Chris Anderson Doesn’t Get WordPress

I’m a big fan of Chris Anderson, the Wired editor and The Long Tail author. His most recent book is Free!, due anytime soon (for free in some versions, paid in others), and it is all about content online. I especially like his thoughts on freemium, free+premium that is, being what Flickr does with paid pro accounts that more or less makes the service free for non-paying users.

But he doesn’t get WordPress. At least not if this tip sent to WordPress developer Mark Jaquith is true.

The following snippet is supposed to be from the book Free!:

2. Feature limited (Basic version free, more sophisticated version paid. This is the WordPress model.)

  • Upside: Best way to maximize reach. When customers convert to paid, they’re doing it for the right reason (they understand the value of what they’re paying for) and are likely to be more loyal and less price sensitive.
  • Downside: Need to create two versions of the product. If you put too many features in the free version, not enough people will convert. If you put too few, not enough will use it long enough to convert.

This is dead wrong. There is no limited free WordPress model, the one you download from wordpress.org is the full real deal.

My guess is that Anderson really is talking about WordPress.com, and the fact that you can get a free account there and then buy additional services, but he phrases this extremely poorly if that is the case.

Hopefully Anderson will be able to fix this before the dead trees version of the book is rolled out.

See Mark’s post for more thoughts on this.

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