warm and fuzzy

I’m wondering why the word ‘marketing’ has been substituted by the relatively meaningless ‘user growth’ in the title of Automattic’s marketing guy. Surely we are past the days when we had to worry about the open source fanboys fretting about commercialisation? Anyone who was bothered by that has long gone by now.

My own feeling is that the junking of ‘marketing’ is itself a piece of marketing, substituting a hard-edged business term with something altogether more warm and fuzzy. I know I’ve been advocating for years that they get themselves somebody who actually knows about this stuff, but somehow I had forgotten how annoying marketingspeak is. And if that is the reason Matt held out against getting the professionals in for so many years, then I have to hold my hands up and say: yep, OK, you running around making weird snarky comments on forums and comment threads may have been a PR disaster, but at least it had the virtue of being real.

(Also, I think WP might have been better served by hiring people to work on the security situation than by hiring someone to spout soothing buzzwords to try and stop users freaking out about it. But that is just the geek in me.)

4 Comments »

  1. KB said

    The word ‘marketing’ is an expletive in the Automattic dictionary; therefore its use wouldn’t be politically correct. Euphemisms are more appropriate when trying to pool the wool over the eyes of their target “user” base.

  2. KB said

    That should be pull instead of pool…no more talking on the phone while typing for me.

  3. Whatever said

    See, you assume user growth is meaningless. In the abstract, sure it could be, but for WordPress.com anyway, they fucking need not only sustained growth, but also retention if they are ever going to pay back the VCs or go public. Why? Facebook will probably end up killing them.

    You might hate FB — but it takes the true community elements of LiveJournal and adds this whole other scale. That’s powerful and that’s attractive to new users. Couple that with Automattics relative refusal to embrace it (buddypress is a poor man’s substitute and it sucks) and they need to do something to keep users on the service, viewing ads, generating some income.

    • Of course Automattic needs to attract new customers and hang on to existing ones. That goes without saying. The concept isn’t bullshit, the terminology is. User growth is the desired result of what this guy is doing. Unless he is physically signing himself up under 29394920 different usernames, it is not what he is actually doing. What he is doing is marketing.

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