Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Longreads, Simplenote and a few other things, is acquiring Brooklyn-based startup Atavist.
Atavist has been working on a content management system for independent bloggers and writers. With an Atavist website, you can easily write and publish stories with a ton of media.
You might think that this isn’t particularly groundbreaking as anyone can create a website on WordPress.com or Squarespace and do the same thing. But the company also lets you create a paywall and build a subscription base.
Many writers don’t want to deal with the technical details of running a website. That’s why Atavist gives you the tools so that you can focus on your stories.
Atavist is also running a publication called Atavist Magazine. The publication is also joining Automattic. It’s unclear if it’s going to be part of Longreads or remain its own thing.
The CMS itself won’t stick around. Automattic said that the publishing platform will be integrated into WordPress. And this is the interesting part.
While WordPress is probably a much more solid CMS than Atavist, it could mean that Automattic wants to start offering subscriptions and paywalls. You can imagine WordPress.com websites that offer monthly subscriptions natively.
30 percent of the web runs on WordPress. Many of them are open source instances of WordPress hosted on their own servers. But many websites are hosted by WordPress.com, including TechCrunch.
Subscriptions on WordPress.com is good news for the web. Medium abruptly canceled its subscription program leaving many independent publications in the dust. So it’s hard to trust Medium when it comes to providing enough revenue to independent writers.
Automattic could create a seamless portal to manage subscriptions to multiple publications. And this could lead to less advertising and better content.