Update: About half of those 60 million blogs are powered by WordPress.com, the service owned by Automattic that hosts WordPress blogs, Mullenweg said. WordPress is an open source software that people can also download to run blogs on the web servers of their choice.
But according to him, this is just the beginning: WordPress’ developments on the social and mobile fronts are on track to drive even bigger growth in the months ahead.
“The things that are ultra compelling are more social features,” Mullenweg said in an on-stage interview with Mathew Ingram at the GigaOM RoadMap conference in San Francisco Thursday. The company is especially jazzed about the engagement it gets from adding social features to the platform. “We were typically doing ten page view per unique user. With some of this new [social] stuff, we see that go up an order of magnitude.”
Mobile development will also be a big priority for WordPress’ future, Mullenweg said, noting that early efforts to address the space have been received quite enthusiastically by users. “The mobile platform has grown 7x in the past year, and we have four to five million active users logging into WordPress’ mobile platform daily.”
But don’t get it twisted: Mullenweg says WordPress is not making these moves in response to competition from other popular web platforms such as Tumblr. “We don’t really think about it in terms of competition. We think about it in terms of our users,” he said, noting that WordPress is typically used differently than such services as Tumblr and Twitter. “WordPress is about doing your entire website, not just your blog. 92 percent of users are using it as a content management system in addition to a blog.”
Meanwhile, WordPress doesn’t plan to abandon its core allegiance to open source standards as Automattic continues to expand as a for-profit company. “I’m kind of an open source hippie. Everything I’ve ever built has been built on open source technology,” he said. “I believe morally and philosophically that the future of not just software, but everything, is open source… and along this path, I don’t see any gating factors to our growth.”
This post has been edited to clarify the information regarding WordPress the open source software, WordPress.com, and Automattic. We regret any confusion.
Automattic, maker of WordPress.com, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, GigaOm. Om Malik, founder of GigaOm, is also a venture partner at True.
Photo by Pinar Ozger.