Could WP lose 30 percent to ClassicPress?

John Overall from WP Plugins A-Z discusses ClassicPress and MaAnna Stephenson’s  review of the “State of the Word” from WordCamp US 2018. Neither attended, but watched the live stream as I did.

MaAnna got Phase 3 mixed up with Phase 2 and John should probably not have been drinking red wine during his 90 minute video. But putting that aside, they raise some interesting points. John in particular predicts ClassicPress could entice up to 30% of WordPress users to migrate to ClassicPress.

The video is set to start at the 30 minute mark, so you only need to watch about an hour. While John is only reading out loud what MaAnna wrote, he is adding his own thoughts as he goes along.

He also states his own thoughts on what he thinks CP is and what it’s trying to do. He can understand the type of user who would benefit from staying with the traditional functionality of WP, pre-Gutenberg.

He stresses that this does not mean you are choosing to stick with old, out of date technology or software, because you are only talking about the underlying core. Plugins and themes are what keeps your website looking current, not the core.

If you want to use blocks, or a what is really a page builder, then there are plenty of plugins that already do this and much better than Gutenberg does. But both small and large businesses are not likely to use these, and need the ability to insert “shortcodes” from plugins to achieve how they want their site to look and operate.

Both he and MaAnna delve into the delicate areas of user discontent and the symbiotic relationship between Automatiic and big business. There is an undercurrent of angry users and suspicion of the true governance of WordPress. Is WP really interested in the millions of users who don’t raise money for Automatiic, and by association Matt Mullenweg?

Does WP even care what these users think? Is WP heading towards some sort of SAAS or merged .org/.com CMS that is really intended to make money for its owners? Of course we don’t know and only time will tell. But both reviewers picked up on the slick side-stepping Matt did, both in his presentation and the Q&A session at the end.

Even Matt’s circuitous handling of Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s question of who the “We” was who decided to release Gutenberg prematurely did not escape scrutiny.

As John says, ClassicPress is like the thin edge of a wedge that is being hammered in hard and quickly by Wordpresses own disillusioned users. I don’t think WP has ever been in a more precarious position in its 15 year history, than it is now. The decision to make Gutenberg, and therefore block editing, part of the core instead of a plugin, is going to cost it a lot of users.

Having said that, it begs the question, “Does WP even care?” If their long-term plan is to monetize WP, then they probably don’t. Millions of sites that provide no income for Automatiic and don’t even appear on Alexa’s page ranking system, are dispensable items.

We all know it is very easy to see conspiracy where there actually is none, but watch the video (and the WordCamp one) and make up your own mind. Then ask yourself if they really value you as a one of their customers users.

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