Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Longreads, Simplenote and a few other things, acquires Atavist, a start-up based in Brooklyn.
Atavist is 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 it is not particularly revolutionary that anyone can create a website on WordPress.com or Squarespace and do the same thing. But the company also allows you to create a firewall and create a subscription base.
Many authors do not 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 also publishes a publication called Atavist Magazine. The publication also joins Automattic. It is not clear if this will be part of Longreads or stay his own thing.
The CMS will not stay in place. Automattic said that the publishing platform will be integrated into WordPress. And that's the interesting part.
Although WordPress is probably a much stronger 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 in native mode.
30% of the Web works on WordPress. Many of them are open source instances of WordPress hosted on their own servers. But many sites are hosted by WordPress.com, including TechCrunch.
Subscriptions on WordPress.com are good news for the web. Medium has 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 income for independent writers.
Automattic could create a transparent portal to manage subscriptions to multiple publications. And that could lead to less advertising and better content.