Where to start? The actual issue, the reporting, or the ramifications? Sure this is going to be inside baseball but that’s why you’re here, right. Right? It’s a great story with a big bad vs freedom, confusing names (like any good fantasy novel), and a great cliffhanger.
One Bad Apple
There has been so much written about Apple’s app store policies recently that if you are not totally dialed in just Google “app store epic” or “app store hey” – use the quotes. Tons of ink (or can we just say “bytes”) spilled on the pro and cons and business practices … that seem to have gotten Automattic (the private company which makes the WordPress.com iOS app) in trouble. There is back and forth regarding possible links that could be used to make purchases. Tons of good details from The Verge: Apple apologizes to WordPress, won’t force the free app to add purchases after all. “But one afternoon and evening of surprise and outrage later, Apple is backing off. The company is issuing a rare on-the-record apology, and it says that WordPress will no longer have to add in-app purchases now that all is said and done.”
What’s in a Name
I giveth and then take away-eth. The thorough back and forth details in the The Verge article paint a comprehensive picture, however they like many news organizations deserve tons of raspberries for a critical misunderstanding which Web24 News brings to light: Apple activates the update of the WordPress app. “According to his information, Apple made the activation dependent on Automattic enabling booking options for the paid WordPress.com plans via in-app purchase. Behind this was obviously Apple’s desire to take commissions from sales. Officially, the Californian company always argues with the user experience, which should be mapped as completely as possible in an app.” The WordPress com/org issue is getting more and more annoying to see undefined and unclear outside the community. WordPress.com is not WordPress. The Verge should have focused on the app called WordPress developed by Automattic. It’s even worse, in The Verge post we have, “In case you’re wondering, WordPress’s Matt Mullenweg is denying that WordPress itself submitted an update that would have allowed iOS users to purchase premium plans: “There was no link to the plans page, and no direct way to buy plans from inside the app,” he tells The Verge.” I assume this is Matt speaking as Automattic, and should be clarified as such.
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law
I’ll probably keep writing about name confusion for a while with the hopes that the greater digital press understands what’s going on, and here is a helpful primer from Matt himself 10 years ago: A New Home for the WordPress Trademark, with a very salient comment in the thread, “Correct — WordPress.com (Automattic) and .net/.org (me) are grandfathered in as part of the transfer, so they’ll continue to operate as before, but no special rights for any new domains which would need to go through the Foundation just like anyone else. I’m not really worried about that as there are no plans to call anything new “WordPress.”” So writers of the world, if it’s build by Automattic let’s be clear about it. Call it WordPress.com by Automattic (it’s a mouthful but the only way to clear things up unless/until .com reverts to the foundation but I don’t see that happening).