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The programme, called WordAds, has been developed in conjunction with advertising and publishing company, Federated Media.
According to a statement by WordPress’ parent company Automattic, the company says the decision to introduce WordAds was based, at least partially, on pressure from WordPress.com users.
Speaking to Memeburn, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg confirmed this, saying that the main driver behind WordAds was the fact that “since WordPress.com was started, six years ago, advertising has been our #1 feature request”.
“We held off because we hadn’t found a model for advertising on blogs that we liked. Now we have.”
In what is very definitely a poke at Google, WordPress.com says it had “resisted advertising so far because most of it we had seen wasn’t terribly tasteful, and it seemed like Google’s AdSense was the state-of-the-art, which was sad”.
“You pour a lot of time and effort into your blog and you deserve better than AdSense,” it added.
Mullenweg took a further jab at Google’s advertising products, saying:
AdWords and Adsense are very efficient marketplaces, but cold and sterile, robotic in every sense of the word. Could you imagine seeing Adsense in the New Yorker magazine? GQ? The independent web is a creative place, and deserves creative ad and sponsorship partners to match.
As of yet, there isn’t all that much information on the exact mechanics of WordAds.
WordPress.com does, however, state that WordAds is 100% optional.
All it promises is to deliver on the premise that “if you’re going to have advertising on your site, it better well be darn good”.
It aims to do this by allowing bloggers to show “high quality ads from brand advertisers”.
According to WordPress.com:
Only publicly visible blogs with custom domains will be considered for this program. If you are interested but don’t have a custom domain, you can quickly sign up for a custom domain for your blog(s) below.
Selection will be based on level of traffic and engagement, type of content, and language used on a blog. Some blogs may not be accepted. Entering the form below does not commit you to the advertising program. It just signals your interest in learning more.
WordPress seems determined that WordAds will not impact on the quality of blogs or bloggers, using the platform, reminding the custom domain users of the intrinsically special place it believes them to hold.
While it stops short of deifying its users, WordPress has high praise for them:
As a WordPress user you’re breathing rarefied air on the internet: the Creators, the Independents. Creative minds aren’t satisfied being digital sharecroppers on someone else’s domain, and you want to carve out your own piece of the internet and have a space that you’re proud of because it’s so… you.
Unsurprisingly, Mullenweg is optimistic about the future of the product. “I’m biased, but I think it’ll be a hit,” he said.