Automattic, the company behind WordPress, has acquired Irish startup Polldaddy for an undisclosed sum. The purchase gives WordPress an infusion of polling technology and seems to be justified simply on the basis that bloggers love polls (we use PollDaddy here at TechCrunch for many of our posts).
There appears to be a plugin rollup strategy of sorts underway at the highly decentralized blogging startup, one that will result in the absorption of features into the WordPress codebase that are currently provided through extensions. Automattic recently purchased Intense Debate, a small TechStars startup working on an advanced commenting platform. Further back, it also acquired Buddy Press, a project for layering social networking features onto WordPress, in March and Gravatar, a universal avatar system, last Fall.
Like Intense Debate, Polldaddy doesn’t offer its technology to WordPress publishers alone – and it doesn’t plan to phase out its support for other platforms post-acquisition. But we can expect both companies’ efforts to be driven primarily towards improving WordPress – both the open source version offered at WordPress.org, but even more importantly the hosted version at WordPress.com (with which Automattic can actually make money). PollDaddy has already been baked into WordPress.com for its 4.4 million bloggers.
Given the economic concerns that many startups (domestic and global) have in these volatile times, I’m sure that both PollDaddy and Intense Debate are happy to have found a home within a larger and better funded startup. The fact that PollDaddy is based in Ireland shouldn’t have much impact on Automattic’s corporate structure. As CEO Toni Schneider explained at a recent Startup2Startup event, Automattic has no central office and all its employees work remotely from home, only to meet up a couple times per year as a company.