WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg At SXSW: Blogging Still Booming

2 May 2013


San Diego: In this age of 140-character missives, Facebook “likes,” and on-the-go mobile content consumption, it wouldn’t be surprising to see that blogging had passed its peak, especially since many of the early software players have faded from the scene somewhat.


But, Matt Mullenweg, a founding developer of WordPress and of Automattic, told an audience at SXSW Interactive that signups for WordPress have increased “every single year” and the average length of a blog post has also stayed steady, at about 280 words.


“Certain ideas need to be expressed and a man needs more than 140 characters,” Mullenweg said. He was interviewed by AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher for the session, titled “A Home on the Web: The State of Blogging in 2013.”


When WordPress came onto the blogging scene, in 2005, it was neither the first, nor the most popular blogging platform. The big names then were Blogger, later acquired by Google, and SixApart, which was later merged into SayMedia.


“The interesting thing about WordPress is that we don’t have the most users of any of these services, but we do have the best users,” Mullenweg told the audience. Once bloggers become serious about it, he explained, they generally move to WordPress.


Most Web Advertising Is Ugly

Indeed, many content marketers and advertising-supported online publications — including Search Engine Land and Marketing Land — use WordPress as their content management system. But, although WordPress has become an important tool for marketers, advertisers, and publishers, Mullenweg is dismissive about online advertising, saying it’s just plain ugly in most cases.


“Quality [advertising] hasn’t shifted online,” he said. “Print ads are still infinitely better than anything you see on a website.”


But, if those ads improve — through custom integrations or so-called “native advertising” — Mullenweg would be totally behind that, even though he doesn’t see his role as being part of the advertising and marketing world. “It’s not core to our DNA,” he said. “We’re going to innovate on the platform.”


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