The shocking badness of WordPress.com (and what they should do about it)

I host my blog on WordPress.com. You’re reading it. It’s free, so I guess I should be thankful. But it’s crap.

Maybe it’s my elevated opinions about how much you should get for free these days, and maybe I am wildly cavalier about security, but WordPress.com (as opposed to the much-loved open source project, WordPress, hosted at WordPress.org) rubs me up the wrong way in two areas:

  • Plugins – WordPress has over 1000 plugins available; WordPress.com has all of 21, and you can’t add your own with Javascript, because Javascript in a web site must be evil.
  • Custom design – You have to pay $15 a year to be able to make your site look like your own. Of course, you could use one of the 64 themes in the gallery. (I’m trying not to mention that WordPress has a bazillion free themes)

If WordPress.com want to make money out of their users, they should adopt a model like Flickr‘s, where you get some of all the great stuff for free and then pay when you become a heavy user. My feeling is that WordPress.com should adopt a couple of principles:

  • Admit javascript – Blogger can cope with it, so can you
  • Allow custom CSS for free – let me express myself

Next, we have to let them make some money, so what would I pay for?

  • Put ads on my site and make me pay to get rid of them – this separates the serious users from the casual housewives (or house-husbands, of course…)
  • Let me update a post without triggering a change in the RSS feed (it’s annoying for people who get updates if I change a tag…)
  • Many blogs under the same username
  • Unlimited posts per month
  • Pointing my own domain-name at WordPress.com
  • Redirecting my RSS feed to Feedburner

Come on WordPress.com! Flickr can charge $29.95 a year for their PRO accounts and their free accounts are wicked. Sort yourself out.

[Just noticed:] Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, turned down a $200m acquisition offer in in the last fortnight. And the traffic is going through the roof. Somebody loves them. 😉

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7 Comments

  1. mozey
    Posted November 6, 2007 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    word up man!, i have been swinging my “LET ME DO MORE STUFF ON WP.COM” picket sign for few posts!.

    The most common answer i get to these questions is, IF YOU DONT LIKE IT, DOWNLOAD WORDPRESS AND DO YOUR OWN THING ON IT!.

    But i dont want to!, i like wordpress.com, i just want it to be MUCH better!. I AM a good programmer/sysadmin, and i KNOW how to run a php CMS, but i come here every evening to NOT WORRY about the php errors and the GOD DAMN security releases.

  2. FND
    Posted November 6, 2007 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the info, Jon. That really does suck.

    Why not get your own domain and web server though? It’s certainly not very expensive, and WordPress is a breeze to install and set up.
    Plus you could use it as a file server and other things, e.g. for TiddlyWiki-related stuff.

  3. Posted November 7, 2007 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    Test comment as what I just wrote disappeared.

  4. Posted November 7, 2007 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    I don’t want to retype all of what I wrote. Please allow me the shortened version:

    – Domain Mapping -> http://faq.wordpress.com/2006/11/10/domain-mapping/
    – We have unlimited posts per month already. There’s no limits in place.
    – You can sign up for additonal blog already. While logged in, visit the main wp.com page and click on the “Register another blog” link.

    Javascript is not allowed as it’s childs play to lift cookies and gain access to the underlying php files with it. The software that runs wp.com is shared amoung the users. It’s not seperate installs for each site. The same files run all of the blogs here. if you were able to gain access to the files, you put all million plus blogs at risk.

    Blogger can’t deal with javascripts. They been hacked previously a number of times via those scripts.

    wp.com does have pro accounts. It’s for those who are truely pro level though where they get thousands of hits every day -> http://wordpress.com/vip-hosting/

    adverts are coming. been hinted at by staff on the support forums and in the online media.

    Many of the “bazillion free themes” aren’t worth much. Many don’t pass validation, have hidden paid links, and/ or haven’t been updated for the newer versions of the software.

    Now, lets see if this one saves.

  5. Posted November 7, 2007 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    One last item I forgot. wp.com isn’t the only game in town. There are main sites running the wordpress multiuser software that runs wp.com. Every site is different with they’re own policies and procedures. Heck, I’ve been spending the last few weeks working on a site for a client.

    here’s a small list of sites: http://andwat.edublogs.org/

  6. Posted November 7, 2007 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Grab your own domain and I’ll host it for you. Install your own WordPress, SVN, ccTiddly, whatever strikes your fancy. WordPress is actually a one minute auto-install for me….

    I don’t think you are yet at a point where you need to worry too much about losing readers due to a move… so do it while you can.

    Cheers.

  7. Posted November 7, 2007 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    PS: Or you can have jayfresh.lewcid.org if you like.