WordPress 3.7 Released


Photo credit: borkazoid

WordPress 3.7 has been released. I know I’m getting to this a bit late, especially since over half a million of you have downloaded it so far, but I feel a need to point out why WordPress 3.7 is so awesome.

WordPress 3.7 includes a ridiculous amount of under-the-hood things which might go unnoticed, but I really want to highlight the new automatic updates. From 3.7 onwards, WordPress will automatically apply all minor updates (anything that’s 3.7.x), which means that you’ll immediately receive all security and stability updates. That’s a big deal. As long as folks upgrade to 3.7, and the WordPress team continues to be awesome about security fixes, there will never again be an insecure WordPress installation (unless the blogger disables automatic updates, which is just silly and negligent).

All users can now safely update from Dashboard -> Updates or download and update manually, though you should probably backup first just in case, unless you’re already using VaultPress, which you really should be.

If you’re a WordPress.com blogger, you have nothing to worry about, as you’ve technically been running WordPress 3.7 for a while now.

I Don’t Use Ad Blockers

No adblock 250I don’t use ad blockers, because there are some sites I rely on or enjoy reading, and those sites rely on ads to stay in business (servers are expensive, the staff needs to eat, etc). If they offer a paid option to remove ads, I pay it. If not, I want them to stay in business, so I don’t block their ads. With that said, there are plenty of “good” sites out there which are simply flooded with ads. I simply choose to not follow or frequently visit those. I can get my reading in elsewhere. For example, the news sites where and advertising sidebar (sometimes even multiple sidebars) take up the entire right half of the screen. I mean, how is that even a thing?! I just refuse to read anything on those sites, it’s distracting, and simply crazy.

There’s a lot to hate and a lot to love about advertising, and so many factors that have contributed to a rather rapid shift in the industry. In the early days, contextual advertising used to be the leader. Are you reading a post about camping? Great, here’s an ad for a campground in your area, or maybe you want to buy this tent from Amazon. Those were great times, as the ads kind of contributed something to the article, sort of a “related content” experience. It turns out, that doesn’t pay well anymore, at all, to the point where it may not even worth it. Simply put, advertisers are willing to pay good money for their ads to be seen, not to simply wait around for the chance that someone will write about a Fiat, Chromebook, or whatever product they’re selling. In a way, that’s nice because you could run one unrelated ad and make the same amount as you could with four contextual ads. I’m not saying I directly recommend one over the other, but one unrelated ad could make a site owner a lot more money than beating me senseless with contextual ads ever could.

There are lots of other ways to advertise now too, which is also contributing to a rapid price shift. Some site owners will go to where the money is, and some will go with whatever doesn’t inconvenience the reader. Site owners can make a killing off of interstitials (those “click here to continue to the article” ads), but those make me close the window and look for a similar article elsewhere. Others can still make a killing off of related affiliate links, like Uncrate. Others thrive off of sponsored content, like Quartz, where whole posts can be advertisements, but are easy to identify and therefore easy to ignore, or they actually could be well-written articles. Others have struggled with income from time to time, but do their best to stay afloat on a very minimal ad-to-content ratio, like The Verge.

In short, I don’t use ad blockers, as I value the sites I read which need ads to stay in business. In turn, I don’t bother to read sites which are insanely cluttered with ads. There are plenty of non-obtrusive ways to advertise. Sometimes that means you’ll make less money than if you had provided a Whac-A-Mole-like banner ad experience, but maybe it’s worth it? I don’t use ad blockers, but I don’t have to follow your site either.

This post was inspired by What’s Your Take on Advertising on Blogs? by WordPress.com support forum superstar, timethief.

(Disclaimer: To anyone who read this post, thank you. The words above are not necessarily indicative of the views of Automattic, WordPress.com, WordAds, or any of their affiliates. If you feel like quoting me for any reason, please know that this is simply my personal opinion. k thx bye)

Automattic Meetup 2013

Automattic is a globally distributed company with over 200 employees, so it’s nice to get together once a year as a company to build great things. This year, we gathered in San Francisco and later migrated down to Santa Cruz. That may sound odd to many of you, so I highly recommend¬†this book. Many of the things we built this week are already live on WordPress.com, some are performance tweaks that you might have already noticed, while others may be announced in the future.

Here are the rest of the photos from the week that didn’t make the cut to be posted on their own in my sfomeetup2013 tag.

Those fire dancing photos sure are amazing, but this video of the fire dancing and this slow-motion clip are even more amazing!

Now that you’ve seen all that, make sure that you apply, and maybe we’ll see you here with us next year!

Photo by Ash Rhodes
Photo by Ash Rhodes