WordPress.com: get an ad network already

WordPress is growing up.

Earlier in January, Automattic (the company behind WordPress) revealed it grew enormously in 2010. The numbers are huge:

  • 6 million new blogs
  • 23 billion total page views
  • 94.5 terabytes of photos and videos
  • 146 million new blog posts

That’s enormous. And yet, for such a huge impact, Automattic’s revenue is miniscule … something on the order of $10 million annually. How can such an influential company have such a small revenue base?

Automattic generates revenue primarily through paid accounts on WordPress.com … and it’s not enough. When you get the scale that WordPress.com is at now, you’re a vital part of the web ecosystem – downtime is not OK. And more revenue would provide more opportunity for WordPress to staff and provision the service to even higher levels of reliability. While it’s not bad … WordPress.com’s uptime could improve from it’s 99.98% (and don’t forget the crash of February 2010).

That’s why I’m wondering when Automattic will come out with an ad network for all its bloggers to opt into. Late last year they already launched niche ad plays in content aggregation with Federated Media: foodpress.com which seems to be quite a success. We can expect to see more and similar deals.

But enabling members to opt into a default WordPress.com ad network (whether developed internally or offered via partnership) could monetize a much higher percentage of those 23 billion total page views. And a good opt-in strategy would not alienate bloggers on the service.

Will 2011 see Automattic launch a new venture: AdPress?