Bad Choice of Words Automattic

WordPressIf you haven’t already heard WordPress.com users will soon be able to monetize their blogs as Automattic has formed an advertising partnership with Federated Media which they are pimping as WordAds.

No details have been released yet, so I can’t say how much of a cut Automattic will take or when the service will actually start running and bloggers will actually be able to start earning their few pennies a day.

One thing I can say however is that Jon Burke, who is the Ads Lead at Automattic and wrote the post announcing WordAds, needs to be separated from his keyboard and never allowed hit publish on a post again until someone more senior than him has read the post in advance.

The post, which was emailed to everyone with a WordPress.com account, opened with the following paragraph:

Over the years one of the most frequent requests on WordPress.com has been to allow bloggers to earn money from their blog through ads. We’ve resisted advertising so far because most of it we had seen wasn’t terribly tasteful, and it seemed like Google’s AdSense was the state-of-the-art, which was sad. You pour a lot of time and effort into your blog and you deserve better than AdSense.

Well we think we’ve cracked it, and we’re calling it WordAds.

What I read there is a very unprofessional and unnecessary attack on Google. I personally don’t care what anybody thinks of AdSense or of Google and I don’t care what kind of gripe Jon may or may not have against Google or AdSense,but I have to think that somebody at Automattic must be shaking their head at that post and asking “WTF Jon?”.

In business you never know what the future may hold, who you’ll end up partnering with or for what reasons those partnerships may occur. As that future is always uncertain and in flux you never make a massive dig at another company simply because you can, or simply because you feel like it.

Whether Jon likes to believe it or not, in his professional capacity at Automattic he just declared that AdSense is shit and started throwing stones in a glass house.

There are a myriad of ways that Jon could have said that they are launching WordAds and that they think it is superior, or without even mentioning AdSense, and I’m shaking my head trying to figure out the reasoning behind Jon’s choice of words. He could have tried something like:

Over the years one of the most frequent requests on WordPress.com has been to allow bloggers to earn money from their blog through ads. We’ve resisted advertising so far because we couldn’t find a system that we felt was a good fit and would maximize revenue for our bloggers. You pour a lot of time and effort into your blog and you deserve the best.

Well we think we’ve cracked it, and we’re calling it WordAds.

See, wasn’t that simple? The same message and no petty, pithy swipes at a larger company who Automattic may need for a partnership or who knows what in the future.

You know what, it’s not even about future partnerships, it’s simply that it’s unprofessional and bad form. Then again, over the years I’ve spent so much time complaining about the bad and self entitled attitudes of many (not all) bloggers and how it makes all bloggers look unprofessional, that I shouldn’t be shocked to see this behavior coming from one of the standard bearing companies involved with the blogosphere.

I love WordPress and the work that Automattic do, and I’m hoping that Jon was just rushed and badly hung over when he wrote the post, instead of what the post would otherwise imply.

4 thoughts on “Bad Choice of Words Automattic”

  1. Thanks Paul for the advise. I agree with you that the transparency in my post does not adhere to standard PR practices. In fact, my draft was along the lines of what you have written.

    However, Automattic strives to for transparency with our users. We have blogged in the past about our use of AdSense and now we wanted our users to understand why we have gone in a different direction.

    When our users ask us why we are working with FM instead of AdSense we feel we owe them more than a pat response. It’s their site, their expressions and can be their business so Automattic should be up-front with with our users.

    The comment here was not meant to be personal. We do hope and expect that AdSense will improve and can be a good option for us again.

    Like

    1. Thanks for responding personally Jon, much appreciated.

      I agree with you and understand the very real need for transparency. I value transparency and I value plain talking but I guess, as is plain from my post, I would have handled effecting that transparency slightly differently is this case.

      Again, thanks for responding in person 🙂

      Like

Comments are closed.