beta period, the full library will also be free.

Lastly, in case you were wondering, "0️⃣ days since the last acquisition #WordPress," tweets Bisset.

FlipWP launches to flip WordPress businesses

Speaking of acquisitions, Alex Denning, who runs WordPress marketing agency Ellipsis, and Iain Poulson, who recently sold his SaaS app Plugin Rank to Awesome Motive, have launched FlipWP, a private acquisition marketplace for WordPress.

Denning explains why the pair have started a marketplace for selling WordPress businesses when they both have other jobs on the FlipWP blog. In a nutshell: acquisitions are hot right now but there was nowhere to find them unless you were in the right place at the right time, or knew the right people.

"The best description I've heard of product/market fit is you know when you have it ‘because you get hit in the face'. We were getting hit in the face with ‘hey can you help me buy/sell this?' requests, so at the start of June we pulled the trigger on the project," writes Denning.

Sarah Gooding is covering the story for WPTavern and says an increasing number of acquisitions announced over the past month has reinforced the need for a more centralized marketplace for WordPress businesses. WP Engine's recently published research, which estimates the WordPress economy at $596.7 billion, has also inspired confidence in the ecosystem.

Denning tells The Repository that while FlipWP won't be providing legal or due diligence services for buyers and sellers, "we know buying or selling can be a stressful period, so we're going to provide as much help as we can with resources, preparing people for the process, and connections to professionals."

Are WordPress acquisitions a good or bad thing?

"Open question, no answer unwelcome… is the WordPress acquisition market too much? Does it bother you that company X is buying up all-the-things, or is this just a maturation of the WordPress ecosystem? Like I say, it's an open question… GO!" Nathan Wrigley, who podcasts for WP Builds and WPTavern, tweeted this week, getting a mixed bag of answers.

In the "good" camp, Birgit Pauli-Haack, who runs Gutenberg Times, adds, "It's a good thing that plugins receive greater financial security and backing for innovation. It makes them sustainable. Good for all users, especially the businesses that are using the plugins to make revenue online. The hit-by-a-bus risk goes way down. Peace of mind." GoDaddy Pro Web Design Dev Advocate Courtney Robertson tweets, "I'd love to hear what this has done for quality of life for employees in the acquisition. I loved my time at one place that was acquired after I left. All contact staff I believe were bumped up from contractors to employees. In USA, healthcare coverage is huge."

In the "it is what it is" camp, Mike Wooldridge, Onyx Product Lead at Krystal Hosting, tweets, "Whilst I like the idea of all the brands within the WordPress ecosystem each being small independent companies, it's a fact of life in any industry that successful brands will have interest - and investment opportunities - from larger companies as the ecosystem matures."

Meanwhile, front-end developer Gregory Hammond, who shares his thoughts in a blog post, believes "We need to figure out a way to keep supporting the independent creators or else acquisitions will continue to happen."

Then there's this: a year ago, GoDaddy acquired Jilt, a marketing automation service for WooCommerce. Last week, the brief announcement that Jilt is shutting down on April 30, 2022.

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WordCamp Europe 2021 recap: Get ready for Full Site Editing

If you missed WordCamp Europe 2021, blogger Nick Schäferhoff covered the virtual conference for Torque and says WCEU was all about FSE.

During the event, WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg and Gutenberg Project Lead Matías Ventura discussed the project's latest developments and shared a video with some of Gutenberg's current and upcoming highlights. "These kinds of marketing videos are so valuable because users don't always know what is possible, even if the tools are approachable for anyone to use," notes Sarah Gooding at WPTavern.

The WordCamp Europe team has shared the event in numbers, including total views on YouTube (6,190 – and you can watch all the WCEU presentations on their YouTube channel) and unique views on Hubilo (1,857). The team also shares why it chose Hubilo as the event platform for the conference.

Wordfence becomes CNA, expecting its security research to accelerate

WordPress security company Wordfence has been authorized as a CNA (aka CVE Numbering Authority) by the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE®) Program, reports Sarah Gooding for WPTavern. As a CNA, Wordfence can now assign CVE IDs for new vulnerabilities in WordPress core, plugins and themes.

Threat analyst Chloe Chamberland says the authorization means Wordfence will be able to accelerate its security research. "This furthers our goal of helping to protect the community of WordPress site owners and developers, and the millions of website users that access WordPress every day," she writes in Wordfence is now a CVE Numbering Authority (CNA).

In other security news, Wordfence is urging WP Fluent Forms users to update to the latest version after disclosing a Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability to the plugin's developer, WP Manage Ninja. The plugin is installed on over 80,000 sites.

Wordfence also recently disclosed a vulnerability in WooCommerce Stock Manager, an extension installed on 30,000 sites. Chamberland says users should update to the latest patched version, 2.6.0, immediately.

10up is also embracing the concept that "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." Director of Systems Engineering Zach Brown says the agency recently disclosed a Blind SQL Injection attack vulnerability in the FileBird plugin while conducting a routine code review for a client. The free plugin has over 90,000 active installations, and users are urged to update to the latest version.

Lastly, Security Analyst Ben Martin says Sucuri has recently seen a rash of WordPress website compromises involving attackers abusing the plugin upload functionality in the wp-admin dashboard to redirect visitors and site owners to malicious websites.

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In other WordPress news...

  • WordPress 5.8 Beta 2 is now available for resting. Release coordinator Jonathan Desrosiers, who's a Bluehost-sponsored core contributor, shares a rundown of the latest changes, including 26 bugs that have been fixed since the beta 1 release. The final WordPress 5.8 release is due out on July 20 – five weeks away.
  • Yoast founder and Chief Product Officer Joost de Valk has published his latest CMS market share analysis and says there are two clear winners: WordPress (and WooCommerce) and Shopify. WordPress has grown its market share by 4.6% in the past six months — that's more than the total market share of Shopify, the second most popular CMS, at 3.6%. Shopify overtook Joomla, which now sits in the number three spot at 2.1% market share. de Valk says due to the increase in online shopping due to the pandemic, ecommerce sites are taking up a bigger portion of the top 10 million sites. This has helped drive WooCommerce's "phenomenal" 8.2% growth in the past six months, and as de Valk points out, WooCommerce is now growing faster than Shopify.
  • WP Engine Summit/2021 is next week. The free annual conference for developers and marketers, now in its sixth year, will be held virtually on June 24. The event will feature a mix of live-streamed and on-demand content, including networking opportunities and breakout sessions for attendees. WP Engine editor Riley Cullen says this year's keynote address will be delivered by Reshma Saujani who has spent over a decade using her activism to fight for women and girls' economic empowerment, closing the tech industry's gender gap, and she recently began advocating for policies to support moms impacted by the pandemic.
  • "Kicked off while we were in a full pandemic, it was our genuine response to a need we had and saw in the people around us—to read stories that bring us hope, joy, and faith in a time when opening the TV or scrolling on social media would make you think the world was about to end," writes Oana Filip, kicking of theme store Pixelgrade's first Upstairs Community Report. The report covers a lot – how the Pixelgrade team has engaged with its global community, what it has learned by taking the time to have conversations with people, and insights gleaned along the way.
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