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WordPress VIP

Automattic

WordPress VIP is Automattic's managed hosting service for large, enterprise customers in general, with some major news organizations licensing the platform.

  • WordPress VIP adds several "enterprizey" features to core WordPress, such as advanced security, hosting, support, content analytics, and personalization
  • Therefore, VIP is suitable for complex and large publishers willing to pay extra for this sophistication; small and mid-sized publishers may wish to look at the WordPress "Newspack" distribution
  • VIP news organization large include News Corp, Gannett, Al Jazeera, MediaNews Group, and Bloomberg

Likely fit

WordPress VIP is suitable for larger publishers that possess deep technical resources to enable sophisticated needs (scalability, security, reliability, multi-site management). While it bundles content analytics and personalization, you will be dependent on additional plug-ins (Automattic's own or third party) for newsletter management, CRM, and paywall/subscription capabilities, along with substantial development/customization effort.

The platform does become overkill and expensive for simpler use cases, where Automattic sells the Newspack offering.

At a glance

Primary Customer Fit

Large News Organization

Secondary Fit

Mid-Sized Independent News Organizations, Mid-Sized Chain Of News Organizations

Most Active Geographies

North America

Official Support Hours

Email: 24x7

Phone: None

Officially Supported Languages for User Interface

EN

Third-party Language Support Available?

Yes

License Model

The company says their minimum deal size is $25k and typical deal size is $100k-$500k/yr.

Scope Summary

Content Management System (CMS) that targets content production and website management for large enterprises in general; large publishers must deploy plug-ins for revenue generation and certain news functionality.

Tech Base

WordPress, PHP

Cloud Model

Managed Service (PaaS)

Headquarters

San Francisco, CA, USA

Head Count

300

What customers report

  • Enables you to run WordPress in headless mode so you can build your own front-end using technologies of your choice
  • Editorial experience is simple and usable, especially with the new Gutenberg editor
  • WordPress itself provides lots of flexibility and extensibility
  • Automattic presents as a very stable firm, with responsive customer support
  • Lacks some key capabilities that large publishers may need, like multi-step workflows and custom content types
  • Many large publishers serve both digital and print, but WordPress lacks print services or even native integration to print-oriented workflows
  • Lack of any content planning tools makes it difficult to sort out schedules and content traffic
  • Missing collaborative editing capabilities

Background

  • Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, U.S., Automattic is one of the larger vendors in this report, having raised $985m in VC funding since 2015. The WordPress VIP subsidiary holds holds about 300 of Automattic's 2,000 employees.
  • Automattic sells at least three WordPress offerings. The most common one via Wordpress.com targets small businesses and consumers. The "Newspack" offering (reviewed elsewhere in this report) is designed for smaller publishers. Automattic created WordPress VIP in 2006 to specifically address the needs of "large media companies and enterprise brands."
  • Functionally, VIP's editorial services don't actually differ much from core WordPress. That means you get a block editor for creating content and then basic capabilities around publishing. Large, complex publishers with more sophisticated needs — such as ability to create different content types and workflows — will not find them here, and so Automattic will point you to the vast collection of WordPress plug-ins that you can vet and deploy with a developer's help.
  • What makes Wordpress VIP special is the addition of several enterprise features to make it suitable for needs of large customers. These include performance and availability, developer tooling, application management, and monitoring capabilities. In addition, it bundles hosting and support along with content analytics, personalization, and the powerful Elasticsearch engine to the core offering.
  • The content analytics and personalization capabilities came to WordPress via its 2021 acquisition of Parse.ly. Since then, WordPress VIP has continuously improved its integration, and while Parse.ly continues to work with other CMS platforms, it's most tightly integrated with WordPress. This allows you to have access to some sophisticated content analytics as well as perform A/B testing and show recommended content based on Parse.ly's personalization engine.
  • WordPress is getting old, especially it's PHP-based core and front-end theming system. There have been efforts to modernize it (e.g., Gutenberg has improved editing and WordPress Headless allows you to build your own front-end). You might not notice some of the creaks when deploying a simpler version like Newspack, but beware technical debt as you customize and extend this version of the platform.
  • WordPress VIP pricing follows a usage-based model along with levels of support. WordPress VIP says their smallest customers pay around $35K a year. Their large customers pay well into "seven figures." You then chose among three levels of support:
    • Platform support for the standard software support
    • Application support adds support for client-built applications, developer-to-developer support for all code, and provides guidance as well as code quality inspection
    • Premier support includes guidance, planning, training, consulting services across the full lifecycle of the customer's brand website development, deployment, maintenance, and refinement
  • Automattic does not get involved in implementations and will usually recommend an integrator or consultancy for WordPress VIP roll-outs. Automattic's own professional services team limits its offerings to things such as performance monitoring and improvements, launch support, and migrations.

Package scope (as reported by vendor)

Core platform - i.e., bundled in product (yes/no/beta) Add-On (yes/custom/3rd party)
Content lifecycle: author / classify / edit / approve / publish / re-purpose / archive / dispose
Oui
Basic digital / voice / media asset management
Oui
Support print publishing
Non
Simple social media re-publishing
Oui
Optional modules: forms / polls / social widgets / etc
Oui
3rd Party
Connector library (OOTB connectors, APIs, etc.)
Oui
Bundled CDN (with DDOS protection)
Oui
User registration
Oui
Subscription management and fulfillment - digital
Non
3rd Party
Abonnement ou souscription
Non
Personnalisation
Non
Ad management - digital
Non
Ad management - print
Non
Gestion de contenu
Oui
Recherche
Oui
Gestion de contenu
Oui
Video management / OVP
Oui
Oui
Audio management / podcasting
Oui
Oui
Datajournalisme et visualisation des données
Oui
Classifieds
Non
3rd Party
Commenting / community features/
Oui
Oui
Newsletter production and management
Non
Oui
Notifications and alerts
Non
Oui
A/B testing
Non
Oui
SEO
Oui
Multi-title management with variable inheritance
Oui
Complex layout and subsite / subsection cloning
Oui
Oui
AR- / VR- enhanced services
Non
3rd Party
Segmentation de l'audience
Oui
Online user / partner forums
Oui
Regular user group meetings
Oui
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