I have called it the future in the past, and it seems the future is here.
I've always wondered why more people haven't created their own little hosted WordPress platforms. In my view, there could be a hundred WordPress.com style platforms, each serving their own niche.
Happy Tables (hosted WordPress for restaurants) helped pioneer the concept, and launched years ago. I thought at the time that others would follow left and right. They haven't. But now I feel it coming.
Copyblogger owns a variety of products, and markets heavily toward marketers. WordPress has always been their tool of choice. You probably all know StudioPress and Genesis, their theme shop and flagship theme, respectively. But they also have Premise for landing pages and membership. They have Scribe for SEO. And they have other products, conferences, etc. They do a lot.
New Rainmaker is a hosted version of WordPress, built for media marketers. It includes a fancy skin of the WordPress dashboard, a customized workflow for doing common tasks, and bakes in various Copyblogger products, streamlined for an audience that wants to get up and running fast, with little self-configuration.
The walk-through of New Rainmaker on their tour page does a better job than I can describing how it works, but here's a preview.
Twenty two StudioPress themes are ready for New Rainmaker. And if someone knows how to use WordPress, they'll know how to use this platform. It looks very straightforward.
As with any hosted service, you get what you get. You can't download additional plugins with New Rainmaker, or customize it beyond whatever options are provided by the app. But if you want to get up and running fast, and not have to deal with the fuss of running your own install, New Rainmaker looks like a great new offering.
They say on one of the landing pages, “You'll never go back to regular WordPress.” That's bold, and I guess we'll see. But if you're already a diehard Copyblogger fan, I'm sure you're excited about this offering.
New Rainmaker is starting at $95 per month, or $950 per year. It's not cheap, but it's probably cheaper than buying every one of these products individually (for a year), and it's definitely cheaper than hiring someone to help do it.
Hosted products aren't for everyone. However, WordPress is a great platform to create niche services like Happy Tables and New Rainmaker.
There are others out there, but I expect we'll see a flood of similar offerings from current WordPress companies, hosting companies, and new entrants to the market. And we'll see them for a variety of niches. I can't wait.