Automattic has acquired WooThemes, makers of WooCommerce

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Written By Brian Krogsgard

27 thoughts on “Automattic has acquired WooThemes, makers of WooCommerce”

  1. As a fellow Capetonian (and someone who peeked inside your office once) congratulations to the Woothemes team! You deserve it.

  2. Really fantastic, detailed analysis. I am really excited for the maturation that many WordPress markets are undergoing right now, and I am confident that annual subscription based pricing will continue to lead in terms of paid extensions, etc… for many WordPress companies, including ours.

  3. As someone who derives his living from his WooCommerce website (and I’m a paying customer many times over) this announcement, while exciting for the platform, really fills me with uncertainty and dread. When a company is acquired by a larger company, things usually change for the worse. Running a WooCommerce site is always a delicate balance of plugins, licenses and updates that constantly break things. The Auttomatic way of doing things may not gel with WooCommerce’s. This could either make things worse or destroy the platform and replace it with something that won’t work for small businesses (or worse something MORE expensive than WooCommerce, which already needs $1-2k in extensions to be a ‘real’ store). I’m happy to be proven wrong and certainly hope I am. WooCommerce, with it’s simplicity, has revolutionized e-commerce. I hope it stays that way.

    • Hi,

      I have to say that I feel uncertainty as well, but I also had to say that it is not true you need $1-2k worth of extensions to make a real store. I am a developer and day in day out I work with Woocommerce, I have seen stores that need dozens of extensions to fullfill their needs, but I have also seen many sites which are running only a couple of plugins, i.e. payment gateway, shipping and such-like. If you want to run a store selling products (not subscriptions etc) and ship them yourself for a flat rate, accepting payments via Paypal then you can run a “real store” with no plugins – just Woocommerce.

      • That’s true – you can create a perfectly serviceable store out of the box – that’s what’s great about it. But as your store grows you will quickly hit the barriers of free and will have to pay for extensions – which is fine. It’s nice that you only need to buy the extensions you need but it quickly adds up. Not to mention buying extensions that get abandoned by their developer and then having to basically buy them twice to replace it.

    • WooCommerce Advanced Notifications $29
      WooCommerce AIM Gateway $79
      Product Add Ons $49
      Compare Products Pro $79
      Theme $58 (came with 4 other plugins like wishlist)
      Yoast WordPress SEO $89 (I appreciate these guys and always pay for a license)

      These are what I am running right now for a total of $383. We do free shipping. I will be expanding the functionality after I IRCE.

    • Guys, it’s rare that anyone makes money without spending money. So, paying a few hundred bux to buy extensions to launch a business ecommerce site is trivial.

      If anyone doesn’t want to buy the extensions they can of course spend days, weeks, or months, building the extensions on their own, or hire a developer to do it for you – which incidentally costs probably at least 10x more than simply buying the extension. It’s long hard work to build them.

      You get WordPress free. You get WooCommerce free. You can get themes for free. What else do you want for free?

      It’s odd that people complain about the cost of extensions. I think people ought to be happy and greatful that you can start a business for a few hundred bux!

      • You’re misunderstanding what I had to say. I have no problem paying for the tools that my store needs – my comment was based on the fear that I’m afraid paying customers are going to get abandoned because paid plugins/themes/extensions currently aren’t really a part of Automattic’s business model.

  4. Great write up Brian. There’s no doubt that this was all about putting eCommerce on, the rest is just icing on the cake for Automattic. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future, but it’s an exciting time for the Woo team.

  5. Great article Brian.Let’s see where this acquisition leads to.I have been using both wordpress and woo commerce plugin for more than 3 years and I hope this merger won’t affect the quality of their services.

  6. My biggest concern is what it does to the other WP ecommerce plugins.It’s going to obliterate them I think.

    I had only just signed up on EDD but now think “Doh!” Though, EDD is the most likely of the rest to survive.

    And for my own plugin, now I think maximum Woo Commerce compatibility should be one of my main focuses. And if other plugin devs think that way, it further drives the success of WC and the failure of the rest.

    This is great for further entrenching WP and enhancing its credibility, but I do feel sorry for other ecommerce devs.

    • I don’t think you have to worry about that at all. In fact, I think this will open the field for other platforms because Woo will be focused solely on the .com experience while everyone else iterates on the .org experience.

      I guess we’ll find out, but my hunch is that you should be sticking with EDD.

  7. Great analysis and so much details!

    Our core business are based on WooCommerce system. After this acquisition WooCommerce will be spreaded to a broader audience of The one thing that I’m not clear with, what will happen with Extensions marketplace of Will it still accept new submission and whether selling concept will be changed or not?

  8. This should make things interesting at IRCE in a few weeks. Good write up and I look forward to see how Woo moves forward and evolves.

  9. This is by far the best analysis I´ve read about this acquisition. I´m excited to see what the future holds for woocommerce.

    It´s interesting to see what Automattic has planned to do with woocommerce.

  10. I think it is a very good news I see a lot of potential by seamlessly adding eCommerce to WordPress . Now, Woo Team would have the chance to compete with Big Boys.
    Best of Luck to both teams.

    Thanks for writing such an indepth article. I enjoyed reading it.

  11. Nice work digging into this Brian. I’m with you on all of it except…

    It’s impossible to imagine Automattic doing away with paid extensions in the short term, but there are serious threats to third party developers in the longer term, I believe.

    I don’t think it’s impossible. I could see putting the paid plugins on but continuing to offer paid support.

    I don’t see serious threats in the longer term. In fact, I think this could be a boon for third party developers. The more WooCommerce becomes like WordPress itself, the more its marketplace will become like WordPress’, thriving and open.

    This is going to sound funny coming from me (i.e. WP App Store), but we should all thank Matt for being very deliberate about keeping the WordPress plugin marketplace open (on Google) and not majority controlled by any single entity. You have only to look at the Apple App Store as an example of centralized control of a market and the turbulence it creates for developers.

    I know a lot of WordPress entrepreneurs want a marketplace on, but they should be careful what they wish for, grass is always greener, et al. Things are pretty damn good right now. In any case, I hear rumors that an exceptionally large web host will be launching a WordPress marketplace soon. I guess we’ll see what it’s like soon enough.

    • I agree. It’s better for the ecosystem that doesn’t have a commercial marketplace.

      Yes, it could potentially bring a lot of exposure if one existed. But it would also quickly turn into a monopoly type of situation where it would be impossible to truly compete with it if you chose not to sell our plugin or theme on it.

      It would also severely impact existing businesses and marketplaces. Potentially marketplaces like Envato’s out of business. Some would argue that’s a good thing, but it’s not… no matter how much you dislike Envato.

      It won’t surprise me one bit for all of the first party paid WooCommerce extensions to end up in the repository for free. It’s pretty much inevitable now that it’s part of Automattic.

      If anything this opens up a potential business opportunity for the 3rd party WooCommerce extension developers for a couple reasons…

      1) WooCommerce is going to get even more exposure and adoption going forward. More users means more people to sell 3rd party extensions to.

      2) If Automattic phases out selling extensions on, which won’t surprise me at all with Automattic’s philosophy, that will create an opportunity for someone else to launch a WooCommerce extension marketplace and fill that need in the marketplace.

      If I were one of the major 3rd party WooCommerce developers I’d be jumping all over this opportunity right now.

  12. Really Great Move by WordPress Company Automattic.
    I like WooThemes Very Much. Really Awesome Themes.
    I hope they will market it for more exposure.

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