StudioPress has a brand new look, and is now marketing itself primarily as StudioPress Sites.
At a foundational level, StudioPress Sites feels like a mashup of other products under the parent company umbrella, backed by the powerful StudioPress brand. In reality, nothing is that simple.
StudioPress Sites is hosted WordPress, a thing I’ve long advocated for as a promising future for theme companies. StudioPress’s parent company is now called Rainmaker Digital, but it’s the same folks behind the Rainmaker Platform, Synthesis (a hosting product), and and the longstanding Copyblogger brand.
StudioPress Sites feels nearly competitive to Rainmaker to me. However, Rainmaker is a custom themed admin, with specific features for membership sites and podcasting.
The new StudioPress Sites is more raw WordPress, with plugin partnerships with Beaver Builder, Pippin’s Plugins, Ninja Forms, Awesome Motive, and more. But it retains the WordPress look and feel, and enables traditional hosting stuff like SFTP access.
I have no idea what kind of customer base Synthesis has, but they haven’t strongly marketed it in quite some time — at least compared to the level they have marketed Rainmaker in the past couple of years.
The rollout for StudioPress Sites was strictly through the large StudioPress and Genesis community affiliate network. In the pre-announcement affiliate emails, StudioPress Founder Brian Gardner promised affiliates $150 per sale during launch.
This new product does all the things I love to see in our space. However, for some reason it gives me an odd vibe. I teased on Twitter about the rollout via the affiliate network. And the StudioPress team needed to do something to get beyond one-time purchases, so this is an answer for that.
It’s just that in the end this feels like a big remarketing push that mashes together a bunch of their existing stuff. That is certainly not a bad thing, and I know they can’t call it that for effective marketing purposes; but I’d rather call a spade a spade.
The Rainmaker Digital team are great at marketing. I’ve heard grumbles from many long-time Genesis fans though, that they have been frustrated for years at the lack of innovation and enhancements for that platform. Several prominent people I’ve chatted with, who have been significantly involved in the Genesis community, feel like StudioPress has been taken for granted as a cash cow ever since the merger of the companies.
I hope it works wonders for their life time value for StudioPress customers, and further validates a model for other theme-makers to create similar products. I also hope it means that StudioPress’s much-loved suite of products, especially the foundational Genesis framework, will get some well-deserved love and attention going forward.